1876 The Shift From Ballarat
Charles Martin's home page

  1. 1876.The Shift From Ballarat.
        1. A Traumatic and Difficult Decade Begins.
        2. 10th January - The Petition Commenced - The "Courier" Reports
      1. 28th January - TWO FAREWELLS.
        2. Farewelled by the Church at Dawson St.
      2. 31st January. New School Opened.
        1. 1. The Reaction of the Catholic Bishop.
        2. 2 The Saga To Raise Money For The Children's Picnic.
        3. 3. Mr Armstrong.
      4. 1/2/76 - Senior Assistant, Training Institution
        1. The Training Institute - Some Background.
        2. From the Education Department Correspondence (1876)

1876.The Shift From Ballarat.

A Traumatic and Difficult Decade Begins.

    The year commenced with Charles still in charge of his school - even though there were a number of others breathing down his neck with at least twelve applications for the position. The sequence of events is relatively clear. On 30th December a letter was written to him offering him a position at the Training Institute in Melbourne, and on the 7th January he replied accepting this position. However, the opening date for the new Dana Street School had been set for 31st January, and in this three week period Charles, and others on his behalf, engaged in some quite strenuous efforts for his retention at Ballarat.
    So far as the records are concerned, it is a pity that the actual correspondence for this period is missing. We can, however, build up a reasonably clear picture of events, firstly from a number of news items and letters published in the Ballarat newspapers, and secondly from the "Register of Inwards Correspondence" of the Education Department. This was a large book, and as letters were received at central office in Melbourne, the date of receipt was recorded, plus a summary of the contents of the letter.
30th December - Letter forwarded to Charles offering him a position as "First Assistant" at the "Training Institution" in Melbourne (forerunner to the Melbourne Teachers College). The position had become vacant as a result of the death of Mr Hearle.
5th January - Charles writes to the department, calling attention to improvements made to the residence, and requesting compensation for expenditure.
6th January - A news item is published in the "Ballarat Star" giving details of the opening of two new schools in Ballarat Dana Street and Humffray Street. As the article is fairly lengthy I will not reproduce it here, but it gives quite a lot of detail regarding the new building and some of the background to the situation. In regards to the "head mastership" of the Dana Street School it states -
    "It is not yet known who will obtain the head mastership of the school, but rumour has been very busy lately with the names of several well-known schoolmasters. Still, as nothing definite can be reported, it would be unfair to mention the names of the gentlemen who are known to be desirous of occupying the premier position. "
7th January - Charles replied to the "Training Institution", accepting the position as "First Assistant".
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 30th Ulto inquiring whether I am willing to accept the position of First Assistant in the Central Training Institution, and to inform you that although my wish has been to remain in the position that I have filled for so many years, and that my removal from this place will cause me serious inconvenience and loss, yet I am willing to accept the offer of the Honorable the Minister of Public Instruction.
    I have the honor to ask whether any allowance will be made towards the expense of removal to Melbourne.
    Respecting Mrs Martin, she is by this change to be deprived of her employment, but after twenty years incessant teaching, she is not at present anxious for a fresh appointment, and trusts that she will not, by this change in our position, lose any advantage that may be secured to teachers by the anticipated New Civil Service Act.
        I have the honor to be,
        Your most obedient servant,
        C.Martin, Head Teacher.
                    Image of Letter 

letter produced the following memo -

1. Mr Martin will not be prepared to commence duty until 1st Feb.
2. No expenses. The appointment is promotion.
    Teachers who were forced to transfer as result of the recent changes were guaranteed that if their salary drop was more than 10% they would be recompensed accordingly. Charles suffered a slight fall, but as it was less than the 10% figure, he didn't qualify.
    He also wrote on Friday the 7th on a more pressing matter -
    I have the honor to ask what I am to do with the children, when they arrive on Monday morning.
    The German Lutheran building has not been released, and the infants will fill the old school room.
    Please reply by electric telegram.
And on the 8th he wrote again on a more practical matter (i.e. money), seeking re-imbursement for 6 items of improvement to the teacher's house
    I have the honor to direct your attention to the following improvements made by me in this dwelling house -
        Bath - £5.16.9
        Carpenter's work - 17.3
        Wardrobe - £5.11.0
        Drain - £3.15.0
        Laying on Water - £3.3.0.
        Register stove - £2.10.
    The Department is now using my drain and water pipe, the supply and discharge pipes of the urinal being connected with them. The bath and wardrobe have improved the value of the house, and as the Minister now charges rent, an increased sum may be obtained for it. There are also an oven and a small cedar cupboard.
    I trust that you will take these items into your favourable consideration and make me some compensation for the expenditure.
        Image of Letter

8th January
- From "The Ballarat Star".

