Opening of the New School Building - 1880

A Report on the Opening of the New School Building

The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle

Monday 19 April 1880

CROOKWELL. OPENING COTTA WALLA SCHOOL. THE sports to celebrate this event took place on Friday, 9th instant, in Mr. John Mortimore's paddock, opposite the school-house. The day was beautifully fine, and as a consequence some five hundred persons attended, including about 300 children. As soon as the children were mustered in strength they took up position on the ground in rings, and a plentiful supply if tea, cakes, buns, &c. were supplied them, and to which they seemed to apply all the voracious energies youth is generally supposed to possess. Their appetites having been appeased, the sports were commenced; and for each event, which was hotly contested, there were numerous entries, the starter and handicappers having to bear the burden of the day in this respect. The following are the events which were contested, with their results:- GIRLS. 50 yards, 8 years and under.-- M. A. Mortimore, 1; -- Shaughnessy, 2. 50 yards, 12 years and under.-- F. Thompson, 1; E. Francis 2. 80 yards, 14 years and under. E. Wray, 1; E. Williams, 2. 80 yards, all comers.-- E. Sleep, 1; M. A. Shaughnessy, 2. Skipping, besides one or two other events.--E. Tinson took the champion prize. BOYS. 50 yards, 8 years and under. - E. Pitcher, 1; Thomas Gilby, 2. 50 yards, 12 years and under.-R. Howland, 1; M. Shaughnessy, 2. 50 yards, 15 years and under.- E. Pitcher, 1; T. McGrath, 2. Hop, Step, and Jump, 12 years and under.-F. Stephenson, 1; T. Glenn, 2. 100 yards All-comers' race.-J. McGrath, 1; G. Warn, 2. Running High Jump.--M. Shaughnessy, 1; J. Thompson, 2. Running Long Jump.-- A. Grimson, 1; J. Cameron, 2. Three-legged Race.-Thompson Bros., 1; Grimson and Worrall, 2.

While the races, &c , were going on, the older folks regaled themselves with some of the good things of this world, which were tastefully laid out in a booth erected on the ground by the committee; and at the conclusion of the sports the prizes, consisting of money and several useful and handsome gifts, were handed to the successful competitors. Before the sports commenced I may say that each child attending the school was presented with a very handsome little book as a souvenir of the occasion, so that in fact most of the children present had something to take away with them, which seemed to produce the effect aimed at - to make them happy for the day.

In the evening the school board and the committee of the day met in the schoolroom, in which a very nice little collation was laid out. About twenty gentlemen sat down. Mr. W. S. Gunn occupied the chair and Mr. T. H. Prosser the vice-chair. The more substantial part of the programme having been disposed of, the chairman called on those present to charge their glasses, and the usual loyal toasts were drunk, when Mr. John Broderick proposed the toast of the Council of Education. He regretted very much that Mr. Wilkins, the secretary to the council, was not present on the occasion; but his official duties precluded his attendance. [Mr. Broderick here read a letter from Mr. Wilkins, stating the fact of his being unable to attend, and wishing the board and school every success.] The council were, he was sorry to say, on some occasions better abused than paid ; but the colony was undoubtedly deeply indebted to the council and their hardworking secretary, Mr. Wilkins, to whom great credit was due; and Cotta Walla residents must feel this, particularly when they look at the handsome building, the opening of which they had now met to celebrate; and in years to come they will be still more thankful when they see the fruits of the under taking in a well-educated and orderly youthful population, who would have owed their instruction to Cotta Walla school: and the longer the school was in existence the more useful it would be, so that the council were right in giving them a substantial edifice which might last for centuries. He had much pleasure in asking those present to drink the health of the council coupled with Mr. Wilkins. Mr. Derritt supported the toast, which was enthusiastically drunk.

Mr. McNiven, in responding on behalf of the council, said that at a gathering of this kind it was only right and just that those present should express their opinion of obligation to the council, especially at this time when they were about retiring from office. He thought the efforts of the council were justly appreciated now, but in years to come would be more so (Applause.)

Mr. Prossor, from the vice-chair, proposed the Local Board. He said that as they had done justice to the previous toasts, and had so far given credit where credit was due, he was pleased that he should have this toast to propose. It was evident that how ever good a council of education they had, it required something more to have obtained the handsome building they now had in Cotta Walla, and that was, in his opinion, an energetic and effective school board ; and to them he thought the inhabitants had particularly to tender their thanks. It was unnecessary to enlarge upon the benefits of education; but he would say this to the various school boards in this district, that if they acted up to their office, and did their duty as well as the Cotta Walla school board, they would be earning the undying gratitude of the children and parents whom they would benefit thereby.

This toast was drunk with musical honors. Mr. Thomson returned thanks. He would do everything in his power to help on education. He had found the benefit of it himself and hoped to see every child in the district thoroughly educated. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. John Broderick also begged to thank those present for the way the toast was drank. It was by education and education alone that people were enabled to climb to the highest state in the country, and it would be a matter of surprise if parents do not strain every nerve to give their children education. Without learning, children could have no prospect of rising in station.

Mr. John Howard proposed the contractor (Mr. Samuel Cox), which toast he was sure they would all drink heartily. Since he had been here to-day he had been looking over the building, and he was much pleased and somewhat surprised at the efficient manner in which the contract had been carried out. It seemed to him to leave nothing to be wished for, and what a few years back he ever dreamed of hoping for.

Mr. Glanville supported the remarks of the previous speaker. He was sure this building would compete, in style and finish, with any he had seen, and he had some experience in this matter. The toast was drunk with musical honors. Mr. Cox briefly said, that as they had expressed their appreciation of his efforts, he might say that he had done everything in his power to carry out the work efficiently, and if he got another contract he would still endeavour to excel. Of course with each contract he was getting more experience, and would endeavour to profit by it. He must however say that the manner in which this toast had been drunk was beyond his expectations and his merits. Mr. Cox then proposed the school teachers of the district, who, he was sure, were thoroughly competent in their vocation. Drunk with musical honors.

Mr. Glanville responded on behalf of the teachers. As a body they had a great many difficulties; but he thought they were all conscientious in the discharge of their duties. Mr. G. P. Rodd begged leave to propose the health of the worthy chairman, who seemed always anxious to lend a hand in the furtherance of any worthy object; and he hoped that on future occasions they would meet with as good a one. Drunk enthusiastically. Mr. Gunn said he was somewhat taken aback to find that this toast should call forth so much sympathy, which he hardly thought was deserved. He hoped to be present at many meetings of the kind in the district, as conducing to the promotion of good feeling amongst neighbors and others.

Mr. Rodd proposed the Press.

Mr. Prosser replied.

The toast of The Ladies was also drunk, especially those who had so much contributed to the day's pleasure by their assistance, and the evening was appropriately brought to a close by those present singing God Save the Queen.

April 16 [1880].