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OPENING OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOL AT ST. IVES.
The Public, school just erected at St. Ives was formally opened on Saturday in the presence of a large number of ladies and gentlemen and most of the children of the place. Sir Henry Parkes was to have performed the opening ceremony, but owing to official business could not fulfil his promise, and his place was kindly taken by Mr. J. P. Burns, M.L.A. The visitors from Sydney included Mr. Thos. Garrett, M.L.A., Sir. Johnson, secretary of the Education Department," as well as several officers of the department, and Mr. R. Burdett Smith.
Mr. Burns, who was received with warm applause, said that he regretted that the author of the Public Schools Act and the mensure known as the Public Instruction Act was unable to be present. But important official business, about which it was desirable that the Government should come to a decision as early as possible, demanded the gentleman's presence in Sydney. He had also to apologise for the absence of Mr. Cullen, M.L.A. He (Mr. Bums) had been un- expectedly called upon to perform the pleaslng ceremony of opening their school-(applause)-and he felt that it was due to them that he should make some observa- tions on the happy event which had brought the assemblage together. (Applause.) He' had been all along a supporter of the principles embodied in our educational system, and had watched closely the administration of the Public Schools Act. He believed it could not now be denied that the principles of the Act were generally accepted by the people of this colony-(applause)-and that the system of education established by it was regarded with confidence by the people. (Renewed applause.) The Government of this colony had performed its duty in reference to primary education in a manner that was entitled to general admiration. (Hear, hear.) They now possessed about 2500 schools, in which 250,000 children were enrolled as pupils. The number of schools had gone on increasing year by year, and he was glad to know from Mr. Johnson, the secretary of the department, that although the department was meeting all the reasonable demands for public instruction, yet the increase in the cost of the system during the last two or three years had been almost nominal. In 1887 there were about 125 new schools erected, and he believed the number of new schools in 18S8 would be found to be about the same, so that so far as administration was concerned great economy was exercised by the department. The colony possessed not only the ordinary Public Schools, but all the appliances for conducting the education of children in large numbers, and provision was also made for half-time schools, in order that the meansof education might be brought within the reach of children in the scattered districts of the colony. The population of Now South Wales was only a little, over a million, and the expenditure on account of education amounted to close upon £900,000 per annum, of which about £800,000 was expcnded entirely in connection with the Public school system. It could not be denied that the elementary education provided by the Public schools was as liberal and broad as could be found in any other part of the world, the State confining itself to secular instruction, which was as much as it was called upon in this mixed community to provide. He congratulated them on the establishment of this school at St. Ives, and said he looked forward to the locality being largely populated before long. They were at an elevation of 600ft. from the sea-level, in s healthy district, where good land abounded, and when the railway from Hornsby to Milson's Point was completed they were pretty sure to have thousands visiting St. Ives who had never before had the privilege. In anticipation of a large population it was well they had made such good school provision. As the question of the extension of the railway to the waters of Port Jackson was one in which they took great interest, he thought he might state that he had learned that at a meeting of the Executive Council last week a resolution had been passed authorising the extension of the line from Gore's Hill to the Lane Cove-road-(cheers)-and Mr. Cowdery, of the Rail- way Department, had been instructed as far back as the 18th ultimo to have plans prepared, with a view to tenders being called as early as possible for the extension of the tram line at North Shore, so as to bring it into close proximity with the proposed railway station at Lane Cove-road. (Cheers.) He also knew that it was the intention of the Government to ask Parliament as soon as possible to sanction the extension of the railway from Lane Cove-road to Milson's Point, and from the manner in which the proposal to make the extension had been received in the previous Parliament, and as it has been concurred in both by the Government
and the Railway Commissioners, t'here could be no doubt that when the Government submitted the pro- posal for the approval of Parliament and the Works Committee, it would pass without much conten- tion of any kind. The Railway Commissioners recognised that the line was one that would eventually give the Government a handsome return for the ex- penditure that might be incurred. (Cheers.) He ex- pressed his pleasure at the privilege of being present, and declared the school open. (Cheers.)
The children sang " God Save the Queen."
Having inspected the neat and well-designed school and the teacher's residence, the party sat down to lun- cheon, Mr. P. F. Richardson being in the chair. The toasts of "The Queen" and "The Governor" were honoured, and the chairman proposed "The Parliament
of New South Wales."
Mr. Burns, in returning thanks, said he believed the desire of the members of our Parliament was to do the best they could in the interests of the country. He regretted, however, that there were so many members, as there was too much talk and too little work. If the House of Commons had as many members in proportion to the population as we had, instead of there being 600, there would be 5000 members. (Laughter.)
Mr. Garrett said he had had the honour of being in Parliament for 30 years with but a short interval. (Hear, hear.) If Parliament was not what it should be, it was in effect what the people made it. But in regard to personal character, ability, and statesmanship, he thought our Parliament would compare favourably with any similar institution in the world-even with the House of Commons. (Hear, hear.) He never heard anyone ran down our Parliament except our own people. If people would only compare the results of our Legislature with those of older countries, they would see that in many things we had set them an example which they were glad to copy. He thanked them for the toast, and for inviting him to be present.
Mr. R. Burdett Smith, being called on, also addressed himself to the toast, expressing the hope that he would before long be in Parliament again. (Hear, hear.) He had much pleasure in being amongst them, for he had been associated with their district since 1876, and he thought that he and Mr. Burns had done some- thing to advance it. (Hear, hear.) He congratulated them on the many evidences of advancement he saw, on the prospect of the railway being opened soon, and sug- gested that the tramline extension might be made con- currently with the railway extension. (Hear, hear.) He hoped Mr. Burns would convey the suggestion to the Minister of Works. (Hear, hear.) .'
The Chairman proposed "Our Public School System of Education," coupled with the names of Mr. Johnson and the other officers present. Mr. Johnson, in returning thanks, said that he had visited sohools in Great Britain and America, and saw nothing that would compare in discipline, in effectivo instruction, and in all that constituted a good school, with what he left behind him. (Hear, hear.) The other officers also replied. Mr, Bums proposed " The Chairman," to which Mr. Richardson replied, and the proceedings
closed with cheers for Mr. and Mrs. Richardson,