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  • KerryRaymond 9 Aug 2011 at 19:23
    Block H of the current Brisbane State High Schol is the former South Bribane Primary School

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The interesting ceremony of inaugurating the new Primary School at South Brisbane was per- formed with appropriate observances on January 21. A description of the building was given in a recent issue, and to that nothing need now be added, except to state that it was erected according to a design drawn by Mr. C. Porter, architect, and not by Mr. Backhouse, who, after the commencement of the work, was engaged to superintend the carrying out of the contract. The school is on a commanding site, and its aspect is north-east, so that its inmates will be very little exposed to tho direct rays of the sun shining through tho windows-a consideration that cannot, in this country, be too closely attended to. At half-past nine o'clock, the children were assembled in tho new school, and several were accompanied by their parents. The proceedings were of a somewhat formal character during tho forenoon ; but after luncheon time, the children were re-assembled at tho old school (the Mecha- nics' Institute), whence they marched in process- sion, headed by a band of music and with flags flying, to the new school. When they were seated in their places, all the available space was soon occupied by the visitors who wore present, to the number of about one hundred and fifty.

At one end of the school-room, the Hon. Arthur Macalister, Chairman of the Board of General Education, presided ; and near him were seated tho Hon. Gilbert Eliott, Speaker of tho Legislative Assembly, and Mr. T. B. Stephens, M.P., members of the board ; Mr. T. P. Pugh, M.P., tho Rev. Thomas Mowbray, Mr. George Wight, Alderman A. J. Hockings, and Mr. A. Fitzgibbon. Several of the most reputable residents of South Brisbane were scattered through the room.

Mr. Randal Macdonnell, General Inspector of Schools, said that they left the old building without regret, although nearly two years had been passed in it. Since the school commenced in South Brisbane, the children had progressed very rapidly, and had profited under tho in- structions of their touchers ; and this in spite of much inconvenience which they had suffered, from the close and cramped nature of the old place. In the new building in which they were now assembled they would be free from such disadvantages. When they began there was an attendance of only thirty-five children ; in the space of a year and a half there was an at- tendance of four hundred and fifty-he meant all the children on the books of the school during the time. He had little doubt that, with the greater facilities, improved appliances, and other advantages which they now had at com- mand, and which they had not in the old school, the attendance would be more greatly increased. He now asked all present to listen to the Chair- man of the Board of Education, who would ad-

dress them.

The CHAIRMAN said : Ladies and gentlemen - It must be decidedly flattering to the whole of you to hear the observations which have just been made by the General Inspector of Schools. To have raised this school in so short a period from the very limited number with which it at first commenced to the large and numerous class which we now behold around us must create in your minds feelings of great pleasure. In addressing you on the present occasion, I think it right to make what I may term an apology for doing so. Tho public of Queensland have lately had so much said to them on the subject of primary education as to have created in my mind a doubt whether the subject of this ad- dress-and it is the only one that, on an occa- sion like the pressnt, I could well introduce would attract that attention, which, under other circumstances, it might have induced. The attendance here of so many of thoso who take an interest in the question has silenced my feeling, and I approach my subject with the varied de- sire to render it, if possible, both interesting and instructive ; and here I would desire to observe that one great object which I have in view is to relieve the National system of primary edu- cation in Queensland, as now administered by tho Board of Education, from tho groundless im- putations which have been preferred against it, for it is only by doing this that I can elucidate, and place before you, the advantages which this colony derives by supporting it. In answering these attacks, I shall give offence to no one. My object will be to deal with facts, and, by such means, get rid of the cobwebs with which it has lately been attempted to encompass the system and its working. As this address is not intended to extend itself into a lecture, I ned not delay to remind you of the importance which has always been attached to the subject of public education. From the days of the great prophet who led the children of Israel through tho Red Sea down to tho present, the question has been one of deep interest to those who have desired to benefit the human race. In our own nation men havo boon raised to Biiprctiio power, whoso greatest ambition lias been to givo encouragement to, und to surround themselves, by those who desired to extend tho blessings of oducntion. Tho ago which Baw tho printing press introducod into England,

