1877- 78 Melbourne Training Institute
Charles Martin's home page

  1. 1877.
        1. 23rd December. Happy 50th Birthday Charles.
      1. 1878.
        1. 31/1/78 - Services as Senior Assistant Training Institute dispensed with 31st Jan. 1878 by order of Governor in Council -
        2. Temporarily Employed in Training Institution from 11th Feb 1878.
        3. April 1st. An Appeal by Charles for Permanency.


23rd July. His eldest son, Charles, married - to Sarah Ann Baker, at Nott St., Sand-ridge (Port Melbourne), by Frederick Illingworth, an Evangelist of the Church of Christ. I wonder if Charles senior and all the children attended the wedding. I'd have thought "Yes", but in view of the death certificate maybe the family hadn't caught up with the fact that Charles the son was alive yet. But I believe that they d have all been there. .
1st Sept. He received his "Teacher's Certificate of Competency". It states thus -

Department of Education.
Teachers Certificate of Competency.
This is to certify that
Charles Martin
Having been classified in the First Division of Competency under Act
CXLIX has been awarded a certificate of competency as provided in
Section XXI of the Act CCCCXLVII.
In order to enable the holder of this certificate to accumulate
evidence of his practical skill as a Teacher, provision is made at the
back hereof for the Inspector to record from year to year his opinion
of the said holder's ability and diligence in his profession.
Dated at Melbourne this First day of September, 1877.   

    I am not sure of the significance of this certificate.
Probably it has something to do with the change from the Common Schools to the new Education Department, whereby all those currently teaching were required to formalise their qualifications under the new regime, so it was just a matter of procedure. I have reproduced a copy of it here, but the actual certificate is considerably bigger than the photo-copy (over twice the size). It is on a clear parchment-type material, and the writing on the back is visible from the front (making it difficult to photo-copy).     Image of the Certificate
    In July of this year, a new principal took over at the Training Institute - a man by the name of Frederick Gladman. He had been brought over from England especially for the position. His appointment was to have implications for Charles the following year, as criticism of the Assistants (which had commenced earlier in the decade) was still forthcoming, and Mr Gladman, being a "new broom" decided to do some "sweeping clean'.
    On November 17th 1877, two fresh deacons were appointed at the Swanston Street church, Bro Martin being one of them. As he had already been chairing board meetings, I'm not sure how he how he had been doing so prior to becoming a member of the board.

23rd December. Happy 50th Birthday Charles.

On the 23rd December Charles celebrated his 50th birthday. Maybe there was a small family gathering: The previous two years had been filled with unhappiness and uncertainty, and with Elizabeth not there to share it with him, no doubt a certain sense of sadness still prevailed. And if Charles had a crystal ball and could see the next decade, he would have known that the rough times had only just started. Towards the end of his life he was to write that "man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward". No doubt he had the events of this decade in mind as he wrote.


30th Jan, 1878. In the church minutes it is recorded that on Jan 30th 1878, there was a "motion to give money to Widow Hamill (the evangelist) through the committee". Bro Martin and Bro Someone-else objected "on account of the constitution of the committee, with some of whom they declined to act."
    However, Charles residual antipathy towards his old opponent Brother Hamill, no doubt faded into insignificance the next day when he received a communication from the Education Department. He got the sack -

31/1/78 - Services as Senior Assistant Training Institute dispensed with 31st Jan. 1878 by order of Governor in Council -

