Kaikorai School Jubilee 1869-1919 (Souvenir Booklet pages 28–35)


STANDING: P. L. RITCHIE, Treasurer (9 years); W. WILSON (17 years); E. WALDEN (2 years).
SITTING: A. MATHESON. Secretary (27 years); GEO. MOIR, Chairman (37 years); A. FERRY (34 years); J. C. SCULLY (2 years),
ABSENT: R. S. WARDROP (8 years); D. SCOTT (34 years).


It is worthy of note that Kaikorai School has been honoured with some very valuable years of service: possibly more so than any other city school. Of the Committee many of them have done yeoman service. Mr. Moir’s (Chairman) record of 37 years; Mr. Ferry and Mr. David, Scott’s (each 34 years) form a remarkable trio. The record of Mr. Alex. Matheson (the Secretary) is a most, creditable one (27 years), also Mr. P. L. Ritchie, the Treasurer for nine years. Mr. Allnutt, the head-master for over a quarter of a century, has proved himself a, veritable tower of strength, to the School all these years. His intense application to his work; his faithfulness to duty; his impartiality; his exemplary manner, and his wise rule and government have given him a place of high honour, and won him the respect and confidence of the staff, the pupils, and the parents. We congratulate him on his long and meritorious service, and wish him and his wife and family many long and happy days.

Of the staff, there are also some excellent records. The names of Miss Callender and Miss Dow have been household words for many long years. They have done excellent work for their pupils and the School. If there is one outstanding individual who has positively made his mark in the School, it’is none other than the boys’ and girls’ favourite, Mr. H. P. Kelk. He joined the staff some 33 years ago, and has remained steadfastly at his post ever since, turning aside all other possible appointments because of his high sense of duty. It can be honestly affirmed that every pupil who has passed through his hands has become a better boy and girl in every respect. Mr. Kelk has the gift of imparting knowledge in a most thorough and complete manner. He knows how to secure strict attention, and he obtains a high standard of work from his pupils. He instils into them the need for faithfulness and thoroughness, and begets within them as far as a teacher can the desire for things being well done. He succeeds in gaining the confidence and goodwill of his pupils, and interests them in many sides of life. His museum has been an immense factor in interesting his scholars in the things of Nature. Long after his days of service at Kaikorai are over his work will live after him. Kaikorai has indeed been fortunate in having his services for so long a period. The past and present pupils know the value of him who in schooldays they called “Tiny”. He has exceptional musical ability, and has acted as school accompanist for many years, and also taken a lively interest in the school concerts and break-ups.




Other teachers who occupied important positions on the staff can be recalled with distinct pleasure – namely, ‘Messrs. Turpin, Stott, A. E. A. Palmer, Miss Wilson, Mr. Fisher, Mr. McNickle, Mr. Stables, kIr. J. M. Garrow, Mr. P. Murphy, and Mr. J. FitzgerAld: The latter resigned to become the first head-master of the new Maori Hill School. (Our photo shows him as captain of the Kaikorai School Cadets;) The coming of Mr. J. Matheson, first assistant. about 10 years ago brought new interest to the School, for he, being musical and a Band enthusiast, took in hand the establishment of the School Fife and Drum Band. They chose as their ‘colours’ the well-known “Blue and Black.’ To becoming a member of the Band each boy looks forward with eagerness. We give a picture of the present Band in its up-to-date, uniform. A few lines contributed by an ex-pupil summarises Mr. Matheson’s worth and, the esteem in which he is held by his classes.

The School has been signally successful in the choice of its infant room mistresses. Following the first Miss Stuart; now Mrs. Ussher (still alive), there came Miss, I. Turnbull of City Road, at whose hands so many of us well remember being taught our first lessons and receiving little reward cards for our efforts and good behaviour. Miss McKewen’s’ service was likewise, a most valued one, as is that of the present mistress (Miss Ralston) to the present infants. Time will not a1low of a detailed account of the good work of other members of the past and present staffs, especially of Miss Reid and the other lady teachers, who became such favourites of the girls, and who attached themselves to them in many loving ways.

These fine records would scarce be complete without honourable mention being made of the long services as school janitor of Mr. James Duff, who but recently passed away from the scene of his many years devoted labour.




Once upon a time, in your school-days long ago,
You met, no doubt, a little boy who to the school did go.
He did not wish to go to school, but this he must, of course;
He did not think of lessons there, but dreamed he rode a horse;
He thought about the holidays, the country, and the seas,
When 4 o’clock would come around what boys he next would tease—
Until the teacher cried “John M—, just parse the verb ‘to be.’

“‘To be,’ said John, now quite alert (his day-dreams had to flee),
“‘To be ‘ is transitive active, sir, and always so must be.”
And then he thinks it quite unjust and why he cannot see,
When from the teacher he receives a painful one, two, three;
And says, when to his seat he’s back, “He was unfair to me.”

And then when spelling-time comes round, and teacher rattles on so fast
He happens just to slip a word, and puts in “cask” for “cast.”
And then again he puts a “g” where “q” has right to stand,
And so once more he feels the weight of teacher’s powerful hand.
And sums! Alas, the teacher’s anger now is waxed,
And when John puts a “3” for “2,” he is most sorely vexed.