"As to the opening of the new State schools in Humffray and Dana streets, it appears unlikely that the Humffray street one will be opened with any ceremony, but the Minister of Education is expected to be present at the Dana Street school, which will probably be opened at the beginning of next month. Mr Martin, we hear, has accepted an appointment in the Melbourne Training School. He is one of the old pioneers of Ballarat, and will carry away with him the good wishes of a host of old friends here"

10th January - The Petition Commenced - The "Courier" Reports

    "Mr Martin, the head-master of State-school No 33, Ballarat, has received instructions to leave Ballarat in order to become first assistant-master of the training school, Melbourne. Mr Martin has been teaching in Ballarat for twenty-one years, and the report of his departure is, therefore, much regretted by a large number of families. A petition to the Minister of Instruction will be got up during the week, asking that Mr Martin may remain where he has so long resided, and where his usefulness is warmly appreciated."
11th January - From the "Ballarat Star".
"A petition to the Education Department praying that Mr Martin, of the Doveton street State School, may be retained in Ballarat, was being numerously signed on Monday, but as Mr Martin has accepted a new appointment under the department, it is hardly likely the petition will be of much avail. It has been stated that Mr Oldham has been or is likely to be appointed to the new State school in Dana Street, but nothing has yet been done, nor is likely to be done, for a week or two yet in the matter of that appointment. All that is at present known is, that seeing that Mr Martin has accepted another appointment, Mr Oldham's chances for the Dana street appointment are in the first rank. The emoluments of the head mastership of the Dana street school are estimated at about £500 a year.
11th January - From the Ballarat "Courier".
    "The petition to the Minister of Instruction, asking that Mr Martin may remain at the head of State-school No 33, Ballarat, and to which we referred in yesterday's "Courier" was taken round the town yesterday for signature. A large number of signatures (200) were attached to it before night, the promoters meeting with scarcely a refusal. We may state that no person has been appointed to succeed Mr Martin, and that in the event of Mr Martin being removed, the vacancy will not be filled by any other teacher at present in Ballarat. "
12th January - A letter was received by the Education Department from J. MacGowan requesting that a time may be approved to receive a deputation from a committee in relation to Mr Martin s removal from Ballarat. J. MacGowan was a member of both the Dana Street School Committee and the Dawson Street Church, being a loyal friend and supporter of Charles.
13th January - From the "Ballarat Star".
"The petition to the hon. the Minister of Education for the retention of Mr Charles Martin as teacher in State school No 33, has already been signed by nearly 500 of the principal citizens in the city, and these are receiving substantial additions daily. Mr Martin first opened this school some twenty years ago, having been in government employment for some seven or eight years previously, and it is natural that his friends should not only wish to keep him in Ballarat, but to see him appointed to the new school."
14th January - From the "Courier".
"Over 700 names have been attached to the memorial praying the retention in Ballarat of Mr Martin, of the Doveton street school. It is proposed to increase the number of signatures to 1000, and to send a deputation to present the petition to the Minister of Education. The secretary of the movement has written to request that a day may be named for the presentation. "
14th January - From the "Ballarat Star". A letter is published from someone who signs himself "Justice", in opposition to the petition circulating Ballarat in favour of Charles.
To the Editor of the Star.
    Sir. - I would venture to ask you to allow me to trespass on your valuable space with a few remarks regarding the action taken by Mr Martin and his friends as to the appointment at the Central School. Let it be understood that I am sorry to say anything that may hurt Mr Martin's feelings, but his action - or rather, perhaps, that of his friends - does not appear straitforward and on reflection he will doubtless regret the course he has taken. As a matter of fair play to Mr Oldham, and the other teachers who may be thought eligible for this important situation, the following facts should be known, as the public may otherwise be misled: - Mr Martin has, it is true, been long at the head of the school in Doveton street, but though having the best and most central position, he has never had so large a school as Mr Oldham, nor has he succeeded so well in gaining the confidence of parents or produced better results. The certificates he holds are inferior to Mr Oldham's, as he gained his honors under the old system, when, as every teacher knows, the examination was very much easier than under the new (under which Mr Oldham passed. When the new school is opened, the Wesleyan School in Dana street, and the Roman Catholic school in Dawson street, will be closed, and both Mr Oldham and Mr Spring have as much right to have their claims considered as Mr Martin, for the school about to be opened is a new school to take the place of three schools - not of Mr Martin's alone. Mr Martin was offered and has accepted an appointment in Melbourne much better than the one he now holds here. His friends get up a petition, requesting that Mr Martin may be kept in Ballarat, not, however stating as master of the new school. This petition is signed by many who merely consider that they are doing a goodnatured thing in trying to further Mr Martin's wish to remain in Ballarat, but who would never have signed such a petition had they thought that Mr Martin was aiming at the post of head teacher of the new school, and that they would thus be working against Mr Oldham and Mr Spring (this has been admitted by several who signed); but Mr Martin's friends have, through the papers, now shown what their real object was, though they dared not openly avow it. It is generally said that the two gentlemen who have got up this petition are under great obligations to Mr Martin. The origin of the movement is sectarian, as the said two gentlemen both belong to the denomination of which Mr Martin is the head in Ballarat. One of them is a member of the Ballarat West Board of Advice, and I think, it will be admitted that a person holding that position should not take such steps to endeavour to procure the promotion of a teacher at the expense of others. If Mr Oldham choose to get up a like petition, it is undoubted that he could obtain many more signatures than Mr Martin, but it is a step he would never take. He leaves the department to judge of their respective merits (knowing that they are the only competent judges), and there is little fear of their being influenced by such a proceeding as Mr Martin's, but the public, as before said, might be misled. Mr Martin has not the shadow of a grievance; he has got promotion and a position quite equal to his merits. It is a pity that he should have stooped to any underhand proceeding.
                Yours etc, JUSTICE.
(NOTE - Although this letter was obviously written by someone in opposition to Charles, it is nevertheless very interesting, and it appears to me that the writer has made a number of telling points and has revealed quite a deal of background information about Charles and the situation. His point about the teaching qualification carries no real weight (in my opinion), but some of the other points that he makes were no doubt quite valid in the situation as it was at that time.)

