First South Australian SchoolPrint Page Print this page

A plaque erected by the South Australian Public Teachers' Union and Adelaide City Corporation commemorates the first school available for all classes of the community in South Australia.

The president of the South Australian Public Teachers' Union (Mr. I. G. Symons) announced at the Legacy Club luncheon today, that the union intended to erect a plaque to mark the site of the first school available for all classes of the community. The memorial will be erected on North terrace opposite Holy Trinity Church, near Morphett Street Bridge. This was being arranged in conjunction with the Historical Memorials Committee of the Royal Geographical Society, and with the assistance of the Adelaide City Council, he said. The council had agreed to provide and place in position a suitable obelisk to which the plaque would be affixed.

The foundations of education in South Australia were laid by five people, the most important of whom was John Banks Shepherdson, said Mr. Symons. Shepherdson was engaged as "Director of Schools" in the State by the South Australian School Society while in a training school of the British and Foreign Bible Society in England. He arrived at Kangaroo Island in 1837 and came to the mainland, and rented Gouger's tent for £1 a week for his family and that of W. B. Randell. He called a meeting in Trinity Church in January,1838 but Governor Hindmarsh refused to attend because several men with whom he was at variance were to be present. He was eventually persuaded to go and was reported to have said "Well, as Governor, I suppose I must countenance the thing but as Jack Hindmarsh I will do little."

Interesting facts about the early methods of teaching were given by Mr. Symons. It was recorded that at a school in a wooden building in the parklands opposite Trinity Church, 83 children were taught. Nine were learning the alphabet, six to spell and read words of two letters, others to spell words of two and three syllables, and so on. Eighteen were being taught to write on paper, and 65 on slate.
News (Adelaide, SA), 11 June 1936.


Address:North Terrace West, near Morphett Street bridge, Adelaide, 5000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.921712
Long: 138.593432
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Government


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 4th December, 1936
Front Inscription

Near this site the first school of the South Australian School Society was opened on 28 May 1838.

The first schoolmaster was John Banks Shepherdson.  The building afterwards house the first public library.

Erected by the South Australian Teachers Union and the Adelaide City Council 1936.


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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