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Public School, Moonta
Title : Public School, Moonta Public School, Moonta View More Images
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Source : B 8254
Date of creation : 1932
Format : Photograph
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

School children outside Public School, Moonta. Opened February 2 1878 by Hon. A. Blyth. First headmaster, Edward M. Pearce

Prior to the opening of the Moonta Model School in 1877, children in Moonta had received their education from any of a number of small private schools, some of which were good and others indifferent. Then with the passing of the South Australian Education Act of 1875 it became compulsory for children between the ages of seven and 13 years to attend school. At the same time the government's Council of Education began the lengthy process of building schools and also of examining and supervising the private schools some of which were closed down. The Moonta Model School was built in 1877, opened for students in October of the same year, and officially opened 4 February 1878 by Hon. Neville Blyth, Minister of Education. The Moonta Mines Model School opened the following year. Secondary schooling was provided at Moonta from 1907 operating from a classroom at the Primary(Model) School, continuing there until a separate high school was opened in 1910. Then in 1978 the Moonta Primary School and the Moonta High School were disestablshed and Moonta Area School established in their place.

Writing in The People's Weekly in October 1920 Uda Maw recalls school days at Moonta School. He recalls some of the words at the opening ceremony '... this new structure which is opened today will accomodate with ease 800 pupils and if the necessity should arise 1000 can be taught within its walls.' Uda adds that the school at the Mines was opened the following year. He also notes that before these new school buildings were opened there were 'several small [schools] in the district ... (including East Moonta) four, if not more, at Moonta Mines, and two or three elsewhere. Some adjoining chapels and others mud built.' He then continues with his recollections of lessons, the recitation to the teacher of a previously marked and memorised passage from a grammar, history, geography or spelling book. He recalls also that these books were written by Wickes. Copies of these are in the State Library's collection.

Coverage year : 1932
Place : Moonta
Region : Yorke Peninsula
Further reading :

Moonta Primary School, 1878-1978: a centenary history of education at Moonta Primary School and in the Moonta area compiled by Travis Pinson ... [et al] Moonta, S.A.: [Moonta Primary School], 1978

Pryor, Oswald Australia's little Cornwall Adelaide, [S. Aust.]: Rigby, 1962

Wickes, Edward Walter A brief outline of english grammar: adapted for Australian beginners Adelaide: D. Gall, 1872

Wickes, Edward Walter A brief outline of the history of England: adapted for Australian beginners [Adelaide : Gall Ptr., 1875]

Geography for Australian beginners: with notices of Australian discovery and exploration, sacred geography and maps compiled by E.W. Wickes Adelaide: Gall & Sheridan, 1875

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