15th January
- From the "Ballarat Star".

    "We are informed that when Mr Martin entered upon his duties as head-master of the Dana street School, 20 years ago, there was a debt upon the building of f300, which Mr Martin has paid out of his own private purse, and has also paid one-half of all expenses for school repairs and improvements as well as furniture, including also the fencing of the reserve. The holders of the petitions met with many who had been scholars of Mr Martin's 16 or 17 years ago, whose children are now attending his school, and they much regret his contemplated removal. His school room has always been well-filled, and lately far too much over crowded. Mr Martin's qualifications and ability as a teacher are recognised by the department in offering him an appointment in the Training Institute in Melbourne."
15th January - "From the "Courier".
    "The committee in connection with Mr Martin's retention in Ballarat, viz Mr J. W. Gray, J.P., Mr Henry Costin, J.P., Mr John Davey, Mr James Curtis, and Mr J.T.MacGowan, met last night; Mr John Davey in the chair. It was reported that the petition still continued to be largely signed, numbers expressing themselves very strongly in favor of Mr Martin. The following gentlemen, namely, Messrs Gray, Davey, Curtis and MacGowan, were selected to wait upon the Minister of Education and present the petition. We are informed that when Mr Martin entered upon his duties as head master of the Dana street school,. twenty years ago, there was a debt upon the building of f300 which Mr Martin has paid out of his own private purse. He has also paid one half of all expenses for school requisites, including furniture and the fencing of the reserve. The holders of the petition met with many who had been scholars of Mr Martins sixteen or seventeen years ago, and whose children are now attending his school, and they much regret his contemplated removal. His schoolroom has always been much filled, and latterly the scholars were much inconvenienced by overcrowding. Mr Martin's qualifications and ability as a teacher are recognised by the department, as shown by it offering him an appointment in the Training Institute in Melbourne."
19th January - Another letter to the "Ballarat Star".
To the Editor of the Star.
    Sir, - 1 think it is very injudicious for the friends of Mr Martin and Mr Oldham to be taking the steps they are at the present time, rushing into print and getting up petitions in favour of their respective candidates, thus trying to take the appointment out of the hands of those best able to judge of a teacher's fitness for the position. On looking over the educational reports for some years I find that neither of the above gentlemen have ever got very high percentages, from 55 to 60 being the usual numbers - seldom above the latter - whereas I know of other teachers in the district who have for years obtained from 85 to 90, and the very best reports from their inspectors, and one, at least, whose claims are in no way inferior to those mentioned, and in whose favour I could, I venture to say, get 7500 or 2000 signatures in the course of a day or two. But we do not intend to take any such informal steps, being content to leave the matter to an impartial tribune, the Education Department, believing that the best and the one most likely to make the school a success will be selected. Yours etc,
                    " NO FAVOUR"
21st January. Petition presented to the Minister.
    On Friday, 21st January, the petition was presented to the Minister for Education, and the following report appeared next day in the "Star".
    "A deputation composed of Mr J.W.Gray, Mr John Davey, Mr MacGowan, and Mr James Curtis, was introduced this (Friday) afternoon by the Hon C.J. Jenner, M.L.C., to the Minister of Education, for the purpose of inducing that gentleman to retain the services of Mr Charles Martin as a State schoolmaster at Ballarat.
    In introducing the deputation, Mr Jenner stated that from a communication that had been received it was apparently the intention of the department to remove Mr Martin from his present position, namely., master of No 33 School, at the junction of Dana and Doveton streets, Ballarat, and appoint him to a position in the Central Training Institute. This, he said, was against the wishes of not only the parents of the pupils now attending Mr Martin's school, but was antagonistic to the wishes of the most influential inhabitants of Ballarat. He spoke confidently of the abilities of Mr Martin after nearly twenty years acquaintance, and trusted that the wishes of those who so were so deeply interested in the matter would receive every consideration at the hands of the department.
    Mr Gray then presented a petition embodying the views of over one thousand persons, and whose signatures were attached, to the like effect; and read from a paper a number of reasons why the services of Mr Martin should be retained, amongst them being that when he first took possession of the school there was a debt of £300 existing, which he had liquidated out of his private resources, and for which he had received no remuneration whatever beyond a slight reduction in rent charges. Mr Gray, in the course of his remarks said that no complaint had ever been made against either Mr or Mrs Martin; on the contrary they had given the greatest of satisfaction, and were well spoken of by every person in Ballarat with whom they had been brought in contact as school teachers. They both held departmental certificates, and if the intended alteration was carried out Mr Martin's salary would not be increased, however much his status in the service might be raised, for with the expense of a residence in Melbourne and no particular inducement held out to Mrs Mar­tin, he would be placed rather at a disadvantage than otherwise.
    Mr MacGowan followed, and said the feeling largely existed in Ballarat in favor of the retention of the services of Mr and Mrs Martin. The inhabitants there saw no reason why they should be removed, and if the department wish to offer Mr Martin promotion it could be done by giving him the charge of the new State school, a position which he was peculiarly fitted for, as must be evident from the manner in which his services have been hitherto appreciated.
    Mr Davey said the petition, although numerously signed, would have been signed by three times the number of persons if they had been asked, for both parties were so well known and so highly re­spected. He said it would be looked upon as a local calamity if they were removed from the district.
    Mr Ramsay, in reply to the remarks made, said he was fully impressed with the importance attached to securing the services of first class teachers in the colony, but at the same time he wished it to be understood that he would set his face against anything like political influence being brought to bear on questions affecting the positions of teachers. In this instance, however, seeing that the petition was so largely and influentially signed, he would confer with the officers of the department and the Inspector-general, and see if anything could be done to alter the decision likely to be arrived at. He might state that nothing definite had been done in the matter as yet, but in a few days after giving it due consideration he trusted to arrive at a decision that would give satisfaction to all the parties concerned.
    Mr Jenner said that in introducing the deputation he had no desire to give it any political significance; for after many years acquaintance with Mr and Mrs Martin he was confident in stating that not only were the parents of the pupils anxious that their ser­vices should be retained, but the bulk of the merchants, traders and leading citizens were of the same opinion. Mr Ramsay said he was confident that Mr Jenner had no desire to bring his political influence to bear on a question of this character; but, as the representatives of the Press were present, he wished his opinions to be perfectly understood by school-teachers and their friends. After a few remarks from Mr Curtis with the same object in view, the deputation retired, after thanking Mr Ramsay for his courtesy.
22nd January - A letter was received by the Education Department from J. Oldham, the other main candidate for the position of head master for the new school, remarking on "the matter of the petition in favour of retention of Mr Martin". It is a pity that we do not have the text of this letter, but Mr Oldham is obviously drawing to the attention of the department some of the facts mentioned by"Justice" in his letter to the "Ballarat Star", and possibly also pressing his own claims for the position.

