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Colvin, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Anne Colvin was born on I January 1863 at Hardwicke, five miles from Yass, NSW. The birth was certified by her father George Colvin, a gardener, by his marked 'X', and a Mrs Grieves. Elizabeth was the first of six children.

Her initial appointment as a teacher by the Council of Education was to New Line School (Tarago) in 1879, some seventy miles from home. She signed a 'Declaration as to Public Schools Act and Regulations, Provisional Schools, No 2084' on 9 August 1879, in the presence of James Brierly. She was sixteen years old at that time and was ranked IIIC.

In a letter to the Department of Public Instruction in September 1894 she explained that an indifferent report by the School Inspector was due in part to an influx of children of fettlers working on construction of the railway to Bungendore: "These children were very dull and required that extra attention be given them".

She taught at New Line from June 1879 to November 1884 when she was 'removed' (ie transferred) to Stone Hut School. The school building there was a 'dilapidated hovel', but it was not long before agitation for a new building was successful.

"In August 1885, Elizabeth wrote to the Department to notify them that the new building was ready and asked permission to move in.

Describing the appalling conditions she said:'The weather here during the past few days has been intensely cold and wet and I am suffering from neuralgia and a severe cold caused by the damp floor and draughts in the old school house'. A few days later she received a reply instructing her to move in after the building had been properly inspected" [Grandpa's Story' p.82].

The new school was located close by, but on the opposite side of the Canberra-Yass road in what is now North Lyneham.

Some time during 1885 Elizabeth evidently got to know John Evans, then teacher at Springbank, some ten miles south, on the banks of the Molonglo River. When they decided to marry she resigned as a teacher, as required, in December 1885. She and John Evans were married at Hardwicke on 6 January 1886, by which time Evans had successfully applied for a transfer to a school with a residence attached, and was transferred to Menindee, on the banks of the Darling .

[information and photos courtesy Shirley Dean, the author of 'Grandpa's Story. The story of John Evans 1853-1951, author published, 2014]


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