Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Gladstone's First School

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Gladstone's First School

Article excerpt

Robert Harvey Harvey Road

GLADSTONE'S earliest formal educational establishment was a National School which was housed in a wooden building rented by the School Board.

It opened in April 1861 with a total of 39 pupils and served as a schoolroom and teacher's residence. Joseph Hobart Carvosso was the first headmaster whose untimely death at the age of 34 years was mourned by the town's residents.

He left wife, Emma (nee Fox) and three children, William, Emma and Arthur.

After Carvosso's death, Robert Harvey was installed as the next head teacher of the school in August 1863, and remained in this position until August 1876.

The town's population was approximately 215 at the time, and the Government offered a pound for pound subsidy for erecting school buildings. So a local committee set about to raise the necessary amount.

The school committee comprised Messrs J C Clarke, R Bell, R E Palmer, H Friend, R Hetherington, W Pershouse, G Bodimeade, J S Powe, W B Prizeman and C Kelly. After raising one-third of the amount, the secretary of the committee, prominent local businessman Henry Friend, submitted a request to the Government who eventually paid the remaining cost of the building.

The Mayor, Richard Hetherington, laid the foundation stone, a gift from Alderman W. B. Prizeman, in November 1863 in a ceremony which included a procession of patrons and school children to the site of the new school.

In 1864 the new brick school building was erected on the present site of Gladstone Central State School in Auckland Street.

The Headmaster, Robert Harvey, along with his wife, Ann Jane (nee Nimmo) and family, had arrived in Australia on the Black Ball sailing ship, "Golden Dream", in April 1863 and must have quickly found their way to Gladstone.

The school was capable of housing 130 pupils. While the school was run under the National system fees were charged of 6d per week, however no child was apparently ever turned away by Mr Harvey because of impoverished circumstances.

Fees were abolished in 1870 and the school was subsidised by the Government. In 1874 the State took over the running of the school and 80 children enrolled in the first fortnight, a number that increased to 146 pupils before the end of the year. …

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