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NEWINGTON FARM.

Newington House and

Newington College.

(BY JAMES COLWELL.)

It is Impossible to think of Newington Col- lege without thinking of John Blaxland and his younger brother, Gregory. Old Newing- tonians, and there are many (over 5000 boys

having passed through the school), are this year celebrating the Jubilee of the removal of their school from John Blaxland, home on the Parramatta River to its present site at Stanmore. Newingtonians should know the outstanding facts in the stirring careers of the Blaxland brothers. Gregory Blaxland was one of the three dauntless explorers who found a way across the Blue Mountains. John Blaxland did for the cattle Industry what MacArthur did for sheep. Their heroic deeds command admiration. And those not as- sociated with Newington, but who have passed through other Great Public Schools such as King's and the Grammar, the only Great Public Schools In existence when Newington was founded, may find something to Interest them. For they also are familiar with the best traditions of the Great Public Schools of England, traditions, which are sustained

THE OLD COLLEGE.

in Australia. These traditions are splendid assets to any land. They have helped to make the British Empire what it is; a great Power proud in Its conscious might and in its love of justice and freedom. Herein is found one of the strongest reasons why the Great Public Schools of this land should be main- tained at the highest degree of efficiency. For the Great Public Schools produce a type seldom equalled and never surpassed by other schools, a type much needed In the building of

a nation.

But to return to John Blaxland, himself a Great Public School boy, being educated at King's School, Canterbury. John Blaxland, the elder of the two brothers, reached New South Wales on April 4, 1807, having. In conjunction with Hulletts brothers, of Lon- don, built The Three Brothers, a ship of 252 tons, carrying eight guns and a crew of 21 to bring himself, his wife, and four daugh- ters, a governess, two female servants, e, bailiff, a carpenter, a man for agricultural purposes, and a boy to this land, Oliver Russell being the master. Gregory Blaxland was already In the settlement, having arrived in The William Pitt on April 11 the preceding year. In a letter to the Under Secretary (Cooke), dated October, 1804, Gregory Blaxland set out on behalf of himself and his brother "the encouragement we request and expect from Government on our agreeing to become per- manent settlers at New South Wales." The "encouragement" Included free grants of land for themselves and their free servants, liberty

THE FIRST PRINCIPAL.

to purchase Government stock, the labour of   assigned servants, free passages for whatever convicts they thought fit to select before leav- ing England, and appointment for themselves as civil magistrates immediately on their ar- rival in the colony. This was a tall order; but the Blaxlands held the view that their settlement In New South Wales was desirable; and they weie right. In a letter to Windham (October 31, 1807) Bligh said that he had done his best to comply with these requests; but the Blaxlands were far from satisfied, and recriminations followed, In which Bligh's churlishness and his powers os a bully found ample scope.

GETTING SETTLED.

John Blaxland, however, managed to get settled on the Parramatta River; for, on June 12, 1807, he put this advertisement In "The Sydney Gazette": "Whereas his Excellency the Governor having granted to John Blax- land a certain track of land known by the name of Newington Farm, bounded by the road leading to Parramatta, Duck River, Hac- kings Creek metter known us Haslem's Creek), and the river leading to Parramatta. All persons are hereby required not to trespass, as they will be prosecuted as the law directs." Here John Blaxland eventually established himself in a beautiful home made familiar by the drawings of Mr. Hardy Wilson, an old Newingtonian. To this home he gave the name of Newington House after the family estates In Kent (Newington was near Chat- ham), to which he had succeeded on his father's death. Blaxland had been a captain in the Duke of York's cavalry. At his head- quarters on the Parramatta River, he con- centrated on his business, fattening cattle at Luddenham and In the vicinity of Broke, slaughtering and salting them down at New-

ington House. But let him tell his own story: "I have made an embankment and enclosed about 100 acres. It was subject to the overflowing of the river, but I have erected a boiling house for the making of salt, and have appropriated about eight acres of land for the works. One of the men I brought with me was many years engaged in that line of business in England. The remaining enclosure promises to be very productive, as it resembles the marshes on the banks of the Thames, and should I find it succeed I have more of the same kind which I propose taking in. It will be more certain than the Hawkesbury, in consequence of the floods it Is subject to-and appears to be equally valu-

able."

