IS the Jubilee of the Kaikorai School! A perusal of the minutes of the earliest Committee meetings gives striking evidence that the pioneers of the Kaikorai District were fully aware that among the very best means of producing a powerful, intelligent democracy in New Zealand was that of a sound education, for they knew full well. that an ignorant people could neither rightly govern themselves nor be properly governed.
At the time of the compilation of this School Jubilee Souvenir, in the year 1919, being the ninth year of the reign of our beloved King George the Fifth, the air is redolent with Peace Bells, for the greatest war in the history of the world has just ended, and Peace is being ushered in once more. There are decorations, celebrations,, and jubilations all through our beloved land and the whole world over, for Germany, the giant enemy of the peace-loving nations and the great oppressor of Justice and Freedom, has been overthrown.
Our land has also just been visited by one of the world’s greatest Admirals – Viscount John, Jellicoe – in HMS battle-cruiser, “New Zealand” (the gift to the Homeland of the people of New Zealand), which was privileged to play a. very important part in the recent naval warfare against the enemy. Some of the senior scholars of Kaikorai School, at the time of her initial visit to New Zealand’s, shores, had the opportunity and pleasure of inspecting her: the present senior scholars, had the honour and privilege of being present to see and hear Viscount Jellicoe on his recent official tour to New Zealand, when he addressed the boys and girls of the Dunedin schools. These facts link us up to the great past, and our goodly heritage. and recall the famous days of Drake and Nelson. Our object, however, is to tell of the doings of those who went before us in our school life, in the war against ignorance and inefficiency in the battle of life.
The early settlers had already established two schools on the confines of the district viz., at Wakari and Brockville; but it was considered that a more central school was required.
In order to promote the establishment of this third school, a meeting was held on, 12th January, 1869, when a Committee of seven was elected, and a new school established. The opening of this school caused the one at Brockville to be closed.
The first Valley School was built near the present Roslyn Tram Sheds, and consisted !of one room, which soon proved most unsuitable for school purposes, but was put up with for about three years, when the Committee resolved to make an appeal to the Education Board for a more suitable building. Their application was successful, but the Board stipulated for a better and more central site, ‘and as a result part of the present school area was secured for school and master’s residence.
Mr. H. F. Hardie, architect, of Dunedin, then submitted plans for a wooden school of three rooms, a photo of which is inserted herein. In August, 1872, the tender of Mr. Robert Williamson, builder, of Sunnyside, Roslyn, was accepted. The School Committee are fortunate in having presented to them by his widow the original plans of this building, and they are hung in the Fifth Standard room, where the many interesting curios donated by the scholars and friends are formed into a, museum by Mr. H. P. Kelk. The old wooden school was ready for occupation on 12th January, 1874. It was then known as “Linden” School, and served the district well for ten years. As showing how durable were the timbers used in its construction, we would point out that upon its demolition part of the building became play-sheds; one wing was made into a large gymnasium, and sometimes class-room, and has just recently been removed to a new position of the play-ground and made into an open play-shed; another part was made into the janitor’s house, which still stands; and still another part became the workshop of the Education Department, and was for some years situated on the site now occupied by the King Edward Technical School in Stuart Street, where many of our scholars are augmenting their education.
The growth of the population and the popularity of the School again forced the Committee to apply for more rooms. which were eventually granted by the Board. The number of pupils increased rapidly, and in 1895 reached 893, but since the erection of a school at Maori Hill, which was formerly part of the Kaikorai School District, the roll shows to-day about 650 pupils.
The Present School.
The present substantial bluestone building, so finely situated on the eminence, the elneDee, with its commanding outlook over the Valley to the mountains beyond, and surrounded with trees and shrubs, gives it an ideal setting, and much praise is due to,the various Committees for their efforts in making the best of the -site, and giving the children a love for trees and flowers. This School was erected in 1884 by ‘Alr. Francis Wilkinson, of Roslyn, who was’ also a most, energetic member of,the School Committee for many years.
The. School consists of five large rooms, accommodating 400 pupils and a headmaster’s office occasionally visited by many scholars as “the place of correction.” It has its counterpart- in North-East Valley, where one on the same plan was erected. This stone school was named “Kaikorai,” and various attempts have been made to change it to “Roslyn”‘ without success. Now that so many who have passed through it, and have, sacrificed their lives for the land so dear to them, it would Surely be unwise to contemplate any such change. Kaikorai School is indeed very proud of its scholastic attainments and its glorious Roll of Honour.
