A. SCHOLASTIC PIONEER.
MR. THOMAS CATERER.
The word “pioneer” is generally asso- ciated with the thought of one who culti- vates or otherwise turns to use hitherto waste land in a new country. But since education is as necessary in a civilized country as is bread, it is by no means stretching a point to call a schoolmaster of the early days one of the pioneers, who are so deservedly honored in this State. Mr. Thomas Caterer, of Park- terrace, Gilberton, who celebrated bis 89th birthday on Friday, is a true educational pioneer. Nearly 60 years have elapsed since he set foot in the State, and until a few years ago he was constantly and actively engaged in tilling, not the soil, but the mind, and in reaping, not sheaves, but honor and the reward of work well done. How many hundreds of people, a large proportion of whom have filled public and professional positions with credit to the State and themselves, have "passed through Mr. Caterer's hands"— and not entirely in a figurative manner, perhaps—it would be difficult to estimate. South Australia, the world at large, owes as great a debt to the schoolmaster as to the first producer. In this State the two have gone hand in hand, the one opening up the land, the other sowing the seeds of wisdom and knowledge in those who will later do their share to build up the State.
Mr. Thomas Caterer, who looked par- ticularly well and cheerful, was the recipient of numerous congratulations on Friday. He was born in 1825 at Tets- worth, near Thame, Oxfordshire, and was
the son of a schoolmaster, who afterwards became a Congregational minister. He was educated at Lewisham, Kent, at a large endowed school for the sons of Congregational ministers. When he went there at 10 years of age he wore a tall silk hat, as was the custom at that time. Mr. Caterer later became a tutor at the Independent College, a well-known educa- tional institution, in Taunton, Somerset, but in 1855, in consequence of his throat giving way, he came to South Australia, where he had a relative in the person of the Rev. William H. Mudie, who re- cently died. Mr. Caterer sailed in the ship Standard, and the voyage lasted about a hundred days. There were a number of emigrant lads on board and Mr. Caterer was appointed to give them scholastic instruction on the voyage. An interesting memento of the trip in the possession of Mr. Caterer is a cedar form, which was made and given him by the ship's carpenter. Mr. Caterer first went to live at Magill, and was a tutor in Mr. J. L. Young's school. From Magill he went to Woodville, and taught in the basement of the old Congrega- tional Church at Port Adelaide. He then went to the Auburn State school for about five years, and then to Greenhill, where he had a small private school.
Afterwards he went to Beaumont, and the
grammar school he established there grew so rapidly in importance that it became one of the best-known educational estab- lishments in the State, and Mr. Caterer's name was known practically all over Aus- tralia. He turned out a number of professional men, one of whom, Mr. Charles Bagot, happened to "'drop in" while Mr. Caterer was being interviewed. Some others who were scholars at Beaumont
at that time were Messrs. J. Gardiner (Public Service Commissioner). J. Bagot, and B. A. and B. Moulden, while other familiar names are Fergusson, Fesen- meyer, Fenn, Kentish, Frew, Glyde, Mur- ray, and Goldsack, while there are many others equally well known. From Beau- mont Mr. Caterer went to the Norwood Grammar School, and that also grew in importance under the name of the South Australian Commercial College. A son of Mr. Caterer, who was the first gra- duate at the Adelaide University, joined his father for a short time, and subse- quently took up a tutorial position at St. Peter's College. He was educated entirely by his father. Mr. Macklin, who had come from England, entered into partnership with Mr. Caterer, and going to the Semaphore they took over from the Rev. James Coglin, M.A., the church school, and called it the Semaphore Col- legiate School. In 1902, when Mr. Macklin died, the school was sold to a Mr. Hill, and Mr. Caterer retired. While he was at Norwood Mr. Caterer entered municipal life, and was mayor in 1882, when the foundation-stone of the Town Hall was laid. On that occasion he was given by the council, on behalf of the burgesses a silver trowel, a mallet, and an illuminated address. Mr. Caterer had not been in the State very long when his wife joined him. She became gover- ness to Sir George Kingston, and died in 1889. Mr. Caterer has been living at his present address with relatives for about four years.