1871 Dawson St Excommunicated
Charles Martin's home page
- 1871.Dawson St Excommunicated.
- The Theological Battle Heats
- Two Vital Meetings- Dawson
- At School
- 17th Dec - Education Act
Finally Passed -"Free, Compulsory, Secular".
- Rules for Teachers 1872
- 1st January - The
Education Act Becomes Law.
- Problems with the
- October 1st - Oh No!
Trouble With Hobbledehoys!
- From the Correspondence.
1871 was another tumultuous year for Charles and the
Dawson Street church, and during the year not only Charles,
but the whole church as well, were excommunicated from the
denomination of the Churches of Christ. The spark that led to
this conflagration was probably the "Eternal Punishment"
article that had appeared in "The Australian Christian
Pioneer" in April of the previous year, which prompted
Charles' reply and the ensuing debate.
THE SPLIT WAS NOT BETWEEN TWO GROUPS AT DAWSON STREET, BUT BETWEEN DAWSON STREET CHURCH ITSELF AND THE
REST OF THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST. IT WAS A DOCTRINAL ISSUE AND REVOLVED ROUND THE
"ETERNAL PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED".
Graham Chapman, minister at
Dawson Street in the 1970's wrote a history of the Churches of Christ in Ballarat, and he
summarised the whole saga thus -
"The story begins in 1859
when a handful of Disciples, who had moved from Melbourne to
Ballarat, began meeting in a home. They were soon joined by a
group of Close Communion Baptists. Two personalities stood
out, H.G.Picton, a solicitor's clerk, and Charles Martin, a
school teacher, one of the former Baptists.
Also during 1871 it
appears that Charles Henry junior ran away from home, the reason being that his father wanted him to
become a doctor, and the lad (being sixteen years of age at the
time) was unwilling for this. He boarded a ship for Sydney, and
through the porthole window he watched his father and the police
searching for him on the wharves. Whether or not he got to
Sydney is unknown to me, but what is known is that he became
apprenticed to a builder (or a building firm) and settled in
Port Melbourne where he established a business (or two, or three) and
lived there for the rest of his life. No doubt the incident was
of great concern to the parents, and sent some kind of minor
(though temporary) shock waves down through the younger brothers
and sisters. For the father to make a trip to Melbourne to try
to find his errant son would have been, in those days, no small
effort. (This story was related to me by my mother, who got it
from my father, who was a son of the run-away Charles. As I
heard it repeated a number of times over a number of years, I
guess there is no reason to doubt its essential truthfulness).
Both men were energetic, forceful and
dominant. There was only room for one at the top. Members of a
young and inexperienced officers' board eventually lined up
behind their champions. When the first division arose in early
1867, Martin and his coterie remained at Dawson St, while
Picton shifted with his followers to the Mechanics' Institute.
The fact that the church owed money to Martin, who had
generously helped finance the purchase and construction of the
building, might well have decided who stayed. In December,
1867 a reconciliation was effected, with assistance from
Melbourne. The peace was fragile, however, lasting only for 12
months, and in January 1869, the dissidents, under Picton,
separated a second time, settling eventually in the East, the
older and more depressed part of Ballarat. These formed the
nucleus of the Peel Street Church.
The group at Dawson Street was not
left in peace, however, as Martin was soon charged, by a
youthful but forceful J.H. Hamill, the first evangelist to be
invited to the area, with denying the eternal punishment of
the wicked. Some also questioned his orthodoxy on the issue of
the atonement. As a result of Hamill's agitation, and a
residual antipathy on the part of the group who had broken
away with Picton, Martin, the lay elder, or pastor, at Dawson
St, and the whole congregation, were excommunicated by
churches in Ballarat and Melbourne. They were not to be spoken
to or associated with.
January and February - Hamill continues to labor for Dawson
Street church, probably finishing about mid-February. On March
2nd, Charles submitted another report to the "Pioneer" reporting
on this visit -
"Our last report to the
Pioneer was in June, since then we have had the pleasure of witnessing twenty-five persons
confess Christ and cast in their lot with us. Our Brother
Hamill came amongst us in November, and fifteen of the above
have been baptized during the time of his visit. We trust and
pray that they may all continue to "fight the good fight of
faith and lay hold on eternal life"
Hamill, however, was not so enthusiastic about
the results achieved during this
second stint. Later in the year he was to write -
my first visit of two months, 41 persons were baptised; five months afterwards when the report of
annihilation got abroad I laboured for three months in the
same place, when only 19 were baptised. Behold Dr Thomas
success. (Dr Thomas was an American who taught
annihilation.) Men given up to their lusts, who believe that
the future punishment will be annihilation, will naturally
say, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. "
Hamill thus attributed
his lack of success during this visit to the teaching of
"annihilation" (in other words, people weren't so scared of
Hell). He continued his stay in
Ballarat, working with the other churches, and was to become
locked in intense theological battle with Charles and Dawson St.
