The Queens Orphan Asylum, Newtown, ca. 1868
Colonial Office photographic collection, The National Archives (TNA), CO 1069/621
Published in The Courier (Hobart), 28 January 1853
A VISIT TO THE QUEEN’S ORPHAN SCHOOL.
(From our own Reporter.)
28th January, 1853.
In obedience to your instructions, I yesterday visited the Queen’s Orphan School, and examined thoroughly the buildings, the rules and regulations under which it is conducted, and their practical effect upon the children at present pupils there. Before I detail at what conclusion I arrived from my inspection, both with regard to the wisdom of the regulations of the school and the manner in which they are carried out, I shall state briefly your reasons, as you detailed them to me, for choosing me for this service. You said, “As education is become one of the most important subjects for consideration in the colony, we wish a thorough examination to be made of the different Government schools, and a fair and impartial account given of them to the public: you, having but just arrived in the colony, without partialities or prejudices, knowing scarcely the names of the chief persons here, will be more likely to carry out our object than a longer resident; and your having given the subject of education much study, and observed the different systems in use in England, France, Prussia, and the other Australasian Colonies, will enable you to see clearly if our system is efficient, and likely to be of such benefit to the colony as its inhabitants require.”
All your readers may not be aware that there are but three systems of primary education now recognised in the United Kingdom; they are the Denominational, the British and Foreign, and the National or Irish. The first is that system which collects the children of each denomination, and gives them both a religious and secular education, each of these schools being under the especial patronage of a ministers of its own denomination. The second, or British and Foreign system, permits children of all sects to be educated together, but insists upon the Bible being read every day without comment of any kind; and the last, or National system, holds out secular instruction to children of all denominations, leaving that of religion to the ministers of each creed, who are encouraged to visit the school, and who are invited to take certain hours of the week for the purpose of imparting religious instruction. There are many objections to each of these systems. The Denominational, if at all, is only practicable in populous cities, where there are a large number of children belonging to each sect. In the Australasian colonies, where the population is scattered, such a system has been found to be perfectly useless. The British and Foreign is very objectionable to the Roman Catholics, — a very important and influential body in these colonies, permitting, as it does, the whole of the Bible to be read: it is likewise judged unwise, by most denominations, to put the Bible into the hands of young children, and give them no explanations by which they may comprehend its contents. The national, or Irish system, originated by the present Lord Derby, when Secretary for Ireland, is undoubtedly the only one at all adapted to communities where there are many sects, and where there is no State religion: it gives an excellent secular education, combined with a religious one, at certain hours, under the auspices of ministers of every creed which may have any followers in the school: it is plastic too in its nature, for should all the children be of one denomination (which sometimes happens), religion may be inculcated in school-hours. This system is famous for the excellent books which it has sent out into the world, and which are now used, not merely in national schools, but in seminaries professing to impart a much higher order of education than any government school does. Another, and not the least, excellence in the national system, is its bringing together in daily friendship children of different religions, and thus destroying, it is hoped, the worst of all unchristian feelings — those of bigotry.
These short explanations will probably bring before the minds of your readers the comparative merits of the systems of education patronised by different governments, and will make them comprehend the interesting debates upon this important subject which are at present taking up so much of the attention and time of the Legislative Councils of Sydney and of Melbourne.