behold tho hidden treasures of former

ages of literature brought to viow, and a revolution in tho means formerly employed to oxtend the empire of know-lodge I shall not slop to enquire into whoso hands, during the earlier ngos, publio oducation was placed. Tho religious revolution of tho six- teenth contury had tho effect of placing much of it in tho hands of tho clergy. Various cauBcs combined to render this guardianship one by no menus calculated to advanco tho educa- tion of tho people, for wo find that, up to a very lato period indeed, public education in England had degenerated into a subject of contempt, whilo tho men who, of all othors, ought to havo boon tho most highly honored the schoolmasters-wero held up as objects of ridiculo. This state of matters was ovon worso in some of tho colonies, With a sum of money votjd for division among denominations, the remuneration to schoolmasters was of so paltry a character that nono but thoso who failed to find a living by other means, engaged in tho occupation. The schoolmaster »t ill continued tho degraded individual which tho low slate of oducation involved, and only emerged from this position when other oinjîloy ment offered itself. In 1831, tlio system now in use in this colony was first introduced into Ireland. That system has for its object, to bring together children of all sects, to put down that spirit of antagonism, and thoso feel- ings of henrt-burnings which have invariably been tho result of opposing schools ; and, by the employment of compotenl and trained teachers, to give to tho children an education calculated lo innkc thom good members of society. Before this system was introduced into Ireland, years woro spent by (ho British Government in tak- ing evidonco and arranging tho detuils of tho system. Of course, regarding a system at the time untried, many ominent men differed in opinion ; and I shall hero only quote the opin- ions of two of the most distinguished witnesses who were called to givo evidence. The Right Rev. Dr. Doyle, a distinguished prelate of tho Roman Catholic Church, in his ovidenco before tho Houso of Lords, says :-'' I soo no objection whatever that they (Roman Catholics and Pro- testants) should be educated together; on tho contrary, if, by being educated togothor, tho harmony of tho dureront sects in ¡Ireland could bo promoted, I think it would be a matter to bo desired." Dr. Wiseman, a distinguished car- dinal of the same church, in his ovidenco, says : -I think that in this country (England) and in Ireland such arrangements might be made that both Protestants and

Catholics could attend anything in tho form of an University or Publie School, without any harm ensuing ; on tho contrary, good, perhaps, might bo done. I think also that in tbo lower branches of education it might be easily managed to give them a common education, reserving the religious education of their respective classes to their own pastors." Tile system, as introduced into Ireland, has been eminently successful. The schools belonging to the board at the end of the first year were in number 780, and the children attending wore in number 107,012. During last yoar tho schools numbered upwards of 6000, and the

scholars upwards of 800,000. It was stated, I i I understand, on a late public occasion in I t

Brisbano, that tho Irish system had failed j but, in tho fneo of thoso figures, you will agreo with mo that wo ought to havo somo proof of

this fact. I admit that thoro has been dis-

satisfaction expressed towards tho Irish Board, but that dissatisfaction is tho vory opposite to dissatisfaction towards tho system. As I havo already pointed out to you, ono groat objoot of tho system has boon to bring children of all denominations together. This being tho caso, ono of tho roligious donominntions in Ireland has boon attempting-aud I bcliovo with somo amount of succoss-to got the Board to allow it to establish Modol or Training Schools of its own to bo paid for by the country. This is palpably establishing donominationalism. It is against this course of action that tho Bishop of Derry so solemnly protosts. Ho says i " This further doparturo from tho principles of tho National system, in favor of schools bolongiug exclusively to ono religious body, will afford n causo of woll-groundod dissatisfaction to othors to whom such privilogos aro refused, thus furnishing the oppononts of the National system with an argument which thoy will nut fail to omploy to its disadvantage" Dr. Henry, ono of tho oldest mombors of tho Irish Board, also says :-" In my humble' judgmont, tho roccnt changes of rulo seriously interfere with one of tho fundamental prin- cipios on which tho system of National Educa- tion was founded-na nely, that of ' united secular instruction,' while in thoir oporaliou thoy will tend to foster, and to reward in its stead, a spirit of separation and oxclusivoness." Instead, thcroforo, of any want of success in carrying out tho National systom of education, theso eminent mon aro protesting against tho attempt to tampor with ono of its fundamental principios, a strong proof of tho danger of do parting in this colony from any of tho principles