"I recommend His Excellency the Governor in Council in pursuance of the powers conferred on him by the fifth section of the Education Act 1872 (Act No 447) to dispense with the services of the undermentioned officers.
    Charles Martin - Senior Assistant, Training Institute, Melbourne
    John Wilton - Junior Assistant, Training Institute, Melbourne."                        Image of Letter
    At the beginning of 1878, the Victorian atmosphere was heavy with the rumour of severe government cutbacks, and the spectre of sackings and dismissals was haunting many public servants. Expenditure on Education had blown out in the last five years from L200,000 to 1700,000, owing to the added burden imposed by taking over the denominational schools, and by the requirement that education be "free", and "compulsory" (less money from fees and more pupils to teach). A large part of this expense was teachers' salaries. There was much public brawling in government, including a row between the Premier and the Minister for Education. Some action was imminent
    On Wednesday 9th January, known as Black Wednesday, the volcano erupted and the government sacked 137 senior public servants, and hundreds of others
    A fortnight later, on Thursday 24th January (Black Thursday) the Education Department was hit, when nine inspectors were sacked (inc uding the chief inspector, and most of those who in previous years had inspected Charles). In addition, 53 coroners, 30 police magistrates, and a number of others were given their marching orders. In this atmosphere, and with all the controversy and complaint which had surrounded the content of instruction and the competence of the instructors at the Training Institute, n0 doubt Charles, along with many others, was wondering just how secure his job might be.
    And so, the dreaded tap on the shoulder occurred for him on 31st January, 1878, in the form of the letter written by the Minister of Education to the Governor, and Charles was summarily dismissed from his position, and his salary was stopped. The letter was written on a Thursday, and either delivered that same day or the one following.. No doubt Charles was quite devastated on the week-end. Maybe on the Monday he made some attempts to persuade someone in authority to reconsider their decision. Whatever the case may be, somebody somewhere must have had a change of heart, as on Tuesday 5th February a letter was forwarded to him offering him temporary employment in the Training Institute, at a reduced salary from £350 to £300. He immediately replied as follows -
Carlton, Feb., 5th.
    I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this day inquiring whether I am willing to accept temporary employment in the Training Institute at a salary of £300 per annum and to inform you that I am.                    Image of Letter
    The next day (Wednesday 6th) he reported to Mr Gladman and commenced work. The bureaucrats were apparently a little slow in catching up with this fact, and after receiving his letter they wrote back to him on Saturday 9th and instructed him to report himself to Mr Gladman on Monday morning (11th), and they notified Mr Gladman of their decision. (The public servants must have worked on Saturday in those days, and the mail service must have been very efficient, as the letter was written on the Saturday morning, posted, and delivered the same day.)
    On the morning of Monday 11th, Charles, letter in hand, again presented himself to Mr Gladman, who wrote to the secretary of the Education Depart­ment -
    I beg to inform you that Mr C. Martin has this morning shown me a letter in which he is directed to report himself to me today. Mr Martin resumed his old duties in the institute on Wednesday last, 6th Inst, in consequence of the communication he received on Tuesday evening the 5th Inst.
Image of Letter
    There was a memo attached to this letter stating that Mr Martin should be paid from the 6th, but I don't think that this happened as the ten days are deducted from his official service record, which also states that his re-employment commenced on the 11th.

Temporarily Employed in Training Institution from 11th Feb 1878.

    Some light is thrown on this time in an official history book of the Melbourne Teachers' College entitled "The Melbourne Teacher Training Colleges" by Don Garden. Charles receives a couple of rather unflattering mentions. In a paragraph discussing the two senior assistants, we read -
"Charles Hearle, the Senior Assistant, was a university graduate and a former teacher at Melbourne Grammar. John Wilton was the Junior Assistant. It was the teaching of these two men which came under attack in the mid-1870's. Though Hearle died in January 1876, shortly before the main furore, his replacement, a Mr Martin, was considered little better. Wilton and Martin were removed in 1878. "
Then, this further comment, -
"On top of the earlier complaints made in 1876, Smith received a number of letters from students critical of the teaching ability of the Assistants. Smith decided to act. During the purge of the Public Service which followed Black Wednesday, he dismissed the Department's Inspectors, and on 31 January used the opportunity to dismiss the two College Assistants, Martin and Wilton. What happened thereafter is unclear, but Martin was first reinstated in February and then, later in the year, both he and Wilton were replaced by two 'highly-recommended' men. Also, the staff was soon after increased to three Assistants - Joseph Baldwin, Mr Fearney, and Thomas HurIey.

April 1st. An Appeal by Charles for Permanency.