Spite of canings, and of strappings, and of endless keepings late,
He enjoys his old school-teacher, loves him almost as a mate;
And at last with fortune’s blessing, when be’s mounted up the stile,
Leaves his dear old haunts of boyhood for this British Southern Isle.

Times have changed, and now in Kaikorai he the first assistant is,
Teaching boys and girls that love him spite the passions that are his.
Now ’tis his turn to rattle on when our history he dictates,
And cane us when in spelling-time we make a few mistakes.
As a rule he’s very patient, often likes to crack a joke.
Laughs and smiles and gives us freedom; but sometimes when things provoke,
Passion takes a hold, and anger darts from out of fiery eyes,
And with canings, threatenings, strappings quells our faults that will arise.

Six-foot-one his height, he stated; fourteen stone his weight, he’ll tell,
And when temper loses anchor heavy is his hand as well;
At such times as these his memory fails to act in decent ways,
How much better were the children in his early schoolboy days!

Time has blotted out the badness that his history contains.
And the goodness of his childhood in his memory still remains.
Angry words and heated passions in day’s work call a halt,
And in hearts that plead for justice breed a reason for revolt.

At such troublous times we mourn for the “golden days” just past,
When with discipline and justice the long happy hours did last;
But in spite of all his doings he’s not really very bad—
With his pleasant homely manner he’s the best we’ve ever had;
And if you should chance to meet him this old friend I’m sure was thine.
Just to show him how we love him read to him this simple rhyme.


Of the scholars’ records of attainments Kaikorai has a, proud position. The Education Board’s record further on shows the winners of the Senior and Junior Scholarships, while the School’s record of duxes makes interesting reading.

As time passed scholars passed out in the highways A life, and many have made their mark in the world. Foremost of these are the ‘two who won the famous Rhodes Scholarship—viz., Mr. Colin Gilray and Mr. Allan Thomson; also Daniel Waters, now Professor of Metallurgy and Assaying at the Otago University. Mr. James F. Scott has made a name for himself in his work as an artist. He has the honour of having one of his pictures hung in the famous Paris Salon in 1910. Returning from the war, he, has been retained by the Australian Government to execute special war pictures from his sketches taken, on the battlefields of France. Captain David C. Todd (who became a scholar in 1875, the second year of the Linden School opening) is now one of the senior officers in the service of the Union Steam Ship Company. He was engaged by the British Admiralty as War Captain of the transports “Tofua” and “Tahiti” (for four years) to carry the New Zealand troops to England and the war zones in the Mediterranean. He was privileged to carry many thousands of our lads there and back, amidst mines and submarines, without mishap of any kind, which is surely a feat to be proud of. Mr. James Barr (of Paterson and Barr) has had a long and successful career as one of our prominent business men. There are also several Prize Essayists (boys and girls) in the various Navy League Competitions. A short account of a visit to the famous naval pictures, by an ex-pupil. will appear elsewhere. May many others follow in their train and. if possible. excel their efforts.

It has been asserted with some show of authority that, as school museums are full of objects taken from their environment, they have little educational value; but in these days, when the concrete plays so important a part in school work, this opinion needs qualification.

The Museum at Kaikorai School was commenced in 1905, in a modest little case placed on the mantel shelf of the Fifth Standard room. Since that time it has steadily grown, until now it fills three, large cabinets and two small cases. all of them very much overcrowded.

In these short notes it is not intended to describe the contents of the different cases, but mention may be made of a fine collection of geological specimens, sets of coins, weapons of warfare, beautiful shells, curios, stuffed birds, and birds’ eggs. Some of the War Relies are noteworthy, especially four little shells from Anzac Beach, where so many of our brave lads laid down their lives for the Empire. These shells have been placed in a little case, and are rightly regarded as the most precious relic in the Museum. Then some good specimens of the Reptilia of Palestine—a black-headed snake among them—form quite a fascinating contribution to this group.
No further description need be attempted, but an inspection of the Museum and its different objects of interest is invited. If the Museum is to attain its fullest usefulness, it should be housed in a special room. Under present circumstances this is out of the question, but the writer of these few notes lives in the hope that some day an old boy, when his ship with the golden sails comes winging into harbour, will show his love for his old school by giving a sufficient sure to build this much-needed room—one worthy ‘ of his generosity and of the fine school to which it will be an adjunct.





One outstanding event that will ever live in the memory of the scholars of 1915-16 will be the giant effort put forth by the scholars of every school in Otago, which resulted in the huge collection of bottles to the number of 469,466 being collected, realising no less a sum than £2.502 8s. 5d.- of which Kaikorai School’s contribution was 28.987 bottles, to the value of £174 3s. 9d. The much-needed Belgium Relief Fund was thus helped in a very practical manner, which involved no small amount of search and loving labour,on the part of the scholars. If you look into the museum photo, you will see on the top of one of the cases the “representative” bottle, giving the particulars of this notable and never-to-be-forgotten event of the Great War, The scholars also contributed well to the comforts of the many soldier boys who passed through the School by contributions of many kinds.

(Original Article by Alan Gilchrist)


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