of tho fundamental rules of tho National

systom. Tho success of tho systom iu Ireland having boon established many years ago, its direct applicability to a colony uko Queensland became, ns in tho caso of tho othor Australian colonios, apparent. I have said the success of it in Ireland, bocause ns tho Irish system, ours is rocognised ¡ but wo nil know that amoug tho most enlightened nations of Europo, tho Bystom of united secular education has long boon (in uso, ""and successfully, I neod only unmo Prussia, Austria, Bavaria, and Holland, as countries where Catholics and I'rotcsliuits of ovory denomination all join in tho study of tho several branchos of a secular educa- tion, their religious education being uttonded to by thoir respoctivo clergymen. Undor theso circumstances, our Primary School Act of 18G0 was passed, croating ti Hoard of General Educa- tion for tho purposo of establishing schools upon tho principles of tho National system, with power also" lo tho Board to framo rulos for car- rying out that system. A power is also given to tho Board lo assist other Uninvested schools, whon I heso schools conform to tho principles laid down for the management of vested schools. Under thoso regulations tho Board havo at this moment thirty-threo schools in dillbront parts of tho colony in full operation, Thoso schools aro now educating 4500 children, while no loss than twelve applications now await, aid from tho Board. Boforo I prococd further, I would desire to answer n charge hroughl by two lay- men at a mooting hold in Brisbano. Those gentlemen, perfect strangers in tho colony, ohoso to assort that under tho National 'system wo should train up youths without religion positivo douions. Now, il occurred to mo, whon 1 hoard of tho obsorvuüons, and where thoy had como from, that wo scarcely required to train up dénions-(laughter, continuing for somo minutos)-for I feared wo had boon importing thom roady-mado. (Renewed laughter.) It was gratifying, howovor, lo lind that thoy had not boen trained under tho National Bystom, buliu opposition to it. I really do not know,

and am unable lo mako out, what kind of reli- gion Ihcso gentlemen profess, if tho following training makes demons. I would ask you lo open tho National School-books. Do thoy not tell you of tho full of our first parants, of tho promise that a Saviour would in duo timo appear ? Do Ihoy not show that in tho ful-

ness of timo God sont into this world our

Divino Redeemer, and that ile, for guilty niau, ollbrod himself up a sacrifico for sinners P In theso books you havo tho wholo of tho moral law. Lot thoso who know nothing of tho sys- tem attend to tho following lesson, which is daily taught in our schools. (ApplaiiBo) ¡

" Christians should endeavor, us the apostle Paul commands thom, lo live poaeoably with nil mon."-Bom. 12, l8.

" Our Saviour Christ commanded his dis

ciplos to lovo ono another. Ho taught them to lovo oven thoir oncmics, to bless those that curso thom, and to pray for thoso that porsocutod them. Ho HiiiiBclf prayod for his murderers.

" Many mon hold orronoous doctrinos, but wo ought not to hato or porsoouto thom. Wo ought to Beek for the truth and to hold fast what wo aro convinced is tho truth, but not to treat harshly thoso who aro in orror. Our Saviour did not intend his religion to bo foreod on men by violent means. Ho would not allow his disciples to fight for bim."

"If any persons treat us unkindly, wo must not do tho samo to thom ¡ for Christ and his apostles havo taught us not to return ovil for ovil. If wo would obey Christ, wo must do to othors not as thoy would do to ub, but as wo

should wish thom to do lo us."

" Quarrelling with our neighbors and abusing thom is not tho way to convinco thom that wo aro in tho righi and thoy in tho wrong ¡ it is moro likely to convinco thom that wo havo not a Christian spirit."

" Wo ought to show ourselves followors of Christ, who, when Ho was reviled, rovilod not again."-1 Peter, ii. 23.