23rd January - J. MacGowan forwards to the Education Department a supplementary list of names to be added to the petition for retention of Mr Martin.

23rd January - The "Courier".
    "We have the best reasons for knowing that the head mastership of the new state-school No 33, Dana St, was offered on Thursday to Mr Lennon, the master of the central State-school, Geelong, and that, after 24 hours consideration, the offer was declined by that gentleman. This shows the correctness of our original statement, that no appointment had been made to No 33 when the petition with reference to Mr Martin was drafted and signed."
24th January - The School Committee (the Board of Advice) states in a letter to the department that it "has not in any way interfered in the matter of Mr Martin's retention". There was also a note in the "Courier" -
    "It is stated in Saturday's "Argus" that the deputation which waited on the hon, the Minister' of Education on the previous day, with reference to Mr Martin and State-school No 33, emanated from the City Board of Advice. We are asked to state that the deputation had no connection whatever with that body."
25th January - The "Courier".
"We hear that the mastership of State-school No 33 has been offered to Mr James. Smith, the present master of the Emerald Hill State school. "
25th January (approx) - Education Department Memo; Appointment of Mr Armstrong.
    It would appear that on the 24th Mr Armstrong was offered the position and given two hours to make up his mind, as he is reported in his speech on the opening day of the school as saying that he had had but two hours notice of his appointment.
    So after all the jostling and to-ing and fro-ing, on about the 25th January Charles knew that he had lost the battle, and Mr Armstrong was appointed. The competition had been so intense and the interest so widespread that the teacher of a nearby school (Bakery Hill) wrote to the Department requesting them to certify that he had NOT applied for Headteachership of the new school.
    All this correspondence and newspaper reports are very interesting, indicating as they do that, despite the indifferent report which he had received from the Inspector late in the year, Charles had excellent support, and that many of the parents of his school hoped that he would be enabled to stay. It is obviously these incidents to which Charles was referring when he wrote some time later in a letter to the Department -"I was removed despite the expressed request of the citizens of Ballarat that I be retained." It may also be asked why it was that Charles wasn't retained, in view of the strong popular support which he obviously enjoyed, as expressed by the petition and deputation to the minister. There is, of course, no indication anywhere in the correspondence, so we can only speculate. It is possible that the authorities believed that neither Charles, nor the other two Ballarat men, were up to the job. It is also possible that they deliberately chose an outsider to avoid controversy and ill-feeling .

25th January
(approx) - Charles writes that his daughter will remain in Ballarat.

26th January. The "Courier" Announces the New Appointment
    The head mastership of State School No 33 is at length settled. Yesterday, Mr Ross, correspondent to the Board of Advice, received the following telegram from the assistant secretary of the Educ­ation Department: - "Mr R.A.Armstrong has been appointed head teacher of the new State-school at Ballarat". Mr Armstrong is at present stationed at Richmond, where his qualifications as a school teacher are spoken of very highly.".