It is unnecessary for me to describe the healthy situation, or the beauty and picturesqueness, of the Queen’s Orphan Schools. The building is divided into three departments, and contains schools for males, females, and infants: in front are well cultivated gardens, at present containing an excellent stock of vegetables; behind the boys’ department is a large play-ground, with a full-rigged mast to teach the children gymnastics, and which, I am happy to learn, has as yet caused no accident. As health is, or ought to be, the first consideration, I asked to see the dormitories, and was shown three fine large rooms, — one for the Protestants, another for the Roman Catholics, and the third I understood for an emergency, such as the over-crowding of the other two. The sides of each of these rooms are divided by a rail into five compartments, each compartment containing eight hammocks, thus allowing eighty children to sleep in a dormitory. The room appeared to me to be about 50 feet long, 20 wide, and 20 high; thus giving, at a rough calculation, 12 square feet 6 inches of air to each child, hardly sufficient I think. One counteracting effect to the unhealthiness of so many children sleeping closely together is the excellent ventilation of the room, the greater part of the top being composed of windows which are kept open all day; in addition to these windows, there are two patent ventilators in each dormitory. Tho good effect of this thorough ventilation is assisted by the perfect cleanliness which characterises the whole building. It is an old boast among thrifty housewives, that you might eat your dinner off their floors; and I must do the Superintendent of the Orphan Schools the justice to say, that I have never seen tables whiter, or more beautifully clean, than every floor which I saw yesterday. The children sleep in hammocks, having for the use of each two blankets and a rug. At half-past 5 a.m. each child folds up his bedding, and lays them aside ready for the night. There are monitors or curators appointed, who are responsible for these wholesome regulations being well carried out. When the children leave the dormitories in the morning they are locked, and no one is admitted to enter them before night — a very wise measure, as they are thus always fresh by the sleeping time.
I next visited the school-rooms. They are under the dormitories, and of precisely the same size. The middle of the room contains about twenty long desks. At the end of the room is a dais 2 feet in height. Upon this dais are the two master’s desks and a large black board: the room is hung round with maps, and there are rows of green baize dropping from the ceiling, I presume to concentrate sound. The chief characteristic of this apartment, like all the others, is cleanliness and neatness. I could suggest but one improvement, which was, that the floor ought to have been raised upon a gently inclined plane; then the master would be better able to see any improper conduct or want of attention on the part of the scholars, and the latter would be better able to see the masters when receiving lessons from them.
Adjoining the large school-room is a small classroom, in which the more advanced boys are taught higher subjects: the sides of this room are hung round with plans and pictures, explanatory of easy rules in natural philosophy. In the school-room, I inspected some copy-books which were lying by chance on one of the desks, and I must say, if they are fair specimens of the writing class, considering the age of the children, they do great credit to the institution.
I next inspected the dining room, a fine apartment, about which I shall say nothing, except that it was as clean and orderly as could have been wished. From thence I made my way to the kitchen, and tasted the bread, made on the premises, from the flour commonly known as 20 per cent, flour, that is, I understand, flour adulterated 20 per cent. The bread is certainly much better than most working people at home can afford to buy, and good enough for any person. The meat, which I saw, was not so good; the mutton was tolerable, the beef decidedly innutritious. In leaving the kitchen, I passed through the lavatories. The water is brought into the apartment, and continually flows into a kind of wooden tank lined with zinc, something in the shape of a long horse trough, and the children come every morning to wash. Round the lavatory hang numerous jack-towels.
I have now minutely and correctly described every thing that I saw, and you may depend upon the accuracy of the description, with the slight exceptions I have mentioned, I considered the school a great credit to its founder, patrons, and superintendents.
I will now state what I could learn of the management and general habits of the school. First, as to the observances of religion, it seems that the school recognises but two religions in its pupils, namely, the Church of England and the Roman Catholic. There are, accordingly, two chaplains, — one a clergy-man of the Church of England, the other a Roman Catholic priest, who attend to the spiritual wants of the children. There are also two masters and two mistresses, the higher ones being Protestants and the assistants being Roman Catholics. At 8.30 A.M. the Protestant children proceed to the chapel where prayers are read by the clergyman, who attends daily for that purpose; the Roman Catholics are assembled in one of the school-rooms, and their morning worship is performed by the Roman Catholic master. On Wednesday each week the whole day is given up to religious instruction, each creed being taught in different rooms by its own particular minister.
As the aim of the institution is to make good and useful citizens of its young inmates, there is an industrial school attached. At certain hours of the day every child is obliged to practise some trade or calling. This plan serves a double purpose — it teaches children a useful and remunerative calling, and at the same time enables them to make and repair their own clothes and grow their own produce. To each of the agriculturists, who are deserving, a small piece of ground is allotted, which they are permitted to cultivate, and to sell what they can produce from it. The Industrial master keeps their accounts for them, giving them every now and then a little pocket money, and he buys them seed, &c.; many of the boys make £3 per annum by their industry.