Talco these, and tako tho hymn headed "Tho Example of Christ," which I shall not detain you by reading, and you havo roligion puro and uudclllod by soctariun dilforcneos. (Great ap- plause.) In addition to all this tho wholo or any part of the Scriptures may bo used during thoso hours Bot apart for special religious instruction. 1 might dwell at much longer spaco on this por- tion of National School teaching. I might re- mind you of tho rancour and prejudico which sectarian differences have too often engendered, and show that tho National system of educa- tion is peculiarly adapted for softening down, if not altogether dispollmg, theso ; but 1 fe-il that timo will not permit of my doing so. I shall glanco for ono moment at that portion which

treats of teachers :

18. " Tho appointment of teachers rests solely with tho board, who will, however, pay regard to any recommendation of candidates by local patrons."

"A teacher should bo a person of Christian sentiment, of calm temper und discretion, imbued with a spirit of peace, of obedionee to tho law and loyalty to the Sovereign, and should not only possess the arl of communicating know- ledge, but be capublo oí moulding tho minds of youth, and of giving a useful direction to tho power which education confers. These aro the qualities for which patrons of schools, on their recommendation of t'cachors, should anxiously look. Thoy are thoso which tho board aro anxious to lind; lo onoourago, and to reward."

19. " Candidates for appointment as teachers must possess at least a competent knowlodgo of tho subjects usually taught in primary schools that íb, reading, writing, arithmetic, grammar, and geography. This knowledge will be tested by nn examination before tho General Inspector and one or moro examiners, who will roport

thereon to tho Board. Candidatos must also attend for a sufficient period at the Normal School, to acquiro a familiarity with tho methods of teaching there adopted. As a general rule, no teacher will bo appointodwho has not under- gone such a course of training and examination at tho Normal School, and whoso competency ha« not been thoroughly tested. Teachers, on first entering the servico of tho Board, or who have not been classified, are tormed probationers, and receive reducod rates of salary, at the dis-

cretion of the Commissioners."

The Normal School referred to in this regula- tion is tho main Btay of the National system. This school, although used for, tho education of children, is devoted at tho same time to the traiuing of tcachors. Thoro thoso in tondod for the profession receive a training in he principles of education, the art of teaching, and tho whole economy of a school. Thoy are I also required, to read privately the best works

on tho subject, and to undergo periodical oxa

minntions as to tho extent of thoir acquirements^" and when found to bo sufficiently proficient aro noted for appointment. Of course," iii ordor to induce men to bocomo thoroughly qualified for tho office of teacher, tho Nationnl School rules alford thom tho pecuniary means of occupying a position in society worthy of their occupation, and of enabling them to associate on terms of equality with the other officers of tho Govern- ment. Wo have boon told by a high authority in church matters, that our schools woro in- tended for tho poor ; but that instead of re- stricting them to this class, a largo number of pupils aro tho sons "iind daughters of well-to-do parents. I am vory glad to have this admission. Tho National system of oducation was intonded to moot, and doos meet, tho demands of all classos. Thoro, tho son of the poorest individual Btands on au equal footing with tho son of tho rich ; and tho samo inducomonts, tho same prizes, aro offered to both. But this result could only havo boon arrivod at by tho advantages of tho systom. Good teachers' and tho security of a good English oducation aro boforo all who entor tho National sehoot in this colony. I nood not rofer to what is taught. Each book of lessons speaks for ¡(self. 1 am hero reminded that the Board of Education lins boon licensed of refusing aid to non-vested schools when thoso have oll'erod to comply with tho regulations. If tho Board has done so I um ignorant of tho fact. On the contrary, tho Board stands in the position of being able lo give effectual assistance to non vested schools. It is to thoso schools that for somo years I would fain look forward for de- veloping our systom in very remoto parts. When tlio Quoonslantl Board of Education was first established, a regulation was adopted by