28th January - TWO FAREWELLS.


    Friday the 28th dawned hot and clear. It was to be a sad day for Charles and Elizabeth - the day of the closure of the school which had been their centre of activity and work for nineteen years. A church farewell was also on their agenda. A report appeared in the "Star":
    The State school No 33, which has been under the head mastership of Mr Martin for the last nineteen years, was finally closed on Friday, as from that time henceforward the children will assemble at the new school, No 33, Dana street, and of which the formal opening will take place on Monday next, 31st January. Prior to the dismissal of the children, Mr Whitehead, chairman of the local Board of Advice, with Mr MacGowan, who was also present, made a short speech. He alluded to the formal opening of the new State school, and said that Mr Spring, who had been appointed assistant thereto, had been applied to for a donation in aid of the funds required for the opening treat to the children, to which appeal he gave a direct refusal. Mr Martin, who, on that day concluded his labors in the school, had given a handsome cheque towards defraying the necessary expenses. He hoped that at nine o'clock on Monday morning he should see every child in his or her respective places and looking and behaving in a manner that would be alike creditable to themselves and the school.
    He then called for three hearty cheers for Mr and Mrs Martin, which were heartily, and in many instances, tearfully given. Mr Martin briefly responded, thanking them heartily. "It might be they were glad to be rid of him, " but he took another view of the matter, and was sincerely thankful for this expression of their regret to himself and Mrs Martin.,
    Mr John C. Corlett, pupil teacher, in conjunction with the Misses Harriet Sturley and Mary Jones, then presented a handsomely engrossed address, of which the following is a copy -
    To Charles Martin, Esq, late headmaster of State school No 33, Ballarat. Dear Sir, I have the honor, by direction of this school, No 33, to convey to you and your family the following copy of a resolution unanimously agreed to at a meeting of your pupils held on the 24th inst., and respectfully to request your accept­ance of the same: -
    'On the eve of your departure from Ballarat, as pupils attending your school, and in consideration of the benefits which we as well as our predecessors have derived from the zeal, perseverance, and ability which you have always displayed in discharging your duties as head master of State school No 33 dur­ing the last nineteen years, we feel called upon respectfully to present to you our best thanks for your kindness and attention to us in the past and good wishes for your welfare in the future. It is with feelings of deep regret that we have to part from you, knowing so well the value of such an able master.'
    Wishing you success in your new undertaking, and long life and happiness to yourself, Mrs Martin and family, I am, dear Sir, yours very truly and affectionately, JOHN C. CORLETT.
    With the above was presented an inkstand of silver, gold pen, etc, and bearing a suitable inscription, indicative of esteem and respect. A handsome glass vase of flowers was presented to Mrs Martin, with numerous minor tokens of esteem from scholars. Mr Martin briefly but feelingly replied, and the school was dismissed, the children taking an affectionate, and in many cases a tearful, farewell. "

Farewelled by the Church at Dawson St.

     At a farewell function, apparently on the same day, but possibly on the week-end, Charles was presented with an alabaster clock on an oval wooden base, covered with a fine glass dome. This clock is in my possession, being a family heirloom. Up until recently it still kept good time.
The inscription on the clock reads as follows -
    "Presented to Mr and Mrs Chas Martin by the members of the Church of Christ, Dawson St, on their departure from Ballarat as a token of their love and esteem and in remembrance of the many years of Christ­ian fellowship they have enjoyed together, as well as in recognition of Brother Martin's faithful and devoted services as pastor. January 28th, 1876."
    I suppose the farewell was a very serious and solemn occasion, with lots of prayers and speeches and giving thanks to God. All the kids would have been done up in their best clothes (if they had any best clothes in those days - I guess they did), and warned to be on their best behaviour. No doubt they had a good afternoon tea. Newspaper articles tell us that the weather was very hot, as it can be in Ballarat in late January.
    Nathan Spielvogel, Ballarat historian and a later pupil and Head Master at Dana St school recorded this remembrance of Charles -"One of his well remembered customs was that if a boy was to be whacked, another boy could volunteer and take his punishment for him". Not difficult to discern some Christian theology behind this.
    At the time of leaving, Charles was 48 years of age, and Elizabeth was 39. Their children at home ranged in age from Charlotte 18, Leonard 13, Albert 11, Francis 8, Mary 6 and Fred 4. Apparently Charlotte planned to stay in Ballarat. Religion of course played a most important role in his life and would have been central in his upbringing of his family.

31st January. New School Opened.