The diet of the children per diem is 1lb of flour, ¼lb meat, soup, vegetables, and on every Sunday a pudding; this is of course is apportioned out differently to children of different ages. Each child has two perfect suits of clothes and four pairs of excellent boots per annum. The daily routine of the work of the boys is as follows:- The bell rings at 5.40 a.m., when each child folds up its bedding; they then descend to the lavatory, and at 7 a.m. are inspected by the master and matron, to see if they are properly dressed and cleaned; at 7.30 breakfast, consisting of bread and tea; at 8.30 prayers; 9 recreation; 9.30 they are told off by the Industrial master to their various employments; 11.30 school; 12.45 dinner; 2 school again; 4 recreation; 5 supper, the same as breakfast; then they are left to make their beds; afterwards recreation till bedtime.
The Government very liberally supplies the the children with bats and balls, to amuse themselves during their hours of recreation. I believe each child costs twenty pounds per annnm. I must say I derived great pleasure from my visit to the Queen’s Orphan school, and was most favourably impressed with the order and neatness which prevailed. About the scholastic system and method of teaching I can say nothing, not having had an opportunity of seeing the boys in school; but I shall take an early opportunity of doing so, and of giving you the result of my visit. To-morrow the prizes will be awarded by Sir William and Lady Denison; it will be an interesting ceremony, which I shall take care to furnish, with the statistics of the school, for your journal.
Published in The Courier (Hobart), 31 January 1853
VISIT TO THE QUEEN’S ORPHAN SCHOOL.
(From our own Reporter.)
31st January, 1853.
I had intended giving you a minute description of the Female and Infant Departments of the Queen’s Orphan Schools, but wishing to be most exact in my description, and not feeling quite certain upon some minor particulars, I postpone them till I refresh my recollection, which I shall have an opportunity of doing after the distribution of the prizes to-day, and I will let you have the particulars in my next paper. In this number I give a short history of the original formation of the Queen’s Orphan Schools, with an outline of the principles on which the children are at present received into the school, and the manner in which the establishment is conducted. Though this may be known to some, yet there are so many new arrivals in the colony who take an earnest interest in the educational efforts that have been mode for the children of the indigent and unfortunate, that I shall risk telling “a twice told tale.”
This phitanthropic institution originated under the government of Colonel (now Sir George) Arthur. The first female school was established in Davey-street, Hobart Town, in the year 1828. The first male school was established also in 1828, but was situated on the New Town Rivulet. In December 1833 the female establishment was removed to the north wing of the present building, and consisted of about 45 girls; six months subsequently they were removed to the south wing, and the boys took possession of the north wing of the building (then complete except the Church), vacated by the girls. The number of the boys consisted of about an equal number as the girls.
The original institution appears to have been for the reception of of orphans, children deserted by their parents, and some whose parents or friends defrayed their expenses; the latter was done away with, I believe, principally in consequence of the difficulty in collecting the money from the parties or sureties, as also from the reason of the legitimate inmates becoming too numerous for the proper accommodation of others. The establishment is calculated to contain six hundred children, whoso ages must run from three upwards.
Until the year 1837 a committee of ladies and gentlemen, nominated by the Lieutenant-Governor, directed the management of the schools. In 1837 the full management and responsibility were vested in a head master, a clergyman of the Church of England, and the whole body of children were brought up in that religion, irrespective of the creed of their parents. In April 1841 the establishment was transferred from the Colonial to the Convict Department, and the charge placed in the hands of a Lay headmaster (or superintendent); the children were separated, as to their religious denominations, and visiting chaplains appointed, Protestant and Roman Catholic, for religious instruction and the performance of divine worship.