The Jubilee Committee are having erected, a very fine Memorial Arch in the front of the school grounds in honour of the brave men who have made the great sacrifice. This will be a permanent and fitting way to ever keep before the minds of the scholars their great and glorious past.
During recent, years other improvements have eventuated, with the result that the school property now consists of eight large class-rooms, a large hall, a completely furnished cookery-room, a library containing about 1,000 volumes, a teachers’ retiring room, and residences for both head teacher and janitor.
Besides the large amount of money spent by the Board in supplying this accommodation and equipment, hundreds of pounds have been supplied by parents, to whom the various Committees never appealed in vain when the proceeds were for school requisites.
The School Committees.
The first School Committee consisted of seven members – viz., Messrs. Alex. Millar (Chairman), Sheddan (secretary and treasurer), Anderson, Ellison, Grey, Laing, D. Miller. They strove in every possible way to do their duty, and their successors reaped the benefit of the extremely creditable foundation they laid. An intelligent foresight and a persistency of effort characterised this and other early Committees who, by deputation after deputation to the Educational authorities, at last got their claims conceded.
It is impossible to place in this record the names of the scores of committeemen who gladly worked for the Kaikorai School during the past fifty years;; but the minutes of past meetings show that parents and pupils are much indebted to Messrs. Millar, Sheddan, Haigh, Lambert, Lister, Sonntag, Taylor, Wales, Dillies, Curle. Tewsley, Callender, Cunningham, Davie, Wright, Begg, Chisholm, Jackson, Wilkinson, Fraser, Carlton, Farley, Duncan. Harlow, Church, Pilkington, Hitchcock, Calder, and Haggitt.
From 1869 to 1878 the energies of members of Committee were greatly taxed in finding money for such purposes as part of the teachers’ salaries, books, prizes, improvements of playgrounds; but soirees and dances (tickets 2/6) towards the end of each year generally managed to furnish the cash required. The pioneer Committees also instituted a scheme of school fees. charging for infants, 5/- a quarter; for pupils to Class TV., 8/- a quarter; and, for those seeking higher work, 10/- a quarter. But when the present Education Act was brought into force in 1878, fees were abolished, and teachers’ salaries and allowances to Committees were arranged by Education Boards.
For several years after the establishment of the School, the Committee arranged for regular religious instruction, and at least one head-teacher was censured for non-compliance with their wishes and plans concerning this work. At a later period the Revs. R. R. -Al. Sutherland and Kirkham carried on the work, of religious instruction very acceptably, and for the last twenty years Mr. Duncan Wright has carried on the good work successfully. The excellent work done by Committees to advance the interests of the School furnishes strong evidence that it will be retrograde legislation that attempts to do without such valuable local school agencies.
The firs teacher in charge of the School was Mr. McAlister, whose salary was Â£100 per annum, his wife being sewing mistress at E25 per annum. These teachers resigned, and Mr. Macklin was appointed head-teacher, and he was succeeded by Mr. and Mrs. Sutherland. On their resignations Mr. D. McLauchlan, who was head-teacher of the Wakari School, assumed the headmastership, and after fifteen years of devoted service he resigned in favour of Mr. John Allardice, who did excellent service for five years, when death overtook him in 1893. Mr. Allnutt, who had been first assistant for seven years, wa,-, appointed his successor, and for over twenty-six years he has very successfully extended the efficiency and popularity of the School.
The following classification of Kaikorai School teachers should prove interesting:
Head Teachers Mr. McAlister, 1Â½, years; Mr. Machlin, 2 years; Mr. Sutherland, Â½ vear- Mr. McLauchlan, 15 years; Mr. Allardice. 5 years; Mr. Allnutt, 26 years.
Assistants. Messrs. Anderson, Ritchie, Phillips, Turpin, Stott, Allnutt, Palmer, McNickle, Fisher, Stables, Murphy, Garrow. Fitzgerald. Robertson, Hall, Gibb, Mrs. McAlister and Mrs. Sutherland; Misses Miller, Stuart, Kippinberger, Christie, Quinlin, Turnbull, Russell, Moir, Wilson, Bennett, Kelly, Black, McKewen, Alexander, Campbell, Darling. Callender, and over 60 pupil-teachers.
(Original Article by Alan Gilchrist)