The School Master’s Residence Evandale

Many will already know that the current Evandale Information Centre was previously the State School and the residence next door was built for the School Master.  There were some contentions with the proposed Master’s residence at the time, as evidenced by the following letter to the editor of the Tasmanian on 14 July 1888.

Sir, — Yesterday I had the pleasure of inspecting the plan of the proposed State School building and master’s residence, as submitted by the Government. The building, to say the least, will be a five-roomed cottage, pure and simple, quite useless as regards the wants of this district.

Our present schoolmaster has a large family, and could not possibly do with less than eight rooms, this may be overcome by the Government getting a man with a small family! Then, I suppose, the family is always to be small, if otherwise, the teacher will have to be removed to some more commodious House, or do the next best thing — rent a four-room cottage in the town after his family exceeds two.

Surely the absurdity of building such a ‘badger- box’ for a State school master’s residence must, be apparent to the Board of Education, a well as every resident of this town, and, to make matters worse, our local board have been slighted by the upper department, and have not even had the opportunity of expressing their opinion with regard to the erection of the school or master’s residence.

As a Local Board they certainly know the wants of Evandale, and should have been consulted as to the size of school house and necessary buildings before the plans were submitted to the public calling for tenders. To say the least, such procedure is uncourteous to our Local Board, whose views have been ridden over rough shod by the head of the department, who alone mast be responsible for the whole matter. Far better remain in the old building than remove to such an inconvenient house, quite inadequate for the present or future requirements of Evandale.  

Before the building is commenced, would it not be better to call a public meeting and give an expression of opinion respecting the matter, and forward the same to the Government to prevent such a ‘hut’ from being palmed off on the Evandaleites.

Yours, etc, –

W BOND.

Evandale School Masters residence

Churches – The Deddington Chapel

Built in 1840, this Chapel located at Deddington, Tasmania is on land gifted from Robert Pitcairn. Brothers Robert and Thomas Pitcairn arrived in Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land on the ship “Portland” on 10th September 1824 holding letters of Recommendation.

Thomas received a “Grant of Land” of 640 acres at Mills Plains, now Deddington, where he took up occupancy in 1826.

Robert received a “Grant of Land” of 800 acres at Grassy Hut, Bothwell and he took up occupancy of the land, also in late 1824. In late November/December of that year he apparently arranged for an exchange of this Bothwell Land Grant for land the River Nile, adjacent to the land granted to his brother.

Robert subsequently received another Grant of Land of 800 acres in 1829 adjoining and it is from this subsequent Grant that he gave an “Allotment upon which was erected the Chapel. It is understood that this “Gift of Land for this Chapel purpose was made following a request/suggestion from Rev. Robert Russell of the Presbyterian Church of Evandale.

The Chapel was built by Public Subscription on this “Gifted Land” with Land Ownership being transferred to “The Residents of Deddington”, in 1849. From 1865 the Chapel began use as the Local School and continued for this purpose until 1885. It was again used for the same purpose in 1912.

Major restoration work on the building was undertaken by the National Trust of Tasmania in the 1960’s with assistance from local residents and further maintenance was completed by the Chapel Trustees in 1999.Ongoing maintenance is always needed and this has included Grave restoration, fencing, landscaping and Chapel signage.

The graves present include Colonial Artist John Glover and his wife Sarah (nee Young) and their sons Henry & John Richardson Glover.

The Chapel is still in use today.

Churches – St Peters Church and School Nile

The Village of Lymington, later re-named The Nile was established by local landowners James Cox of “Clarendon” and Donald Cameron of “Fordon” to house their Workers.

The Village is believed to have been named by James Cox, after the seaport town in Hampshire. It was renamed “Lymington North” to avoid confusion with “Lymington” near Port Cygnet, and in 1910 was renamed again, this time becoming “The Nile”, no doubt because of the continued confusion, it has been suggested.

The Church Building was originally used as a “School on Weekdays and a Chapel on Sundays”. The Building was erected by James Cox (1790-1866) and stands on three acres of land also given by him.

Thomas Arnold, the Inspector of Schools, visited the establishment on 30th June 1853, when it was apparently newly built and reported that the premises were sufficient for the nineteen children who attended, but that the supply of books was poor and the teaching indifferent. The discipline was good and the children were neat and clean. Fees of 2/6 ( 2 shillings and 6 pence) weekly were paid to the Master, a Johnson, who was a retired Colour Sergeant of moderate attainments. Johnson attended school there day a week, possibly to teach needlework. Arnold’s chief complaint was that there was no kitchen or toilet.

In 1869 the Local Schools Board visited the school and reported that there were forty four children enrolled but only thirty nine in attendance being eighteen boys and twenty one girls.

One Member of the Board,  John Whitehead, reported that he had visited a family by the name of “Green” living on  Robotham’s Farm, more than three miles distant from the Public School. They had six children of which three were old enough to go to school and the parents were willing to pay 1/- (1 shilling) per week for their School Fees.

It was agreed by the Members present to recommend that two children should be admitted at 6d (6 pence), per week each and the third should be admitted on “Free Certificate”.

Other families were also having difficulties paying the school fees and it was decided that one of  Turner’s children be also admitted on a “Free Certificate”, with the other two (2) of his children being sent to school and the required “Fees Paid”. One child of Henry Lodge was to be admitted on a “Free Certificate” for one School Quarter only, whilst another child from the Family to be sent, was to have the required “Fees Paid”.

On payment of the required fees for two children by Larcombe any other from that family fit to go to school would be sent on a “Free Certificate”.

One of Drake’s children was to be admitted on a “Free Certificate” upon the payment for another two children attending.

The Teacher, Light, reported that several families “whose children ought to attend school” did not so attend along with the family names of Boyd, Griffith, Gibson and Sutton.

The Building continued to be used until late in the century at which time the Education Department erected a new school.

Early in 1893 the work of renovating the building commenced with Alexander North was the Architect and J.T. Farmilo the Contractor.

The addition of a Chancel Vestry and Tower were paid for from an endowment left by James Cox.

On St Peter’s Day that year the building was consecrated by Bishop Montgomery.

James Cox is commemorated by “A Tablet in the Nave”.