The asylum, according to the new arrangement, is a school of industry for the reception of orphan children, children deserted by their parents, or the offspring of objects of charity who are unable to provide for them: the above classes are paid for by the Colonial Government. The other class, and principally as regards numerical strength, being about six sevenths, are those of convict parents undergoing probation or sentence, or illegitimate children of convict parents unprovided for; those are maintained at the expense of the Government, and may be said on an average to cost £16 2s. 3d. per annum for each child (including all expenses), which charge includes the keeping of the buildings in repair. The parents of the latter class are required to relieve tho Government from supporting the children on their obtaining Indulgence (T.L.), or placed by circumstances (by marriage or otherwise), to enable them to protect and provide for their children. The duties of the institution are provided under a Superintendent, who is guided by instructions from the Lieutenant-Governor, through the Comptroller General Governor, and no child is permitted to be discharged from the schools but on the written authority of the Superintendent; and a registry of all admitted, discharged, apprenticed, deaths, or other casualties most be strictly and duly recorded. The establishment consists of a male and female school in separate buildings, — the former under the immediate charge of a master and matron, the latter under the charge of a matron, (for the supervision of nurses and domestic duties), who are responsible to the Superintendent, and from whom they receive all instructions.
The children in each school are divided into —
1st, Upper School; 2nd, or Infant School. The Upper Schools are composed of the elder children, all above six years of age; the infant children are under the care of a schoolmistress and nurses.
Every regard to economy consistent with the comfort of the children is rigidly attended to throughout the establishment, and the expenses, as much as possible, are defrayed by the children themselves by all practicable and useful employment in making and repairing part of their own clothing, baking, washing, &c, and no servant is introduced for any kind of service which can be performed by the children themselves.
The boys are taught various trades or callings, such as shoemaking, tailoring, farm-work, baking, and household work. The children are allowed to select their own trade or calling as far as possible.
The girls are taught plain needlework, knitting, washing, care of children, and household work in general. The school instruction consists of reading, writing, and arithmetic. One day in the week (Wednesday), in addition to the Sabbath-day, is devoted to religious instruction under the respective clergymen. On the days of secular education doctrinal tenets are not introduced. The whole of the children of sufficient age attend their respective places of worship twice on the Sabbath, and daily morning and evening prayers are performed by proper persons.
When the children have obtained sufficient age (generally 14 years), they are apprenticed out by guardians appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in conformity with an Act of Council passed in 1828.
The Superintendent is also vested with an authority from the Lieutenant-Governor to allow children who have obtained a proper age (at least 14) to be bound by agreement, with the consent of the parents, to industrials of respectable and proper character in the neighbouring colonies, the power of the Act in Council (before alluded to), or amendment thereto, not extending beyond the limits of Van Diemen’s Land. The children are consulted at all times before apprenticed or articled by agreement, and in no instance obliged to leave the establishment compulsorily. I find the numbers of children attending the schools during the year 1837 were 451; in 1838, 439; 1839, 405; 1840, 381; 1841, 402; 1842, 507; 1843, 486; 1844, 494; 1845, 450; 1846, 399; 1847, 448; 1848, 460; 1849, 450; 1850, 507; 1851, 503; and in 1852, 500. During these years the greatest mortality of children was in the year 1843, when 59 deaths occurred; in the year 1845 and in the half-year closing last 31st December, no death occurred. The greatest number of children absconding was in 1841, when 6 ran away from the Institution. In 1850 the Roman Catholics compared with the Protestants stood in the proportion of 3 to 2, the numbers being, Roman Catholics 303, Protestants 204, while during the half-year which has just come to a conclusion the numbers, exclusive of the Infant School, the returns of which I could not obtain, were Catholics 200, Protestants 160, or the Catholics numbered nearly a fourth more than the Protestants.
The strength of the establishment, including officers, servants, and children, was, at the close of the last half-year ending 31st December, 1852, as follows: One superintendent, two chaplains, one physician, one purveyor, one organist, one teacher of singing, one assistant-master, one industrial master, one matron, one beadle, one housemaid, one tailor, one overseer to farm, one gardener, and nine farm servants —
making eleven officers and fifteen servants: and one hundred and eighty-seven children make the total number of residents in the male school 211. There were remaining on the 30th June, 1852, 189; admitted since that time, 3 — making 192 ; apprenticed 0, discharged 6, dead 0, — making 187.