Charles engaged in circulating some booklets at Dawson Street
setting out his view that the wicked do not suffer "eternal
Charles circulates his booklets and propagates his belief at the
Durham Lead church (15 miles from Ballarat). The members of the
church apparently sent him word that if he came there again they
would not listen to him, but Charles and "his men" apparently
- A "leading brother publicly preached his "annihilation theory"
in the Dawson Street Chapel. (Was this Charles? Probably.)
Theological Battle Heats Up.
So, on the church
scene, things were once again hotting up. In May the church at Buninyong wrote to the church
at Ballarat East (the breakaways) pointing out that Dawson St
could no longer afford to support Hamill, and suggesting that
they form an evangelistic committee to ` 'devise ways and means
for Hamill's support".
Hamill entered the fray when
it came to his attention that Charles had mentioned in a sermon
(maybe the one on 24th May) that the wicked would not suffer eternal torment, but be annihilated. For
Hamill, eternal torment was "not an opinion, but a matter of faith, being part
of the religion of Christ". Charles claimed that for him the
issue was a matter of opinion. Hamill was incensed that he was
"circulating book after book among young converts on the
Hamill, in his new
employment with the other Ballarat churches, mounted a crusade
against Charles and Dawson St. It
probably wasn't difficult to arouse the Ballarat East group.
I don't know how it was that
Charles came to espouse such a view as this one. In many ways it ran counter to all the
accepted methods of Biblical Interpretation which were current
in his circles of Christianity at that time. Probably he read an
article on it at some time, and after studying the Bible came to
the conclusion that this viewpoint was correct. He then sought
to oppose those who held a different view, and propagate his
own. He apparently felt very strongly about it, to the extent of
entering into debate with the editors of the "Pioneer", and then
taking on, as it were, the whole main stream of thought within
the Churches of Christ denomination. During the early months of
1871 he apparently lectured on it at the Dawson Street church,
and also handed out leaflets and tried to convince individuals
of his view. On one occasion he even spent three hours at Durham
Lead trying to convince a young man of this on the day when he
was to be baptised. So it is obvious that the point was
important to Charles. Hamill wrote a letter to the "Pioneer"
which details some of Charles' involvement -
Dear Brother Surber - Thanks for you kind letter of congratulation
on my endeavours to "keep the churches pure from the
contaminating influence of annihilationists' errors".
So Charles was quite actively pushing his view point
in the early months of 1871, and the issue assumed a great
importance. Charles well and truly earned the wrath of Hamill.
In addition, the other Ballarat Churches took a very dim view of
the matter, and as Hamill further pointed out in his letter,
"this went on until the harmony and peace of the churches was
broken". A meeting of the other five Ballarat Churches was
called to deal with the matter.
after my second visit, finding that Brother Martin was circulating book after book among the young
converts with some such caution as "Don't let Brother Hamill
see it!" and that strangers, however much they liked the
principles of Primitive Christianity, dreaded Dawson Street
Church, from the report Brother Martin gave of his views in
a discourse after I left Ballarat, I warned him before the
"Deacons" and stated that if any brother should teach
noneternity" of punishment" in the chapel, I would publicly
oppose it, as "everlasting punishment" was not an opinion,
but a matter of faith, being part of the religion of Christ.
