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Like most rural towns, the development of Windellama in the Goulburn district can closely be allied with the growth of the local school. The start of Widellama's school was around 1880 and the district had the School Centenary celebrations in 1980. Associated with these celebrations a publication was released detailing the history of the school(s), the P & C and the bus runs and an excellent production it was. The prime movers in the push to establish a school appear to have been James Gegg and John Croker. Some of the paperwork associated with these applications can be seen on this James A Gegg page.

Detailed below are the teachers at the school for the period 1880 to 1911 as indicated by this book.

April 1880
March 1881
July 1883
June 1886
December 1893
August 1901
April 1902
April 1903
March 1905
April 1906
August 1907
  William Calthorpe
Andrew Wright
William Calthorpe
William Rumph
Dennis Kennedy
John Gunnell
H. Coleman
C. McAlister
Charles Allen
Charles Green
E. Middleton

The school was closed from December 1911 to February 1913

Of first interest here is the fourth appointee and third teacher of the school, William Rumph. A fair amount has been written about Rumph in other publications in relation to his zealous application of discipline and the warnings he received from the Department of Public Instruction. However here is something which possibly shows another aspect of his character which may be of interest to Windellama school historians.
There was a book found among the possessions of Betty King (also Owen nee Collins) after her death, called Briggs Patent. Betty was the daughter of Florist Collins (nee Gegg) who was a student at Windellama school. Florist was born on 13 May 1886 and if she started school at age five or thereabouts she would have started c.1891 and so probably would have had a couple of years as a student of Rumph which may give a partial explanation of how the book became a family possession.
Here is the title page of the book along with a couple of sample pages. It is indeed a lovely book and it gives a large range of patterns which can be transferred onto fabric. These things were often used for embroidery but of course may have been handy for a teacher developing the artistic talents of his/her charges.

Briggs Book - Inside front cover   Briggs book - samples

However the thing that makes this book so interesting is the inscription in the front cover reproduced below.


Presented to William Rumph by
himself as a mark of esteem
Windellama East,
H. T. Schools
Oct 2nd 1889

It's not known if this sort of presentation was a common practice of the time. If it wasn't, maybe it was an expression of loneliness, frustration, arrogance or simply part of the early development of the ironic Australian sense of humour. We'll probably never know his motives but for whatever reason, Rumph obviously felt justified in doing it.

The second item of interest for school historians in the teacher list lies in the period 1893 to 1901. As indicated above Florist Amelia Gegg attended Windellama school. Florist was still a student during this period as her school workbook for the period 29 Oct 1900 to 15 Feb 1901 has survived to this day.
The teachers of the day when marking and correcting the work always initialled it and herein lies the difficulty. From 29 Oct 1900 to 12 Dec 1900 (when school must have finished for the year), the initials of the teacher were what appears to be M. H. and similiarly the initials from 28 Jan 1901 (when school must have resumed) to 15 Feb 1901 were what appears to be C. H. Samples of both are reproduced below. Presumably there was a change of teachers over the Christmas break.

M.H.   C.H.

However the period Dec 1893 to Aug 1901 in the Centenary list shows Dennis Kennedy as the teacher. The initials D. K. don't appear to be able to be confused with either M. H. or C. H. which therefore suggests that there were other teachers at the school during this period. Whether the school was big enough at that time to justify a second teacher or whether Kennedy left before 29 Oct 1900 and these were substitute teachers filling in while a new head teacher was appointed is, at the moment, a matter for speculation and is a question posed for historians of the school. The school workbook itself can be seen here

Finally one correction to the Centenary Book needs to be noted if it hasn't been before. On the ninth page of the book it is stated "In 1926 two acres of land was bought from J. A. Gegg for £10". It is believed that J. A. Gegg was the original title holder of the land but he had died in 1915. Most probably the land was bought from Mrs. Elizabeth Gegg (nee Tickner), his wife, who at that time was living at their property "Pineleigh" in Common St, North Goulburn

More history information about Windellama school can be found by selecting <HISTORY> on the sidebar menu at the school site. [As at January 2011, it appears this page has been removed which is a shame as some useful information about the school is no longer available.]


Updated : 13 Nov 2012