The strength of the female establishment for the closing half-year was as follows:- One matron, two schoolmistresses, one industrial mistress, one cook, one housemaid, one laundrymaid, and one hospital nurse, —
making four officers and five servants: and 173 children. —
Total, 182. There were remaining on the 30th June, 1852, 182 children, – admitted since 1, making 182. Apprenticed 3, discharged 6, dead 0, total 9; leaves 173.
The strength of the infant establishment during the last half-year ended 31st December, 1852, was one submatron, one schoolmistress, five free nurses, five p.h. nurses, two p.h. housemaids, and one p.h. cook making two officers, thirteen servants; and there are 146 infants. There were remaining at the close of the half-year ending 30th June, 1852, 145 infants; admitted since 5,-total, 150 ; discharged during last half-year 4, dead 0; leaving 146 on the roll.
I regret that the statistics connected with the schools are not more regularly kept. I had wished to have known if any of the children apprenticed from the establishment, or those who have left it, have ever been convicted of any crime at any of the Courts of the island; but I found no record of the movements of the children are preserved after they leave the establishment. This is rather unfortunate, as it would be very interesting and important to observe the effect in the future career of the virtuous and moral education bestowed upon the children. To Mr. A. B. Jones, the Superintendent, and to Mr. Mackay, the Purveyor, I wish to express my obligations —
both these gentlemen gave me every information, and laid open to my view reports and statistics, without which I could not have given to the public through your columns the correct information I may say I have. To-day the prizes will be awarded; I shall take care and send you my promised report of the ceremony.
Published in The Courier (Hobart), 1 February 1853
VISIT TO THE QUEEN’S ORPHAN SCHOOL.
(From our own Reporter.)
31st January, 1853.
I will now proceed to give you the particulars of my inspection of the female and infant departments of the Queen’s Orphan Schools, through the whole of which I was taken by the excellent matron, Mrs. Smythe. I will commence my account by stating my gratification at seeing such excellent “quarters” have been provided for the officers of the institution. By studying the comfort and domestic happiness of that too much neglects class, teachers, the first move will be made towards the great educational desideratim of the island, namely, a superior grade of persons to fill the high office of training the young idea, and of implanting in the minds of children, when they are most susceptible of receiving them, the seeds of good.
We proceeded first to the school-room, which was of similar proportions to that of the boys, but differently arranged as to the furniture and fittings. One half of the room is completely empty, the other half contains on each side of it short desks and forms. Upon my expressing surprise at the peculiarity of the arrangement, I was informed that it was owing to the monitorial system being in use, by which system the girls are taught standing round a monitor in semicircles; a broad aisle runs up the middle of the room to folding doors at the top, which, when thrown open, display a pretty little altar. This room is the one appropriated every Sunday to the Roman Catholics for the celebration of their worship.
At each end of the apartment is one of those patent ventilators first brought into use and found so successful at the Milbank Penitentiary, London: I was disappointed at seeing no maps round the walls, but Mrs. Smyth said they had been taken down for the holidays. As the whole of the female and infant parts of the building rivalled that of the boys in cleanliness, I shall conclude my remarks upon that great necessity in institutions of the kind I am describing, by agreeing in the observation Sir William Denison is reported to have made while going over these schools, that if “cleanliness is next to godliness, the Orphan Schools must be very near to Heaven.” After the school-room we visited the dining-room: I should have much liked to have seen the children assembled here to notice how the “gastronomical lecture” was administered, but unfortunately my visit was badly timed, being just after one meal.
We then mounted to the dormitories. These rooms are upon exactly the same scale as those of the boys, but instead of hammocks the girls sleep upon iron bedsteads, each of which is furnished with a hair mattress, two sheets, two blankets, and a rug; each girl above twelve years of age has a bedstead to herself, under that age they sleep in couples. There are three dormitories, two devoted to Roman Catholics and one to the Protestants. At the end of the dormitories is a press for each girl, with her name written upon it, and in which she is expected to have her clothes neatly folded and placed.