Brother Martin told me he held it as an opinion and would
not push it, knowing however that he was pushing it in every
way he could, without publicly teaching it, and seeing
little hope of good being done under the circumstances at
Dawson Street, sore against Brother Martin's will I came to
Buninyong with a view of planting a Church there, which
would be about halfway between the Mt Clear Church and the
Durham Church, which were chiefly under the control of the
Brethren at Dawson Street. About two months after this
Brother Martin so much persisted in teaching his dogma to
some of the members of the church at Durham, that they sent
him word to the effect that if he would come there again
many would not listen to him. "Martin and his men" finding
that they were not wanted at the Durham again, would not
take the lesson and refrain from like conduct in the future
as wise men would have done, but commenced to circulate
tracts at the doors of the chapel on their hobby. On 24th
May a leading brother was publicly preaching his
annihilation theory in the Dawson Street Chapel. And to show
you the length to which these men will go in advocating
their dogma I will give you an example: - Brother Martin and
another brother pressed a man for about three hours, the
very afternoon before he was baptised, to believe with
them that the wicked would "cease to exist", and when
the man told them that "if the Bible was to be the guide, he could not for one moment
entertain such an idea", they
said It would be better for him to put off his baptism
until he had read more"!
Meetings- Dawson St Excommunicated.
- The five Ballarat congregations (Mt Clear, Buninyong, Durham,
Mechanics and Cardigan) met at Mt Clear and reaffirmed their
belief in the eternity of punishment, and they agreed to three
1. That Brethren assembled
from the different churches are unanimously agreed that the doctrine of
non-eternity of punishment is anti-scriptural, and the
teaching of it is schismatical.
The editor, Surber, then added a comment,
and concluded by saying -
2. That we wait on brethren
teaching non-eternity of punishment, to ascertain whether they intend to teach
it as hitherto, and if so, admonish them.
3. That in the event of their
still persisting in teaching it, that this meeting recommend to the Churches to adopt
Apostolic counsel, which says, 'Mark them which cause
divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye
have learned, and avoid them'.
"That any man has the right
to force his OPINIONS and thus destroy the peace and harmony of the churches is denied
by every intelligent Brother in the world, and when they do
FORCE them, those so doing may expect to find themselves in
the sad condition of those at Dawson St, Ballarat. In the
next issue of the Pioneer, we expect to say something more
on this subject; in the meantime may the Great Head of the
Church bless Brother Hamill and the Churches in their work,
and also grant those erring Brethren repentance and
Following this meeting, Martin and -
"the teachers of
annihilation were admonished, but they replied that it was a matter of faith with them and they
would teach it; others would not answer and ridiculed the
idea of asking them."
So, as the wayward ones refused to repent,
another meeting was called on -
August 4th -
Excommunication Pronounced - The churches met again at Mt
Clear and unanimously recommended that Dawson St be "withdrawn
from". Thus on that date, Dawson Street was excommunicated from
the Churches of Christ brotherhood. Hamill tried to persuade
Dawson St members to separate themselves from those preaching
annihilation, but with little success. He wrote -
"These erring brethren are
confined to Dawson Street. Before I left them (for I have left them, not being able to
save the church, but bringing out and separating as many of
the Disciples as I could) I gave them a discourse on "The
State and Home of Departed Spirits from Death to the
Resurrection". the main object being to cut away their main prop, "Soul Sleeping ", and show the perfect
consciousness of the spirits of good and bad after death. At
their request I delivered a discourse on "Everlasting
punishment for the wicked is part of Christianity" which
they did not like at all. In this discourse I stated the
mind of the brotherhood on the subject, and showed that
brethren had been excluded for teaching non-eternity of
punishment, but not for holding it, also some of the evils I
have seen by its teaching, which I stated as follows -
After Hamill's letter appeared in the September issue of
the Pioneer, the Dawson street group of course called it into
question, and wrote a reply. At their board meeting on October
25th it was "resolved that 1500 copies of the reply to Mr
Hamill's letter in the Pioneer for September be printed and
circulated. " Unfortunately the text of this circular has not
survived, so we cannot discover exactly what the response of
Dawson Street was.
perverts the Word of God, and appeals to the feelings to
justify it; instead of judging all things by the Spirits
2. It engenders a coarse and bitter
spirit, brethren who possessed a
kind and loving disposition before they taught it, afterward
become possessed of the very opposite.
3. It weakens the claims of Christ by
making sin a little sinful, but
not so exceedingly sinful as to demand 'everlasting
4 It hinders conversions.
Hoping the churches throughout
the colonies will follow the course we have been, in faithfulness to the Master,
compelled to take.