    On Monday the 31st January, with much pomp and ceremony, the new Dana Street School was opened. A lengthy report of the occasion was published in the "Ballarat Star'.
    "Early on the morning of Monday 31st January noticeable preparations were to be seen in ail parts of the city in the shape of girls and boys attired in holiday garb for the due celebration of the above important event in their young life's history. On the platform at the railway terminus, and awaiting the arrival of the first train from Melbourne, were the Worshipful the Mayor, and many other dignitaries. The Hon, Mr Ramsay, the Minister of Education, and also Mr Armstrong the newly appointed headmaster to the above mentioned school, arrived by train and were driven off at once to the Royal Hotel for breakfast. At eleven o'clock, the children attending the State schools in the city, assembled to the number of one thousand and five at the new building and having been classified and their positions in the school indicated to them, took their seats and awaited the arrival of the minister, who in a short time was driven up to the door. After a short walk through the somewhat crowded building, Mr Martin, late head teacher, briefly introduced the minister.
    Mr Ramsay, addressing the ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, stated that he had had the honor of being a member of the government that first introduced the matter of free, secular, and compulsory education. The educational movement was becoming wider and wider, deeper and deeper, every day, and must continue until every branch of the tree of knowledge had brought forth its harvest abundantly . The movement had been copied by other countries. Victoria had set an example to the world, and even those who, for the sake of consistency, were originally opposed to the movement, had changed, or rather, modified, their views. He was pleased to see the fine building, and assemblage of healthy and well-dressed children, and alluded to the deep anxiety he had felt in the appointment of a head teacher for them. He had been guided in the selection simply by the earnest desire to have the very best man in such an important position, and the selection was not to be considered in any way a reflection on the local teachers, but the contrary; they were removed to other scenes of labor, and in removal had secured promotion.".
    Then followed other fine speeches and ceremony, after which the children were taken to the gardens for an afternoon picnic, and the minister spent the day inspecting other educational institutions in Ballarat.
    Shortly thereafter Charles and his family would have headed off for Melbourne - possibly even that same day on an afternoon train, as his new appointment started the following day on the 1st February. I wonder how they got on transporting the clock, and that glass dome. (My wife managed to drop it moving under much more favourable conditions 100 years later). The next twelve years, the years of his fifties, were to be traumatic, difficult and unhappy in the extreme for Charles. Of course, he wasn't to know this as he reluctantly headed off to Melbourne and the future, disgruntled because his transfer had been forced upon him, and probably somewhat apprehensive at the thought of a new position after being in the one place for nineteen years.

Nearly three years later, after another enforced move, Charles wrote of his
transfer and the new head master thus -

    I have spent nearly a quarter of a century in the service, and have been a great sufferer through the present Education Act.
    I had charge of the Central School, Ballarat for 19 years, and gave universal satisfaction to the parents and guardians.
    Notwithstanding this, I was removed and a gentleman with a lower classification, who has handed over the teaching of his trainees to his 1st Assistant, was sent in my stead.
    My position in the Training Institute was given as an equivalent for my situation in Ballarat.
    In little more than two years, I have twice been put to the expense of breaking up my home, and traveling a long journey with my family.


As I researched this interesting period of time in January 1876 I came across some fascinating little sidelights . I will pass them on to you.

1. The Reaction of the Catholic Bishop.

    On the hot January afternoon when the children of the two Dana Street Schools were bidding tearful farewells to their head masters, Mr Martin and Mr Oldham, the story at the Catholic School in Dawson Street was vastly different. The three newspapers each recorded the events - they speak for themselves.
  a. The "Evening Post".
    "Where will intolerance end? To-day being the last occasion upon which the children meet separately in the State schools at Ballarat, the Bishop and the Dean made it convenient to wait upon Mr Spring, at the Roman Catholic State school - if we may be allowed the term. These two reverend gentlemen first pointed out to the teachers the enormity of the offence which they were about to commit in accepting lucrative appointments under the Government to impart secular instruction; all the horrors likely to follow this diabolical course were vividly depicted, and denunciation ad nausieam was poured upon their devout heads. Then the little children were taken in hand. They were ordered never to set foot inside the doors of the abominable State school; they were admonished, cautioned, and threatened in terms, and then the order was issued to smash up a little testimonial which they had purchased as a mark of the kindly esteem in which they held their head teacher, Mr Spring. We do not want to ask awkward questions but we should like to know the difference between this action and tyrannical religious intolerance.
b. The "Ballarat Star".
    "On Friday, that being the last day on which the children in the state schools occupied their respective buildings prior to the general merging into one on Monday next, on the opening of the new Dana Street state school, No 33; Bishop O'Connor and the Very Rev Dean Moore were present at the school, presided over by Mr and Mrs Spring, and cautioned the children against attending the State school and denounced those teachers who had accepted appointments under the government. A present from the children to their teachers was forbidden to be presented in public, but will most probably reach those to whom it was intended as a mark of esteem and respect by private hands. "
c. The "Courier".
    "It seems we were wrong in stating yesterday morning that in consequence of the arrangements made with reference to State-school No 33, the Catholic school in Sturt street will be closed on and after Monday. There is no intention whatever of closing this school, which will be carried on as usual.
    Mr Spring, late headmaster of St Patrick's school, has been appointed first assistant in the Central State school, No 33, and Mrs Spring third assistant, but it is not known whether or no these appoint­ments will be accepted. The children of St Patrick's wished to present an address and testimonial to Mr and Mrs Spring before they left the school with which they have been so long connected, but they were not allowed to do this by the Very Rev. Deane Moore. The rev. gentleman's action in this matter appears to arise from Mr Spring and his wife receiving appointments in the State school. The testimonial and address, however, were last evening presented to Mr and Mrs Spring at their house by the children."