The storeroom was next paid a visit. Here are the provisions and clothes used in the establishment: I must praise those of both kinds which I saw. I tasted some rice as white as milk; the sugar was likewise of an excellent quality. I saw no meat, but I trust that whatever is consumed by those young children is of a better quality than that which I saw hanging up in the boys’ department. The clothes all appeared homelyand good; the flannel was of a superior texture and warm. From the storeroom we wended our way to the kitchen, where I observed some yards of currant pudding being put into immense boilers, with which the children were to be regaled as a consolation for the postponement of the awarding of the prizes.
The next place I visited afforded me more pleasure than anything I had yet seen in the establishment; I allude to the bath-room. Here are two baths, one hot and one cold, and in those every girl in the school receives a thorough ablution twice a week, under the superintendence of the industrial mistress. No wonder disease so seldom visits the institution — no wonder not a single death has occurred in the Queen’s Orphan Schools during the last half-year. In addition to the bath-rooms, there is a lavatory for daily use, to which the children descend from the dormitories: around the sides of the lavatory are a great number of small tanks, into which the water is continually passing and repassing. The floor of this room is composed of bricks, and its four sides incline to a grating in the middle, through which the water ought to pass; but owing to something wrong in the pipes, the water does not drain off as fast as it should, consequently the bricks are always wet. It will be seen at once how standing upon damp bricks, especially in cold weather, must certainly produce those dreadful plagues to children, chilblains; and I am afraid the constitutions of the girls must suffer severe injury from these repeated wet feet. I earnestly urge upon the authorities to have a wooden grating made: this would counteract all the evil consequences of the water not flowing off quick enough.
From the lavatory we proceeded to the laundry, where two or three hundred pieces are washed and mangled every week. Here are employed two professional laundresses, assisted by six of the orphan girls; here all the washing required by the inmates of the institution is done, with the exception of bedclothes, these are sent out to the Cascades. In the laundry is kept ready day and night a boiler full of hot water, in case any child should have a fit or other ailment which might require immediate immersion in a hot bath: too great praise cannot be bestowed upon this forethought and constant care for the health of the children.
The hospital was the last apartments of the female school I visited, and I was agreeably surprised to find that out of so large a number of children, many of whom must be of delicate constitutions, there was not a single case of serious illness. The hospital contained ten little inmates, but they were all sitting up, and appeared cheerful and happy. Mrs. Smyth called to one little afflicted creature of about five years of age to show how nicely she could walk, and it was affecting to see the pride expressed in the face of the poor little child at the praise of the good lady for the performance. I was told she was malformed about the hips, but that great hopes are entertained by Dr. Bedford, the physician to the institution, that she will be ultimately cured. I saw no other case severer than a cold in the hospital. The children sent in here are visited regularly by Dr. Bedford, who orders them every comfort with an unsparing hand, and they are never sent into the other parts of the building without his certificate that they are perfectly cured.
From the hospital we passed to the fine large play-ground, ornamented with swings, roundabouts, &c. I was pleased at seeing these accessories to health so liberally bestowed upon these poor orphans; everybody knows the good effect of the roundabout in strengthening the arms. At the end of the playground is a part covered in for bad weather. I might here notice that I remarked no instance of fighting or quarrelling, although our visit was quite unexpected amongst the children, the greater portionof whom were not aware of our presence: this speaks volumes for the excellence of the management.
I returned to the schoolroom to view the books used in this department, and also the copybooks. The former I recognised as mostly belonging to those presented to the world by the Irish National School Commissioners; the latter were generally well written, partaking greatly of the style of the lady who set the copies in them. Considering the ages of the writers, from what I saw I should say that the Orphan Schools are particularly forward in the important branch of primary education —
writing. I am glad to see that Mulhauser’s system of writing is in use here: I have often wondered it has not been taken more advantage of.