In the November issue, another article appeared as promised,
entitled, "The Trouble at Ballarat", giving a detailed response
to the Dawson Street reply from each of the five churches,
verifying the statements made by Hamill. There was also a letter
from the young man to whom Charles spoke at Durham -
"Having been called upon to
testify to a fact stated in Brother Hamill's letter to the Pioneer relative to myself,
I beg to say that I am the person whom Mr Martin and Mr
McMaster pressed for about three hours to believe with them
that the wicked would cease to exist, and Brother Hamill has
stated the fact in the Pioneer just as he received it from
myself, Sister Holman, and another sister who here place
their names in proof thereof." William Holman, Sarah Holman,
November 8th - From the minutes -
A conversation arose
respecting letters in the "Pioneer" for October purporting to confirm Mr Hamill's statements.
Resolved on the motion of Brother McMaster that the deacons
adhere to their statement to take no further notice of
anything that may appear in that magazine, but that any
individual action in the matter be left to the judgment of
November 23rd - Bro Martin stated that Sister Reed of Sebastopol
charged Sister Ferguson with conduct calculated to bring
disgrace upon the Church. The case left open for further
investigation by the deacons.
Dec 12th - Bro
Martin reported that Sister Ferguson indignantly denied the
accusation made against her character. (Surprise, surprise.)
So by the end of August 1871, Dawson St
found itself, because of the views
of its pastor, excommunicated by sister churches in Ballarat
15th November -
Frederick George born (8th and last child - 7th to survive).
In the midst of all the troubles during November, Frederick
George was born. He eventually settled in Apollo Bay, becoming
manager of the butter factory there. He died in 1958 and was
buried in the Box Hill cemetery.
234 on roll;
Twice as many boys as girls
111 Av Attendance (Less than 50%)
Present at D.I.s exam - 149 (Percentage of passes obtained 64%)
Charles and Elizabeth listed as having 2nd Class Honors.
£186 received for
salaries from government grant and £51 for Bonuses.
10 children listed as destitute.
The percentage of
passes in the Inspector's tests was 64, which was better than
all the other Ballarat schools except one (at 68), and higher
than most of the other schools in the state. This was to become
an important joint to Charles in later years in some of his
"battles" with the Education Department.
And so, as school broke up for the short summer
holidays at the conclusion of 1871, Charles probably had much
upon which to reflect. His eldest son
had now left home, and the other six children were Charlotte 15,
Leonard 10, Albert 8, Frank 5, Mary 2 and the baby Frederick.
Charlotte was about to commence as a student teacher at the
school, and I imagine that she brought a certain amount of joy
to her parents as the information which I have about her
suggests that she was a very responsible young woman.
To Louisa and James Crump at Castlemaine - a son - George Alfred (He died later in the year
- 10th child, 8 surviving.)
To Mary and William Davey at Ballarat - a son - Percival Arthur (5th child - 4
To Hannah and Thomas Farr at Ballarat - a daughter - Ethel Maude
(10th child - 9 surviving).
THE AUSTRALIAN CHRISTIAN PIONEER.
We call the attention of the Brotherhood to Bro.
Hamill's letter concerning the state of things among the
Churches in and around Ballast. The Brethren will be pained no
little to sec how things have been moving there. If what Bro. H.
has written be true, and we doubt not his communication in any
particular, it is positively beyond our power to sec how
the Churches there named could have acted otherwise than they
have, beng determined as they arc to keep the Churches free from
the influence of their mistaken Brethren, In establishing the
cause in a new country there :are many difficulties to overcome,
and hence the necessity of forbearance. The Churches valued in
Bro. H's, letter seem not to have been deficient in long
suffering.' That any man has the right to force his opinions
and thus destroy the peace and harmony of the Churches is denied
by every intelligent Brother in the world, and when they do force
them, those so doing, may expect to had themselves in the sad
condition of those at Dawson Street, Ballarat.
THE CRISIS AT BALLARAT
In the nest issue of the Pioneer we expect to say' something more on
this subject ; in the meantime may the Great Head of the Church
bless Bro. H. and the Churches in their work, and also grant
those erring Brethren repentance and reformation. G. L.
follows a letter from J A Hamill
From the early 1870's when the church was
excommunicated, a curtain falls over the activity at Dawson St.
The minutes from May 22nd 1870 - until September 1871 are
missing altogether - either not written in the first place, or
else they have gone missing. From September 1871 until March
1873 they are very scrappy, and thereafter there are none at all
for the next 10 years. Letters and reports to the "Pioneer" of
church activity and progress are non-existent as the church was
no longer a part of the body of Churches of Christ. I do not
know how long the order of excommunication remained in force,
but by the year 1881 it had been lifted and Dawson St was again
a part of the official Churches of Christ brotherhood.