2 The Saga To Raise Money For The Children's Picnic.

    It was decided that it would be a good idea to have a picnic in the Botanical gardens on the day of the opening of the new school. However, where to raise the money for 1400 children to enjoy themselves proved to be quite a headache.

25th Jan - The "Star".
    "A deputation of the City Board of Advice waited upon the council yesterday, requesting a donation of £50 towards entertaining the Minister of Education, and giving a picnic to the children, on Monday next, to commemorate the opening of the Dana and Dawson streets State-school. Mayor Smith moved that £20 be given towards the object, but this was opposed by other councilors, and the motion was lost.
Friday, 28th Jan - The Evening Post.
    "The Ballarat Board of Advice have communicated with Mr R.A. Armstrong, the new head teacher of the Dana Street state school, in order to ascertain if he will aid in the proposed demonstration at the opening of the school, but as yet have received no reply. Mr Spring, the first assistant, at a salary of £350 per annum, has refused to subscribe a single penny.
Saturday, 29th Jan - The "Star".
    "The idea of any demonstration at the opening of the school on Mon­day has been abandoned, as not sufficient funds are available for the purpose. The money already collected, amounting to some £12, will be returned, but if anything like enough money be collected today a picnic on the gardens will be given to the children. The newly appointed head master Mr G. Armstrong of Richmond, and Mr Spring, of the Catholic school in Sturt street, have declined to give anything towards providing a day's outing for their future pupils, and so these latter may have to content themselves with getting a holiday on Monday. "
Saturday 29th Jan - The "Evening Post".
    Mr Armstrong has signalised his appointment to one of the most luc­rative posts in the gift of the education department, by a positive refusal to assist in the proposed demonstration at the opening of the Dana street State school. As a consequence of this and similar refusals in other quarters the fete of the children will not take place. Mr Armstrong telegraphs - "Can accept no responsibility nor incur any liability for demonstration." In what strong contrast to this is the conduct of the head teacher of the Humffray Street school, Mr E.J. Rosenblum?"
Saturday 29th - The "Star".
    "Mr MacGowan made a short speech. He alluded to the formal opening of the new State School, and said that Mr Spring, who had been appointed assistant thereto, had been applied to for a donation in aid of the funds required for the opening treat to the children, to which appeal he gave a direct refusal. Mr Martin, who, on that day concluded his labors in the school, had given a handsome cheque towards defraying the necessary expenses."
Courier - 31st - Reporting a Meeting held on Saturday Evening.
"It had been determined on Friday to let the picnic for the children fall through as no money could be obtained for the purpose, but on Saturday evening Messrs Turner and Diggles waited on Mr Whitehead, the Chairman of the Board of Advice, in the matter. They promised to collect some money for the required purpose, and in a short time over £3 was subscribed by various persons. The money seeming to be so easily obtained, Mr Whitehead thought that the remainder of the necessary sum could be raised on Monday by collection, and it was determined to give the children a picnic. Some 1400 have been provided for."
So all's well that ends well.

3. Mr Armstrong.

    Mr Armstrong appears to have been quite a character. Nathan Spielvogel, a pupil at the school in those days, speaks of him in his reminiscences -
    "Mr Armstrong was unique. A strict disciplinarian but with a keen sense of humor. He had a swift left hand and a strong left arm. Many a frosty morning he chased the whole thousand of us round and round the yard, and woe to any legs that didn't get out of his way. And I remember the fierce tug of wars on the asphalt and our great headmaster running along and encouraging all those who faltered in the struggle.
    Once a month the boys, about four hundred strong, would be marched in parade through the city. First would come our noble head, bearded, bell-topped and frock-coated. Then would come our fife and drum band, all in uniform, playing a marching air, and then came the small army swaggering along very proudly. Sometimes we would be marched past Humffray street school then known as Rosenblum's. Then the band played defiantly, then we tramped our loudest as if in challenge, for you must know that Humffray street and Dana street were mortal enemies.
    Every Friday morning the school would assemble on the asphalt and Mr Armstrong would give us a long exhortation. I do not remember what these sermons were about, but they must have been interesting, for there were always crowds of folk hanging over the fence listening to him. I remember one morning a man interjected some remark. Our master boomed something at him. The man replied. Mr Armstrong rushed to the gate. The man bolted. There was a chase. The next thing we saw was our mighty head master drawing him back to the assembly ground. There before us all he gave him a dozen mighty whacks with his cane and then using his boot with great effect sent him a whipped cur out of the gate.
I doubt if Charles could have competed with that.

1/2/76 - Senior Assistant, Training Institution

    Charles' appointment at the Training Institute commenced on Tuesday, February 1st, the day after the big opening ceremony at Ballarat. It is quite possible that he was required to catch the afternoon train, and be in Melbourne the next morning in order to start his duties.

The Training Institute - Some Background.

