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Life in Early Poverty Bay

Preferred Outdoor Life to School

Preferred Outdoor Life to School.

In his home town of Wairoa, then a very isolated township, Sir James could not, even if he had wanted to, have secured what is now termed a higher education. The teaching in those days was restricted mainly to the three “Rs.” His parents, it seems, were insistent that the family should take the fullest possible advantage of the meagre educational advantages offering. Here it is interesting to mention that, when School Inspector Colenso visited the Wairoa school in the early 60's, he went out of his way to praise the school work done by the Carroll family. In a special report he pointed out that Mr. Carroll would, on no account, allow his children to be absent from school and what is more he always supported the master's authority—a thing that was worthy of imitation by other parents. As to the children, he said that they read and wrote well and ciphered pretty well, doing compound multiplication and division.

On his part, however, Sir James does not appear to have had as much schooling as other members of the family. Indeed, he once told a gathering of friends that he stayed at school only between the ages of 8 and 10 years. In other words, he did not like school, preferring the outdoor life, spending his days riding about on a horse! When his schooling was over, he was unable, he also often smilingly confessed, to piece even two or three sentences together correctly in English.