The early years of the
excommunication would have probably been rather difficult for Charles and the church, as they were
isolated from any of the other churches and operating as a
"single unit". I guess that Charles would have found it
necessary to assume a much greater load of responsibility in
preaching and in the general running of the church - in addition
of course to his position as Head Master of the school.
So far as the activities of
1872 are concerned, however, we do get a small indication from the minutes. The church had
obviously received some communications from Melbourne, in an
endeavour to "show them their error" and lead them back into the
- A letter was received from "Bro King" outlining the
reasons as to why a letter from the Dawson St Church, sent for
the purpose of being published in the magazine the "Observer",
was not published.
From the Minutes -
A letter from Brother
Thomson of the Lygon Street Church requesting answers to the following questions -
1. Does the church in Dawson Street deny the
Eternity of punishment. Answer - No, but they deny the
Eternal Torment of the wicked. They believe that God will
destroy the wicked.
2. Does the church approve of Bro Martin and his
teaching by lectures the destruction of the wicked? Answer -
The above answers to be used by Bro Thomson publicly.
The letter from Bro Robertson
was then read and discussed and his questions answered
P.S. Bro Thomson to be
informed that his letter was answered through courtesy but that this meeting protest
against the action of Mr Hamill and his supporters towards
the Church meeting at Dawson Street, Ballarat.
May 1st - Bro Martin read a letter from Bro
Thomson of Lygon Street Church, Melbourne in answer to a
letter from Bro Martin requesting Bro Robertson's advice
about answering Bro Thomson's questions. Bro Robertson's
advice being that Bro Thomson's questions be not answered
after a great amount of discussion it was carried that Bro
Thomson's questions be answered it was then moved by Bro
McMaster and seconded by Bro Davey that as the officers of
the Dawson Street Church had been pestered with letters
asking questions on the subjects of Mr Hamill's action
towards the Brethren of Dawson Street that the Church of Christ meeting at
Lygon St Melbourne be informed
that the Officers of the Church of Christ Dawson St had
answered the said letters through courtesy but that from
this date, May 1st no notice be taken or information given
upon any subject unless sent through and by the authority of
the Church of Christ, Lygon St.
17th Dec - Education
Act Finally Passed -"Free, Compulsory, Secular".
17th, 1872, the "Education Act" was finally passed, which made
education in Victoria, free, compulsory and secular, and which
brought the Education Department into being. Although he
probably didn't realise it at the time, the Act was to have
great significance for Charles, and was to necessitate his
transfer from Ballarat at the beginning of 1876. He was later to
write, "I have been a great sufferer under the Education Act."
The average attendance for 1872 is listed as 107.
The school is listed as having one Head
Teacher, and two assistants, one of whom
has 2nd Honors (obviously Elizabeth). There are three pupil
Charles received an income from July to Dec of
£65 from salary and £104 from results
and fees making a total of L170 (i.e f340 for the year). For
Elizabeth, the total was £65 for the half year (i.e. £130 for
Charles net income for 1872 appears to have
been f354, and Elizabeth's £131
(figures stated in an Education Gazette in 1875).
24th April - To
Henry and Eleanor - a son Charles Judson (the father of Alan
Martin of Wantirna). This was the 9th and last child for Henry
and Eleanor. 7 are still alive and Hannah was to die as a child.
To Mary and William -
a daughter - Constance (6th child for Mary - 5 surviving).
To Louisa and James Crump at Castlemaine - a daughter - Melinda Dagmar (11th and last child, 9
of whom are surviving).
Thus, to the four
children of Charles and Frances, the following have been born -
Charles Henry - 8
children, 7 of whom have survived.
Hannah (Farr)- 11 children, 10 of whom have survived. Henry - 9
children, 7 survived.
Louisa (Crump)- 11 children, 9 survived.
Rules for Teachers 1872
1. Teachers each day will fill lamps, trim the wicks and clean
2. Each morning teacher will bring a bucket of
water and a scuttle of coal for the
3. Make your pens carefully. You may whittle
nibs to the individual taste of the
4. Men teachers may take one evening each week
for courting purposes, or two evenings
a week if they attend church regularly.
5. After ten hours in school, the teachers may
spend the remaining time reading the
Bible or any other good books.
6. Women teachers who marry or engage in
unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
7. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay
a goodly sum of his earnings for his
benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a
burden on society.