    At this time, very few teachers attended training colleges, as most served an "apprenticeship" by becoming student teachers (known as "pupil teachers") under the supervision of experienced teachers. The Pupil Teachers themselves were often quite young (12 years of age) and had not received much more education than some of the children they were teaching. Thus, much of their teacher training consisted of their own education.
    The thought or idea of a teachers' college was not well accepted, and few elected to enter, in view of the expense involved, and the fact that they would not be able to earn a salary for the time spent at the college (plus the fact that there was no certainty of a job once they finished).
    During the 1870's, in addition to the principal, the Training Institute had two Assistants, and some "special" teachers (I'm not sure of their role - possibly they operated at the level of classroom teaching in the model or training school). The first Assistant was Charles Hearle, and the Second Assistant was John Wilton. The work of these two men came under attack in the mid-1870's. Some former students wrote letters to the "Argus" newspaper criticising the Institute, and complained that -
    "the staff did little actual teaching but relied heavily upon simply reading to the trainees from text-books or requiring the trainees to read them. The teaching is so poor and infrequent that the trainees could do better by teaching themselves while still earning salaries"
    One writer concluded by stating -
"1 have no hesitation in stating that the attendance of the students at the Training Institution at present is nothing more than a solemn farce, so far as any teaching - except from the special teachers - is concerned. "
    In fact the Minister of Education was to criticise in Parliament the extremely academic and theoretical emphasis of the Institute -
"If a training institution be a place where a lot of young men and women go to be crammed with a little algebra, Euclid, history, Latin, and French, and also a little English literature, then we have a training institution. But I hold that that is not what is meant by a training institution. What I understand as a training institution is an institution where teachers go to learn all the art of their profession, practically, theoretically and philosophically - where they go to be trained m the art of teaching. The Training Institution Is at present like a man with one eye, and that the theoretical eye, while a practical one would be far better.
    Hearle, the First Assistant, died in December 1875, his death coming at an opportune time for Charles and he was able to transfer into the resultant vacancy. He was, however, entering into a situation which was already ex­periencing many difficulties.
    Charles took up his duties at the Training Institution on 1st February. No doubt he felt somewhat strange at first, but I think he would have settled in reasonably quickly, and my belief is that the work would have suited him very well, as he was academically minded himself and highly literate. He taught, or lectured, in Latin and Mathematics. Working with students at a Teachers' College level would, I think, be more suitable for him than with primary school children.
    He rented a house in Cardigan Street, Carlton, at No 4 Earnbank Terrace. This was quite close to his place of work as I guess was necessary in those days. As it was also near the centre of Melbourne, the rental was quite high, a fact to which he refers in one of his letters to the Education Department. I do know which school the children attended - nor even if the older children attended any school. His eldest son Charles had of course left home some years earlier and was living in Melbourne (unless he was in Sydney); Charlotte stayed in Ballarat at least for six months.
    So far as church affiliation in Melbourne is concerned, Charles linked up with the Swanston Street Church of Christ. A search through the old records there contains no mention of him or Elizabeth for the year 1876, hut by June 1877 he is recorded as chairing a board meeting, and from then on his name occurs from time to time in the minutes and other records.
The following is also recorded in the official history of the Swanston Street Church -
    'A Mutual Improvement Society was first mentioned in the 1871 minutes. It was established to promote the intellectual moral and social culture of the young people. Talents in reading, elocution and public speaking were developed by means of essays, debates, speech­es and mutual criticism. Mr C. Martin, a schoolmaster, was the first president of the society. Weekly meetings were held for some years in the homes of members, and later in the church hall. Many showed great improvement and became acceptable public speakers. Occasional public demonstrations were held."
    In general, the emphasis of the Mutual Improvement Society seemed (to me) to be very much on Christian topics -,such as Bible debates, etc. One note in the minutes of 1877 says that - "Bro Martin then on behalf of the Mutual Improvement Class asked if the church would give their countenance to a weekly meeting for prayer and the study of the word, which was agreed to. "

From the Education Department Correspondence (1876)

February 4th - Charles was granted re-imbursement for some of the items about which he'd written earlier (drain, laying on of water, stove). Mr Findlay, Public Works Inspector, was asked for his opinion. He wrote - " I consider that taken altogether there is fair value for the sum charged".

February 22
- But compensation was refused for bath and wardrobe, so Charles wrote -

    I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yes­terday declining to allow compensation for a bath and wardrobe placed in the teacher's residence at State School No 33, and to request that the voucher relating to these items may be returned, and also to ask whether you have any objection to my removing the bath and wardrobe from the premises.
                Image of Letter   

was given permission to remove the bath and wardrobe, but Mr Armstrong back at Dana Street wasn't too happy about it, so Charles wrote again to the Department on March 1 1.

    I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 9th inst, granting me permission to remove a bath and wardrobe from the teacher's residence attached to School No 33, and to request that you will intimate to the Head Teacher of that school that I have this authority.
               Image of Letter   

    Mr Armstrong was "intimated to" that Charles had the authority to remove
the bath and basin, but he still wasn't at all happy about this and wrote a long letter of complaint, stating that the removal of the bath will give a problem with the pipes connected to it, and that the wardrobe is really a semi attached fitting. In fact, Mr Armstrong wasn't very impressed with the condition of the residence, and demanded many repairs and alterations which were eventually granted to him. But no doubt Charles was able to remove the bath and the wardrobe, as permission had been given to him. So at least he won that small round

March 25th - Charlotte wrote asking for an assistantship. This letter has not survived, but as this was at Dana Street School it indicates that she remained in Ballarat when the rest of the family left.

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