Blaxland found it advisable, in conjunction with his brother, to purchase a house and shop in Sydney on two blocks of land for- merly leased by John Fleming, at the spot where Market-street now Intersects George street. "We milk," he tells us, "twenty- nine cows, and sell the milk to the inhabi- tants, which is very largely sought after, particularly by the poorer class; and to se- cure the whole return from our stock, we have opened a butcher's shop and sell meal 3d per lb lower than any other persons." In accordance with his request, Blaxland was made a magistrate; and Macquarie, after Blaxland, visit to England, was instructed to fulfil the conditions first submitted, which he did with reluctance. Macquarie did not want these free and independent men. Blaxland was nominated to the Legislative Council in 1820, retaining his seat till 1844, when he resigned. He died at Newington House on August 5, 1845. As showing the spirit which dominated this fine Englishman, it may be added that in a letter to the Earl of Liverpool in connection with Bligh's misrule, Blaxland

asked four things for himself and his fellow colonists; (1) The same laws as those which governed the British people; (2) the appoint- ment of a humane and enlightened Governor assisted by a council: (3) an upright Judge, not to be appointed or deposed at the Go- vernor's pleasure; (4) and trial by jury. These surely were claims of which Newingtonians approve. They are the bulwarks of jus-

tice.

THE NEW ORDER.

When the Wesleyan Church authorities were looking for a suitable locality in which to establish a school their attention was di- rected to Newington House, then no longer a hive of Industry, and It was leased and put In order. Here on Thursday., July 16, 1863, 10 boys met, "not one of whom knew another," so Dr. Houison assures us, and he should know, for he was one of the 19. A week later the official opening of the schnol took place. A steamer carried 100 people from Sydney, and Parramatta sent 50 more. The Rev. Stephen Rabone presided at the in- augural meeting, while the Rev. J. A. Man- ton, the first president, placed before the audience the educational, moral, and spiritual aims of the founders. Luncheon followed, then an Inspection of the buildings, with a ramble through the grounds, and a second public meeting with more speeches. It was a great day for these enterprising and cour- ageous founders. Thus Newington School was publicly and officially started on its honour- able career. Thomas Johnstone, a pains- taking and conscientious teacher, was the first headmaster, though the Rev. J. E. Moul- ton temporarily acted as headmaster ponding Mr. Johnstone's arrivnl. Mr. Manton died after being In residence a little over 12 months. The big Newfoundland dog, so

the boys said, howled the night long through. The Rev. Joseph Horner Fletcher, deservedly called "The Father of Newington," succeed- ed Mr. Manton and remained as head for 22 years, a period only surpassed by Dr. Pres- cott, the present head, who has now com- pleted his thirtieth year. Mr. Fletcher made the school, and backed up by the teaching staff he created its high traditions.

To put Newington House In order and to make it habitable as a school was no light task, for the following industries had been carried on in and around the building: The slaughtering of sheep and boiling them down, burning shells for lime, and making salt from the river water. The workmen had camped in the best rooms, and they had left tnelr mark. In what was known as the portico the second division of the school met, and the Lyceum, another section of the building, where the Blaxland family formerly wor- shipped, was occupied by the other classes. On the school roll In Its earliest days the following well-known names appear: Kendall, Hebblewhite, Oakes, Byrnes, Dawson, Owen. O'Reilly, Hurst, Colledge, Oram, Vickery. Waterhouse, Glasson, and of course many others. Andrew Houison was the first medi- cal student to qualify from the school. The names of Henry Gorman, Milton Love, ths well-known magistrate, Harry Richardson, the Railway Commissioner, and Edwin Evans, the cricketer, are also In evidence. A few "River boys" still survive, though Time hat robbed them of their youth. John Water- house, Samuel W. Mooro, Cecil Purser, W Horner Fletcher, and C. Brunsdon Fletcher are amongst the number.

The school continued at Newington House for 17 years, when, under the guidance of the Rev. J. H. Fletcher, It was transferred to its own premises at Stanmore, and was known as Newington College. It is the jubilee of this that is being celebrated this

year.

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

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