8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any
form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber
shop will give good reason to suspect
his worth, intention, integrity and honesty.
9. The teacher who performs his labour
faithfully and without fault for five
years will be given an increase of twenty-five pence per week in
his pay, providing the Board of Education approves.
Image of the
1st January - The
Education Act Becomes Law.
On. the 1st January,
the Education Act which had been passed a fortnight earlier, took effect. It had been debated and
opposed vigorously and bitterly for many years and was to be the
definitive act in Victorian Education. Its basic principles were
that education was to be free, compulsory and secular. Each one
of these principles had been opposed by various groups, and as
early as 1857, and again in 1868, similar acts had been
presented to parliament but had failed to gain approval.
The churches, of course,
opposed the "secular" aspect, stating that the system would be godless and even atheistic. However,
"secular' did not mean that religion could not be taught, as the
Bible could be used and general Christian principles and values
were regarded as highly important. It meant that ministers of
denominations could only take classes outside of school hours,
and only to those children who voluntarily agreed to stay (which
means those whose parents made them).
Others opposed the
"compulsory" requirement, on the grounds that it was an infringement of our rights and a restriction of our
freedom. Others, again, believed that it was maybe not a good
thing to educate all children. The compulsory requirement gave
the Education Department many headaches in the years to come, as
it had to be enforced and policed. This proved to be a difficult
task in a society where only about half the children had
attended school, and many parents resisted it strongly. It
eventually resulted in a large number of truant officers being
And of course, if education
was compulsory, it also had to be free, because if you are going to compel people to do something
you cannot therefore require them to pay for it. Those who
opposed the "free" aspect did so because of their belief that we
do not value anything that we get for nothing. (And incidentally
the "free" only applied to the basic subjects of reading,
writing and arithmetic, plus one or two others, such as
geography. School fees would still be charged for the other
Early in the year, Charles'
daughter Charlotte commenced teaching at the school as a "pupil teacher". She was 15 years of
age at the time.
Charles estimated income for July to Dec 73
was £95 from salary and J E30 from
fees, a total of £125. (i.e. £250 for the year, which was a
significant decrease from the previous year. I can't explain
this. Maybe the results hadn't yet been included, or perhaps it
was anticipated that they wouldn't be too good.)
The school numbers began to
climb, with the average attendance for the year being over 200.
The school is listed as
having 1 Head Teacher and 2 assistants, plus 3 Pupil Teachers (which obviously included Charlotte)
This no doubt made for a difficult job of teaching with an
average attendance of 242 pupils.
During August a room (or
rooms) at the German Lutheran Church was leased by the Education Department at a cost of £15 per
half year, to accommodate some of the overflow of students.
On the roll -
854. Average - 351. Greatest monthly average - 428.
In the two years prior to 1 874 the school numbers
jumped significantly, the average daily attendance rising from
111 to 351. In one particular month the average attendance was
428, so the school is now quite large. According to the official
history book of the Victorian Education. Department, the
enrollments in National Schools jumped rather dramatically
during 1873 after the Act was passed, as a combined result of
the closure of many denominational schools, and the change to
During this year, the school
was also conducted in two rented
buildings, one of which was the Lutheran Church hall, which was
initially leased to the Education Department for £30 per annum -
but which was to give Charles one or two head-aches later on.
with the Lutheran Church.
Some damage had been
done by the children and the Lutherans stated that it would cost £10 to fix it. They
refused to re-lease the building, unless the Education
Department paid the £10, and raised the lease price to £1 per
Mr Findlay the Public Works
Inspector, was called in to assess the situation. He said "Yes" the backs of the chairs were
broken by the children, but in any event they had been so weak
that a man could break them if he stretched his back. It would
cost £5 to fix them. The damage to the grounds is a myth. People
used it as a walkway in any event.
The Lutherans started
corresponding on July 29th. On September 12th they complained that there was as yet no reply. (I think
that Charles actually wrote this letter on their behalf).
October 1st - Oh No!
Trouble With Hobbledehoys!
To the Secretary, Education Department.
(And the report in the "Star" was as follows -
I have the
honor to inform you that I have lately been frequently annoyed by hobbledehoys, whose language is of the
foulest nature, assembling in the school reserve. When told
to move on they are most insolent, and tell me that as the
fence is now down, and it is government land, they will
remain. I have mentioned the matter to the police, who order
them off, but tell me that in the dilapidated condition of
the fence, I am almost helpless.
