Blyth Plains School 1869-1881

Blyth Plains School 1869-1881.png
For many years, the only sign of the old school has been the odd inkwell, marble, broken slate or slate pencil, some of which are illustrated here.
In response to the need to provide education for the children of settlers in the Blyth district,
a public meeting was advertised in the newly established Northern Argus of 28 May 1869:

"A meeting will be held in Mr Best’s store, Blyth Plains, to consider the advisability of erecting a public school on the Plains, and to transact other business."

The meeting resulted in a school being built on Section 161, on land donated by Mr John Shepherd.  A public tea was held in the afternoon and a crowded ”soiree” or entertainment on that hot October evening featured a lecture, recitations and choral items. Mr James Badcock was the first teacher.

You may download the above sign graphic as a PDF - click here for PDF version

Below are all the text panels and the larger images featured on the above sign

 
TEACHERS APPOINTED TO
BLYTH PLAINS SCHOOL

 
JAMES BADCOCK 1869
SCHOOL CLOSED 1870
RICHARD H JARMAN 1871 - 1873
RICHARD J SHEPARD 1873
RICHARD H JARMAN 1874
RICHARD J SHEPARD 1874
RICHARD H JARMAN 1875
SCHOOL CLOSED 1875 - 1876
MISS GRACE KERR 1877 - 1878
MISS JEAN KERR 1879
ELIZABETH JANE CLIVELY 1880
BLYTH PLAINS SCHOOL
       
The above School will be opened by a PUBLIC TEA, SOIREE, LECTURE, and SUPPER, on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21, 1869, when the Rev. W. Davidson, President of the Blyth Plains Young Men’s Association, will deliver a Lecture on
 
“HUGH MILLER.”
 
Tea, 1s 6d, for adults; Children, half price.
 
Collections will be made after the Soiree and Supper.
E. H. BEST, Hon.Sec.
 

Ref. The Northern Argus 8 Oct 1869, p1B

 
BLYTH PLAINS, June 19.

A public meeting was held at Mr. Best's store on Friday, June 12, at 7 o'clock p.m., when Mr. John Shepherd, sen., presided. The meeting was to take into consideration the desirability of building a public school in connection with the Mutual Improvement Association, to select the site, and to appoint trustees.
 
Mr. Thomas Reid, sen., proposed, and Mr. Richard Roberts seconded, 'That the school be built on the original site offered by Mr. John Shepherd, sen., on the 23rd October, 1867,
specially for a school, situated five chains from the south-east corner of Section No. 161, facing the north and south road.'
Carried by a large majority.
The following gentlemen were elected Trustees:—
Messrs. John Shepherd, sen., Geo. Hall, G. M. Growden, Thos. Lawson, Richard Roberts, Jas. Sampson, Joseph Hill, jun. ; and Mr. John Shepherd, sen., was requested to act as Treasurer.
The school is to be 24 by 16 feet in the clear. A subscription-list laid on the table was supported very well, the amount subscribed at the time being over £36. Many promised to see that the cause did not fail, there being no school on the Plains at present.

South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA)  Tue 23 Jun 1868  Page 3  COUNTRY CORRESPONDENCE.

The school closed in 1870 but reopened in the following year with Mr Richard H Jarman as the head teacher and an average attendance of 23 students.
  •  When the Trustees appointed Mr Richard J Shepherd as teacher in 1873, the school had 23 students, with “prospect of increase”.
 
When Schools Inspector Hosking visited Blyth Plains school in November 1874 he found the master had been absent since October 14.
In answer to the Board’s letter, the teacher Mr Shepherd stated that having been obliged to go to Clare he gave his scholars a fortnight’s holiday, not being aware he was breaking the rules.
The inspector decreed that one month’s salary was to be deducted from Mr Shepherd’s stipend.
 
The school was again closed in 1875.
In 1876 the tramway from Hoyleton was extended to Blyth Plains, later the site of the township of Blyth and soon after a school was erected there.
Blyth Plains School reopened in 1877 but its revival was short-lived.
 
In August of that year the South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail reported that
“Our new school building in the township (of Blyth) is progressing and, I understand, will soon be finished.
It will be a great boon to this part of the country as a school was much needed, many children being deprived of educational benefits as they are at too great a distance from the other school on Blyth’s Plains.
At that school I hear the lady teacher gives general satisfaction, and that the attendance is augmenting considerably.”
 
In Nov 1877 two tenders were received in relation to works at Blyth Plains School and were referred to the architect.
In 1878 Miss Grace Kerr taught at Blyth Plains.
The school was open for a total of 70 days and although 38 students were enrolled, the average attendance was 16. 
Parents contributed £5/5/10 in fees compared to nearby Blyth School which was open all year and received £37/15/10 in fees.
 
In March 1880, the SA Register reported that Blyth Plains School was in need of repairs and additions, and its location was not convenient for children living at Kybunga.
A deputation representing the residents of Kybunga and neighbourhood had visited the Minister of Education the previous month to put the case for a school at Kybunga.
There were 97 children in the neighbourhood, with 58 of school-going age.
 
It was also reported that “there was a school on Blyth’s Plains but it was practically closed,
its situation not being sufficiently central to meet the requirements of Kybunga and neighbourhood,
besides which it was in great disrepair, and altogether inadequate for school purposes.
 
The consequence of this lack of educational facilities in the district was that a large number of the children were growing up in ignorance.
Some children from seven to nine years of age did not even know the alphabet, and more than one family had left the district rather than see their children deprived of all educational advantage.”
 
The school at Blyth Plains finally closed in 1881 with the opening of Kybunga School.
Some of the families in the area during the years the school was open included Sampson, Goodridge, Shepherd, Growden, Lawson, Nottle, Hall, Paterson, Reid, Roberts, Hill, Treloar, Longmire, Mee, Fogden, Adair and Best.
 
 
 
In this Series: Historic Schools of Blyth