which aid to non-vested schools was restricted to thoso schools in oxistenco at tho timo of tho passing of tho act. Thoro is no doubt in my mind that tho Primary School Act justified such a regulation ; thal is, thoro was nothing illegal in it, but to this regulation wo havo boon indebted for the early outcry that the Board rqj fused aid to (ho nou-vostod schools willing to comply with tho Board's regulations. This rogui lation was a bugbear, brought forward on overy occasion in order to daniago ;ho Board. A curofttl examination, both of tho regulation and of somo of tho applications for aid for non vested schools, induced mo to arrivo nt tho following conclusions ¡-(I.) That it was ossenlial for Iho sucoosi] of the system that tho Hoard should havo power, without restriction as to limo, to grant aid to non-vested schools, in places where tlio Board had no school ; and, (2.) That some who coniphiinod of tho regula- tion of tlio Board, had no intention of complying

with tho othor rules thal woro of much greater ] importance. Tho Board nllorod tho regulation I

so far as tho restriction to sohools ostablishod prior to tho passing of tho act woro concerned. Wo hnvo thus removed this ground of complaint, and since thal was dono no applica- tion to aid iion-vestod sohools, whoro it was shown that the regulations of the board woro intondod lo bo ourricd out, has ever beon refusod. If in any caso aid has not boen 'granted, it lins been because the nocossary

information has not been givon to enable tho Board to decide definitely on tho application. Any nttompt, however, to intorforo with tho fundamental principios of the systom to degrado tho toachor to his former position, and to bring tho primary oducation of tho young into contempt-anything oaloulatod to insult tho understnndiiulg, and to fettor tho develop- ment of tho intolloot-will no doubt find in our regulations a block of stumbling and a rook of olleneo. I imiBt now conclude In thoso hur- ried obsorvntions I luy no claim to originality.

I havo but cullod ono or two of tho Howers

which havo been strown in my path by tho hun- dreds who havo trarollod tho road boforo mo. T havo simply placod boforo you a ia\r of tho thousand and ono ransons which havo ofton boon givon in favor of our system of odiieiition. I havo much pleasure in congratulating tho peo- ple of South Brisbano in the erection of this building ¡ although, milking no prolonaions to arohilootiiral beauty, it is airy, convenient, and commodious. Tlio tenchors boar high testimo- nials in their favor, and, 1 have no doubt, will rocoivo from parents tlio consideration to whioh their merits entitle thom. I trust mid pray that tho Grout Architect of tho Universo will throw His " oovoring wings" around this institution, und grant lo it n successful mission. (Loud and continued applauBO.)

Mr. Macdonnell, at this stngo, informod tho children Unit tho building committee, who had taken so much pains to eroct the sohool, had proparod a foast for thom.

Mr. A. J. HoaiciNoa said that for tho most liberal miinnor in which tho Board of Genornl Education had seconded tho offorts of tho South Brisbano peoplo in obtaining tho funds necos sary for the sohool, thoy should make somo sign of recognition. No ono could view tho number of children nssomblod thora that day, and tho suitable accommodation provided for thom, without being deeply impressed. South Bris- bano had boen woll noted for having a vory fair proportion of tho rising gonoration ; but up to within a vory short limo thoro had boon a lamentable deficiency of suitable educa- tion for-thom. Many years ago mi attempt was inado to got a place for education ¡ a grant was obtainod from tho Parliament of Now South Walos, but it fell through, tho pooplo boro being too poor to niako up tlio necessary funds to cntitlo thom to tho grant. Ho was ono of tho local patrons at tho limo, and ho felt justified in making Bomo remarks, having always felt a deep interest iu oducation. (Applauso.; Tho hand Bomo manner in which tho Board had como for- ward to assist thom ¡ft erecting (ho now school dcBorvod somo recognition at thoir hands, and ho proposed a voto of thanks to tho Board for tlioir attonlion to tho requirements of tho

pooplo ; and he coupled with it tho narao of tho / worthy President for attending thut day, and inaugurating tho building with nn address. (Applauso.)

