Glen Innes history: Tent Hill opens its busy little school

Tent Hill School: Proved to be a busy school with many activities.
Tent Hill School: Proved to be a busy school with many activities.

“In November 1880, John Reid (Wesleyan) manager of the smelting works, T. Mackenzie (Presbyterian) and George McTavish (Church of England), foreman of the smelting works, and George Stanford (Church of England), an employee of the smelter, applied for a Public School at Glen (Smelting Works) at Tent Hill for 37 pupils; 19 boys and 18 girls...” from  Graham Wilson’s, Tent Hill School, in his series of histories of the  now closed country schools in the Severn Shire.

Others to sign the application (with religion stated) included men of the Dormer, Petersen, Stonebridge, Stanford, Freinden, Schumacher, Cassidy, Davidson, Crane, Watts, Reid, Brennan, Connolly families and  Hannah Law.

The first headmaster was Walter James May and the school was established near the Glen Smelting Works and until April 1943 known as “The Glen School”.

James May’s journey to Tent Hill involved taking a steamer from Sydney to Newcastle, train to Tamworth and a coach to Vegetable Creek, for which he billed the government £8/13/- in expenses.

...she managed the first class of two divisions to my entire satisfaction and without doubt is of great value to the school.

His school on two acres of portion 590 on the “Wellington Vale Run”, was not finished until July 1884 and his residence consisted of four rooms and a kitchen.

The pupil teacher, Miss Ethel Ellis, was praised by her superior Edward George Wilson in 1885...

“...she managed the first class of two divisions to my entire satisfaction and without doubt is of great value to the school.”

And, as to her conduct: “As far as I know, her leisure time is spent either in doing private work or in some healthy exercise.”

The fencing of the school grounds in October 1888 was carried out by a Mr Oates at a cost of £57 and Christian Scherf worked on additions to the classroom in 1895.

The P & C annual report in 1937 showed a very active school: “a large ground map of Armidale composed of gravel was used for geography purposes.

“Trees were planted throughout the school; wood was provided by the parents for school heating, a school branch of the Junior Red Cross was conducted under the supervision of Mrs Tindale, and the Gould League of Bird Lovers held full membership.”

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