2 months ago

Fitzgerald's Town


Presbyterian congregation, the latter contributing liberally to the laden table 3 . After tea the minister spoke, often of the advantages of training in a “Sabbath School”, and the Superintendent reported on progress made by the school during the last twelve months. Once, every child in the district was invited to the annual treat of the Unsectarian Sunday School, resulting in a happy and fun-filled treat for them 4 . Following tea, pupils would entertain with sacred poems and hymns, and afterwards prizes, usually books, were distributed. As one would expect, the books presented were of an uplifting nature such as those presented in the late 1880’s to William Topham of the Presbyterian Sunday School, bearing the titles “The Boyhood of Martin Luther” and “The Paradise of the North, A Story of Adventure Around the North Pole”. At these Sunday school treats the function often ended with reports and lengthy talks by incumbent and visiting clergy. These were obviously intended for the adults present, but one wonders whether the children were expected to sit through them all - surely a bore which must have taken some of the shine from their day! Indeed, one newspaper report noted that at an anniversary tea two men spoke at such length that it was difficult to maintain concentration, especially for the children 5 . The tea meetings were generally well attended and in 1873 more than 200 people, including 90 children, turned up for the annual celebration of the Unsectarian Sunday School. The children were fed first and then played whilst their parents had tea, but they must have attended the business meeting which followed for the children entertained with songs and recitations of a religious nature. A tea meeting, not a church function, was held at Broadfield to farewell Samuel Dening Glyde who was leaving New Zealand to join his brother in South Australia. He was clerk and surveyor to both the Lincoln and Springs Road Boards and was well known to most residents in the area for his interests went far beyond his official duties. Amongst other matters he worked hard to improve farming practice by supporting the formation of the Lincoln Farmers’ Club, and was active in organising the popular ploughing competitions. A further reason for the meeting was to celebrate the completion of the Broadfield School, a project which Mr. Glyde, as first chairman of the school committee, enthusiastically supported. This was a popular event and people came from miles around despite the inconvenience of wet weather and muddy roads 6 . After tea the formalities began. Mr. Glyde was presented with an illuminated address by the Broadfield school committee and with an annotated bible from the children of Springston and 146

Broadfield schools. In his response he emphasised the importance of education and warned against allowing clerical interference in schools, for in his experience the admission of a minister into a school was likely to cause dissension. Whether or not religious instruction should be part of the school curriculum was a topic of considerable interest at the time and it is clear where Glyde’s sympathies lay. Proceedings finished with songs, readings, and a talk about Adelaide, to which city the Glyde family was moving. School picnics School picnics were always an occasion for a good day out. On one occasion the children of Broadfield, Lincoln and Prebbleton schools, together with local folk, were invited to a picnic at Newlands, the residence of A.C. Knight near Ladbrooks. Despite a wet morning a great number of people accepted the invitation to Newlands where the crowd entertained themselves by playing cricket and other sports, for which Mrs Knight provided prizes. On another occasion the Lincoln school was invited to hold its picnic at Lansdowne, the home of W.E. Stafford, former premier of New Zealand. This was another popular outing which required thirteen traps and Moffat’s (the miller) large wagon to carry the children and their parents to the destination. There the day passed happily in dancing, races, and other sports, and the children twice entertained with song, with credit to themselves and to their teachers. 7 After 1875 the school committees were able to take advantage of the railway to travel further afield for the annual picnic. Thus in 1877 children of Lincoln, Prebbleton and Springfield schools travelled to Lyttelton by train and then took a launch for their picnic at Corsair Bay. A special train was used in 1881 when a picnic was held at Birdlings Flat for pupils of Lincoln and other local schools. The day was a busy and exciting one. There was a cricket match against the Little River school, boating on Lake Forsyth, athletics, and a search for the site of Seaforth, a sub-division now known as Birdlings Flat. The day ended for the Lincoln children with “a lavish distribution of lollies, biscuits etc.” when the train arrived at Lincoln station at about 7 pm 8 . It is interesting to note that the return journey began at 5.30 pm, an indication that the local trains were as slow as it was claimed they were. 147

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