The diet of the girls is precisely similar to that of the boys. The younger children can always obtain a piece of bread when they are hungry. The girls’ time is spent as follows:- At 5.40 dressing and saying morning prayers; 6 to 7 washing; 7 to 7.30 minute inspection by the matron as respects health, cleanness and neatness; 7.30 to 8 breakfast; 8 to 8.30 recreation, with exception of those employed in domestic duties; 8.30 to 9 religious instruction; 9 to 12 school: 12 to 12.30 recreation, with exception of those employed in preparing dinner; 12.30, to 1 dinner; 1 to 2 recreation; 2 to 4 school; 4 to 5.30 recreation; 5.30 to 6 tea; 6 to bed-time recreation. I asked Mrs. Smyth if the report was correct that the girls were taught embroidery, knitting, netting, &c., instead of the much more useful plain needlework? She assured me it was incorrect; that the girls have never been taught any kind of fine needlework, but were obliged during the time set apart for work to make their clothes; and that between 2000 and 3000 garments per annum were made by them. Upon enquiring how much time was set apart for needlework, judge of my surprise at being told one hour! This is undoubtedly after religious instruction, and reading and writing, the most important branch of female education; and girls who are being educated by charity to make them working men’s wives, or servants in families, have one hour set apart for learning the principal part of their calling. Upon referring back to the day table, I find six hours thirty-minutes devoted to recreation: surely, if none of the time set apart for work can be spared, it would be better to subtract another hour or two from recreation, than let them leave the school, as they must do at present, quite ignorant of every kind of needlework but the commonest. This is radically wrong.
The girls have three complete suits of clothing per annum and six pairs of strong shoes: they change all their under clothing twice a week. The Infant school is equally well conducted with those departments I have described. The little children are taught by means of pictures, which hang round the walls of their school-room; there is a large playground for them, and three nurses are always with them. Upon the whole, the Institution is as excellently carried on as it was philanthropically founded, and it reflects the greatest credit upon every officer connected with it.
February 1, 1853.
THE distribution of the Prizes took place yesterday. At 3 o’clock in the afternoon, Sir William and Lady Denison arrived on the meadow adjacent to the building. The band of H.M. 99th Regt, was is attendance, and received His Excellency with “God save the Queen.”
The children were then marched into the field, and the awarding of the prizes at once commenced. The rewards consisted of everything suitable for children, from the handsome satinwood work-box given to the grown girl just leaving the institution, to the ball presented to the little infant for being good. Sir William Denison made a few kind observations to each little recipient.
Lady Denison having given permission, the following pieces of music were sung by the children under the leadership of Mr. Salier, their instructor:- “The labourer’s song,” “Let us endeavour,” “The kine are homeward going” (round, three parts), “The stormy winds,” “The hour is come of twilight grey,” “God save the Queen,” &c. A cheer was then given, and echoed by the infants, who were walking two and two under the care of nurses. The masters then put the children into squares, and buns were plentifully distributed. Play ensued, and the performance might be said to be finished.
As Sir William Denison and C. E. Wilmot, Esq., in leaving the schools, were riding down the broad avenue, the children mounted upon the fence and gave several good hearty cheers, to which His Excellency as heartily responded, waving his hat at the same time.
You see there is little to describe, but much to think of. The education of those 507 young orphans will hereafter have a great influence upon the young colony. It is not merely 507 children we are educating, but the parents of perhaps a couple of thousands who will most assuredly be influenced in their conduct by that of the parents. I think it right to give the result of a little quiet examination I made of a little fellow 10 years of age. I asked him to spell “Jeremiah,” and he did so correctly; then to my question of ” How many parts of speech are there, and can you repeat them?” came the correct answer. I followed with “What is an adjective? He replied, “A thing that qualifies a substantive.” Likewise, “Do you like being at school?” ” Yes, sir.” ” Do they beat you much?” ” No, sir.” “Do you like being at school better than being at home” “I cannot say that.” The quick manner in which the answer was given, the open manly way in which the little fellow fixed his eyes upon me, showed that, while the education he was receiving was good, intimidation and fear were not the means used to make him accept it. The general rosy and healthy looks, the clean and neat attire, and the modesty yet frankness of the orphans confirmed my former conviction that the system is excellent which is in operation at the Queen’s Orphan Schools.