Tho Rov. Thomas Mowbray, Moderator of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Queens- land, seconded tho motion. It was willi vory great gratification ho was prosont that day, nnd ho congratulated thom upon tho provision that had boon mudo for tho educational wants of South Brisbano. Ho know the difficulties that had been encountered to próvido suitablo nnd efllciont teachers ¡ but that was whon they had no Coard of Education to second their efforts, and wero left solely to thoir own resources, and it was impossiblo to retuin any man fitted for tho work. Ho had beon many years in thoso colonies j ho had had considerable ex- perience in other parts of Australia of the working of the Denominational system in Victoria and in New South Wales. Ho knew what it was under the system then in operation to retain a man qualified for tho work of educa- tion. In Sydney he'was well suitod, in some respects. Ho had thrco teachers, only one np to his work and thoroughly successful-he was a mau who had been trained for the life, and who lind not only educational qualifications, but natural qualifications-a love for tho work. Tho othor teachers wero mon who had failed in other occupations, and- who turned to education as a dermer resort. Ho know the teacher under the Board waB trained for his work, and if ho was ii man of energy and ability thero'wos before bim an honorable career. (Applause.) With regard to tho chargo against the system of National education, he, as a ministor of religion, was pre- pared to meet it. For the last ten years ho had used the books in tho education of his own family; ho had gone through thom pago by I page; moro especially the first six-the book

on Scripture ho did not use, becauso he had no hesitation in taking tho Scriptures themselves -and ho was prepared to maintain that there was not a pago in thoso six volumes against whioh tho chargo of irreligión could bo brought Tho system laid o broad, sound, and liberal

foundation for whatever suporstructnro'. might bo raised upon it. It taught no peculiarities of religion ; it showed no distinction betweou Protestant and Roman Catholic, nono between Presbyterian and Wesloyan; and, so far us ho was concerned, it Iniight no Prcsbyterianism. (Applauso lind laughtor.) But it taught thoso grand doctrines* and thoso truths which lie at the foundation of tho Christian religion. If tho teacher was care- ful in inBtUling tlio doctrines taught in thoso books, ho would require nothing moro for tho foundation, and ho would give a bent to the

mind of the children for whioh they would bo thankful to him in after life. (Applause)

The C2AIB3ÎAÎÎ said, before putting the motion to the meeting, he desired to obsorvo that to far as the members of the .Board wore personally concerned they would be perfectly satisfied with tho discharge of tho duty which devolved on thom without anticipating any voto of thanks on tho part of the peoplo. There could be no doubt that if tho regulations of the Board of Goncral Education wero as thoy ori- ginally stood, South Brisbano would at that very moment have been without the building in which they wero assembled; because, at ono time, tho Board could demand that one-third of the amount necessary for tho buddins should be subscribed in the locality. Many reasons

existed in the minds of tho members of tho Board for an alteration of that rule. In a young colony like this, where wo have population pouring into it b; thousands in the week, we can point to many localities with a large amount of population and with a very limited amount of capital. It would havo been

no Board of Education whatever unless it had Btretchod out a helping hand to nssist those localities that wero for tho moment unable to assist themselves, Tho rule, therefore, was altered ; and ho boliovod thoy had to thank the honorable member for South Brisbane, Mr. Stephens, as a member of the Board, for tho alteration (applause), because, if he recollected rightly, if Mr. Stephens did not initiate it, ho, at any rate, strongly sup- ported tho alteration of the rule ; and the alteration, he (tho Chairman) would fain hopo, would bo of tho greatest importance, and would bo of equal benefit to other aud remote parts of the colony, as in South Brisbane. He could se« no reason, if n necessity existed for it-if they lind a larger number of children to

educate thnn could be accommodated within the

one school,-why they should not have another school, and why tho bonni should not step forward and erect it. (Applause.) For his own part-mid he wits enabled to speak for every individual member of the board-the greatest satisfaction he enjoyed at tho success of their efforts was to seo so many children assem- bled in the school. Ile then formally put the resolution. (Applause).

At the c.ill of Mr. Hockin'OS, " threo cheers and one cheer moro" were given for tho Board

und the Chairman.

Subsequent totheprocecdings ubove described, the children were drnwu up on the playground,

and thence conducted to the feast winch had

been provided for them by (he Building Con niittee. In tho midst of their enjoyment we

left tbem.