    On 1st April, Charles wrote the following letter appealing for his position to be made permanent -
I have the honor to request you to place the following statement before the Honorable, the Minister of Public Instruction.
1. I have been 23 years in the service.
2. My late wife and myself had charge of the Central State School, Ballarat, nineteen years, and during our long service no complaint was lodged against either of us.
3. When the school was enlarged, I was removed from it, contrary to my wish, and contrary to the expressed request of the inhabitants of the City of Ballarat.
4. The published report of the Honorable the Minister shows that my net income for 1872 was £354/4/8d and that of my wife £131/16/3d; Total £486/0/1 1d. Also that the income provided for me for 1875 was £345/0/7d and that of my wife £147/4/10d - total £492/5/5d. The amounts do not include the bonuses for Pupil Teachers.
5. In addition to this, in 1872, I had a free house, and further, when the Honorable the Minister determined to charge teachers rent for residences I protested against this, since I had expended not less than E500 on the school premises, and on that account, I was charged only a nominal rental.
6. In January 1876, I was appointed First Assistant in the Training In­stitution at a salary of £350 per annum.
7. When I applied for transit expenses, my application was not granted on the plea that my "removal was a promotion".
8. I was assured by Mr Venables, that when ever the promise of Parliament, to classify teachers according to the Civil Service Act, is carried out, I should not be a sufferer by my removal, as an appointment in the Training Institute would always be considered equal to that of a Head Teacher.
9. When I accepted the appointment, I did so in good faith, which I have reason to believe was reciprocated by Messrs Venables and Brown, the .Secretary and Inspector General at that time, that I should not be further reduced.
10. I received no portion of the compensation granted by Parliament to teachers, who had sustained loss through the passing of the present act, on the ground that my loss did not exceed 10%; although taking into account the heavy item of house rent in Melbourne, this award was not a just one.
11. On the 31st January, I was summarily dismissed.
12. On the 5th February, I was offered temporary employment in the Training Institution at a reduction of £50 per annum.
13. In reference to a newspaper rumour, that the teaching in the Institute has been defective, t desire to point out that so far as the subjects intrusted to me (Latin and Mathematics) are concerned, the result of the half yearly examinations does not warrant the statement. R fair proportion of the students has always passed and at the last examination, all passed in Latin and only one failed in Mathematics.
14. I therefore respectfully request that my temporary appointment be declared permanent, and that I be paid from 1st February at the same rate as heretofore.
    I have the honor to be, Sir,
    Your most obedient servant, C.Martin.
Image of Letter   
    However, as with all his requests, Charles was refused as the following memo records -
"Inform Mr Martin that it is the intention of the minister to appoint him to charge of a school at the first suitable opportunity."
    So Charles was dismissed from his position in a general shake-up, because of the perception (rightly or wrongly) that those filling the position of Assistant had been ineffective. On Monday, May 6th his employment there was suddenly terminated, and the "suitable" appointment promised to him had not yet eventuated. However, even if officialdom had pronounced its verdict of "ineffective" upon him, he nevertheless had won respect from the trainee teachers. On the day he left, no doubt at a hastily convened farewell function, he was presented with a certificate in beautiful hand­writing. The certificate reads -
Melbourne, May 6th, 1878.
Charles Martin, Esquire.
Dear Sir,
    We, the undersigned students in the Central Training Institution, Melbourne, learning that your connection with us is about to be severed, desire to express our sincere regret at your removal from the position which you have held for several years.
    In doing so, we may state that during our experience with you, you have always assisted us to the best of your ability, and thereby gained the esteem of all.
    In conclusion we wish you health and prosperity in whatever sphere of labour you may be placed.
        We remain,
            Yours truly - Signed on behalf of students - (and here there are eight signatures)".
    This document provides one little bright spot in the unrelieved profess­ional gloom that was to descend upon him in the next few years, and I'm sure must have cheered him up somewhat when he took it out and had a look at it.It is also quite an interesting indication of how the "ordinary person", as opposed to officialdom, may have regarded him, and for the sake of history it is fortunate that somehow it has been preserved down to the present day. Image of Document. It also adds some weight to a statement which he was to make in a letter to the Education Department a few months later in which he said -
    "My position in the Training Institute was given as an equivalent for my situation in Ballarat, and I confidently appeal to the passes obtained by the students in the subjects intrusted to me for a reply to any charge that may have been made against me, but which I have not been allowed to see.
    I have reason to believe that the present Superintendent, and the teachers in training at the time of my removal would have preferred me to Mr Hurley."
    That evening, as Charles walked home from his last day at the college with the certificate in his hand he no doubt felt somewhat betrayed and quite crushed by the turn of events. He had settled himself in quite comfortably to his job of lecturing, and had enjoyed a certain amount of respect and rapport with the students. The numbing grief which he had felt at the death of Elizabeth two years ago had subsided somewhat and was not as all pervading as it had been when the event first happened. He had come to terms with it to a certain degree, but nevertheless he still longed for her and life was still a daily struggle without colour or sparkle. Now, for the time being, he was out of work, with no income and a growing family of six to provide for. Worrying times indeed. All he knew was that a position "somewhere" would be offered to him "sometime" in the future. Nothing to do but go home and hope and pray for the future, over which he now had no control.

    (NOTE - When he left Melbourne for Port Fairy, Charles retained his membership at Swanston St, not relinquishing it until 1885 when he rejoined the Ballarat church, although by this time he was actually residing in Casterton)
    Other members of the Martin family are on the records at Swanston Street. His eldest son Charles, with his first wife, was a member there from about 1881 until he left for the South Melbourne Church on 27th March, 1885 (address given as Bay St, Sandridge).
    Charlotte, his eldest daughter, was admitted to membership on 26th June, 1883, presumably the time at which she left Port Fairy after being instrumental in founding the Church of Christ there with her husband, and settled in Melbourne
    There is also a record of a Frank Martin, who was admitted by "confession and baptism" on 30th September, 1883, and is recorded as living at Graham St, Sandridge (the street at which his eldest brother Charles lived) and who later left and is recorded as being married, occupation clerk, and residing at Hawthorn. This is almost certainly Charles' son, Francis, who at the time of the baptism would have been 16 years of age, and who apparently came to Melbourne to live after his father moved from Port Fairy to Casterton.)

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