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< Early Canberra Government Schools

Thornhurst School [1886 - 1902]

John Sparrow, Inn Keeper at the 'Elm Tree Inn' on the Queanbeyan - Bungendore road, submitted an application 'on behalf of residents' on 10 April 1886 for the establishment of a Provisional School at Thornhurst 'as the Brooks Hill Camp must close very soon owing to the completion of the railway cutting'. The parents who undertook to send children to the school were John Sparrow, John Harriot, Thomas Byron, Mrs H Lawless, Thomas Rogers, John Edward Dwyer, Henry Betham, Charles Saunders, Mrs Whelan and D. Sparrow.

The site proposed for the school was six miles from Bungendore and five miles from the school at Kowen, and near Sparrow's Elm Tree Inn. Inspector John Kevin reported favourably on the request in May 1886 and recommended that the tent that had housed the school at Brooks Hill, together with the furniture and materials, be removed 'one and a half miles' to a site closer to Queanbeyan on two acres of crown land. Removal to Thornhurst was carried out for the cost of £2, and the school was opened in June 1886 with Bridget Morgan as the first teacher.

By October the following year the parents were requesting a 'Larger and more suitable building' - "the present structure is composed of tent material and is wholly unsuitable having been in use for the last two or three years, and it not all suitable for inclement weather". The complaints were acknowledged and Inspector Kevin drew up specifications for a new wooden school room 'to be erected where the tent now stands'. He observed: 'As bricks are plentiful and cheap, anyone who wishes may tender to build with these instead of timber' (Memo 15.12.87)

In January 1888 the tender of J. Burton was accepted for a building 14 feet by 12 feet at a cost of £35. The Department of Lands dedicated two acres of land, Portion 156, Parish of Majura, County of Murray as the site for the school. Bridget Morgan received an appointment to another school in July 1889 and Inspector M Willis recommended that Thornhurst be converted to Half Time and worked with Black Creek School which had been closed through paucity of attendance. The school continued on a half-time basis until it was closed in November 1902" [based on L.Gillespie, 1999, p. 56]

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NSW Government schools from 1848

< Early Canberra Government Schools

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