苏州美甲美睫培训学校

A new public school building opened in Mittagong in 1878: HIGHLANDS HISTORY

AT SCHOOL: Girls attending Mittagong Public School in its early years. ADDED ROOM: A timber infants’ classroom was in use from early 1900s at Mittagong Public School.
苏州美甲美睫培训学校

LEFT: SOLID STONE: Although not a school since 1937, the building still remains much the same as in 1900. Photos: BDH&FHS

Part Two of a 3-part series

IN October 1878 a new public school opened in Queen St at New Sheffield, now Mittagong.

It was built to replace an earlier public school established in 1865 at the rear of the Wesleyan Church in Albert St, on land provided by the directors of the Fitzroy Ironworks Company.

The new public school was a shingle-roofed, solid stone structure that consisted of a single classroom and adjoining teacher’s residence, built by Charles Grove of Bowral whose tender was accepted by the Education Board in August 1877. The building was erected in the New Sheffield sub-division on a one-acre plot purchased from the Fitzroy Bessemer Steel Hematite Iron and Coal Company Limited

It was stipulated by the Education Board that it be of stone rather than brick, as the bricks produced in the area at the time were considered to be of inferior quality. As well as erecting numerous houses in the area, the builder Grove was later successful, in 1886, in his tender to build St Simon and St Jude’s Church of England and accompanying schoolroom in Bowral.

According to a local resident, who in his early years attended the public school in Mittagong, the stones for the building came from the local Gibbergunyah Quarry, situated at the south western edge of the town. It has long since been filled in, being used many years ago as the local garbage tip. Several houses in the town were also built of stone from this quarry.

THE school opened in October 1878. It had an initial capacity of 70 pupils but, after a few years, the single classroom did not provide enough room for rapidly increasing enrolments.

In February 1880 the name of the school was changed from New Sheffield to Mittagong Public School. By then the name Mittagong, given to the railway station that opened in 1867, had been officially adopted for the expanding township.

In February 1881 a new room, to be for an infants’ class, was added as an extension to the western side of the building. At this stage the number of pupils attending the school had risen to 160, in the care of a principal teacher and two pupil teachers.

Over following years, as enrolments continued to rise, further extensions were made. In 1887 a large classroom was built at the western end of the earlier addition and extending southward to create an ‘L’ shape. This became the new infants’ room and two years later it held more than 100 infant pupils with a mistress and two assistants.

In 1888 extensions were made to the residence, providing an extra room and bathroom on the northern side. Yet another school room was added in 1897, in line with the main body of the building and extending further westward.

All these extensions were carried out using stone from the same quarry, and a uniform style was applied for all the windows and finishings. Thus the extended building appears as if it had been built all at once. It is also of architectural interest that the windows reveal two different techniques – casement and double-hung.

By the early 1900s, as Mittagong’s population continued to increase, further classroom capacity was required at the school. To serve as a new infants’ classroom, a substantial timber structure was either built or moved onto the site, positioned a short distance from the southwest edge of the existing building.

Despite this, the Department of Education considered that the school would not meet expected future enrolments, so it purchased an eight-acre block of land in Pioneer St for a new public school. At this new site, on a corner block, a head teacher’s residence was built in 1917 by Alf Stephens & Sons, prominent Bowral builders.

The solid stone walls and roof section of the existing residence in Queen St were dismantled from the original building and removed. Irregular stonework can be seen on the north-facing wall of the existing building, revealing where the residence was detached. The stones over the remainder of the building are all of a regular size and shape. A stone plinth in the grounds of the building, now Mittagong Library, indicates where the residence once stood.

It had been intended to build a new public school on the purchased site in Pioneer St but, owing to a lack of funds, this did not eventuate until November 1937 when a new two-storey building was opened.

Until then, the existing building in Queen St, with extensive alterations carried out in 1924, remained in use as Mittagong Public School.

To be continued

This article compiled by PHILIP MORTON is sourced from the archives of Berrima District Historical & Family History Society, Bowral Rd, Mittagong. Phone 4872 2169.

Email [email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训学校.

Web: berrimadistricthistoricalsociety.org.au

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