Schooling In The Past 

The first children who went to school were the sons and the daughters of convicts and the first teachers were women.The number of children that came ashore in the first fleet in 1978 were thirty-six boys and girls.

The  sons and daughters of  officers and free settlers were mostly privately educated and the ones that were smart got sent to the schools back in England. But there was another group of children who were sentenced to transportation for crimes such as petty theft.The first teacher who was on record appears to be Isabella Rossan. She had stole clothes, she was convicted and transported to N.S.W where she then began teaching a class in 1789. After she had married one of the convicts which was William Richardson, her and her husband both worked as teachers in 1790.

In Sydney the first school was built in a church which opened in 1798.The church was built out of saplings and mud plaster which was used between the spaces and was roofed with thatch and there was a room that could accommodate 150 children.The Board of Education was founded in 1838 and the subjects that were taught were   reading, spelling, writing, arthimetic and dictation.A lack of sufficiently trained teachers prevented the Board from increasing the cirriculum so that they could teach grammar, history and geography.

The arrival in 1841 of six trained teachers   from England meant more subjects were included in some schools eg. nature study. Now the Board had twenty-six schools but there was only 1,255 children enrolled. During the second half of the 1840's  two grammar schools and a high school were founded.

In Tasmania  attempts to educate socially under-privileged children were reported in 1853.In the previous year Inspector Thomas Arnold had  been in charge of the schools. He criticised the penny-a-day system of wages.The teacher's wages  depended on how many children attended the class. When they were building the schools in that year, the Government only granted a sum of five hundred pounds and the rest had to be funded by the local committees. So for a community to get a school they had to raise half the money. Books had to be supplied free for the children to use in the classes.

Cindy R.