I desire to
know whether I shall be justified, if I give one in charge
of trespass. The state of the
reserve was referred to in Tuesday's "Star".
I have the honor
"There has been some talk
of the Doveton Street school, of which Mr Martin is the head teacher, being made into a
State model school, for the training of student teachers,
but nothing has yet been done. In the meantime the reserve gets more and more a
disgrace to the city and
the state proprietors. It was always an ugly unoccupied
waste, but it is now worse than ever, for it is a dirty bog
with the fencing falling to pieces, and in part carried
bodily away. The whole condition of the State school
accommodation in Ballarat West is defective, and the Board
of Advice seems either powerless or inactive. In the East
two fine new permanent schools have been procured, but not a
brick or stone is yet laid in the West. Why is this thus?")
still teaching at the school. In fact according to the staff
lists, Charlotte only joined the staff in 1874. Whenever she did
join, however, the staff lists record her as receiving a pupil
teachers' salary of £24.
To Hannah and Thomas Farr in Ballarat - a daughter - Millicent Caroline (11th and last
child - 10 surviving).
To Mary and William Davey in Ballarat - a daughter - Lucy Mabel (7th child - 6
No doubt during this
year the unwelcome clouds of change began gathering ominously on
Charles horizon. The school numbers
had risen dramatically over the past two or three years, and
early in the year a new school building costing £6,600 was
commenced in the playground of Charles' school - facing Dana
Street, and being built to accommodate over 1000 children. Three
or four schools were going to be combined into one., and it was
obvious that there would be keen competition among the Head
Masters to get the "Head Mastership" position, with at least two
losing out. Charles was keen to get the position and thought
that it should be granted to him, as it was in reality his
school. However, there were quite a number of applicants as well
as Charles, and much jostling to get the job.
Unfortunately, for this
year the correspondence is missing. However, the register of
inwards correspondence is still intact. This is a big book in which the details of letters
received by the Education Department were noted in summary form,
so we do get some idea of what happened during this time.
January - a memo
authorising the erection of a new school. February tenders
April 28 --Charles
asks if his action regarding Mr Williams conduct is correct.
(Maybe Charles had had an argument with Mr Williams).
May 5 - Mr Williams
replies to charge against him by Charles Martin. August 2 -
Charles complains of the rent being_ excessive.
September 27 -
Charles applies for leave for Elizabeth (This was the second
time for the year. Maybe Elizabeth is getting tired after all
these years of teaching. Or maybe this is related to her death
less than a year later. Or maybe she just had a bad cold.)
October 12 - Charles
submits a statement in favour of being retained in the present
October - Charles
applies on behalf of Charlotte Martin for two weeks leave.
November 1st - J.
Dennant applies for the Head Teachership. This was the first
letter to arrive applying for the position. By the end of the
year another eight applications had been received, plus at least
another three in January the following year.
November 23rd - The
Honorable J. Jones M.P. forwards a letter from the Head Master
remarking upon his position. (It appears that Charles had
approached the local Member of Parliament, who had a connection
with the school, and he had agreed to back Charles' attempt to
Also during this year, it
would appear that the practice of giving teachers their own personal teaching "assessment" commenced.
Charles received the following comment from the District
Inspector on the 4th October -
"Exhibits a want of energy in his management of
the school, and this fault seems to have spread through the
Not a very encouraging
report just at the time he is struggling to keep his position.
And so, as the year drew to
a close and the holidays commenced, no doubt Charles felt very uncertain as to his future. He
was obviously hoping desperately to hold on to his position, and
I'm not too sure as to whether he felt confident, or whether he
felt that he may have been fighting a losing battle. Whichever
way it was, he wasn't going to let go without a fight.
One Letter that Has Survived.
7th Jan. Charles asks
for instructions as Lutheran building has not beenre-leased.
the honor to ask what I am to do with the children when the
arrive on Monday morning. The
German Lutheran building has not been re-leased, and the
infants will fill the old school room.. Please reply by
A Telegram Was Sent as Reply -
"Can Martin have room
adjoining the old school room? Alterations required - or lease three weeks for
another building. "
Elizabeth. The girl is probably Mary and the photo taken about
1875, a year or so before Elizabeth's death.
(Charles 48, Elizabeth 39, Mary 6)
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5 May 2014