University of Tasmania
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James Rule : a pioneer in Tasmanian education

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posted on 2023-05-26, 16:41 authored by Hudson, KL
Because Rule died on the day that the Duke of York reached Melbourne, newspapers of the day did not give proper recognition to a man who had served Tasmania well, both as a teacher and an administrator. Very soon after, when Neale became Director, the Tasmanian Education Department was to undergo turmoil. Writings on this early period of Tasmania's educational history have concentrated on Neale's Directorate to the extent that Rule has been largely ignored. This thesis is an attempt to right this matter. Rule was a product of his times, being largely influenced by his early upbringing, but because of his compassion, his high intellect, and his ability to communicate with people from all walks of life he was able to build on this to the extent that the Tasmanian Education Department did not become as impersonal and bureaucratic as those on the mainland. Of course the relatively small size of Tasmania was a contributing factor to this. I have attempted to show how the influences of his birthplace, his family, his wife, his early education, and his grounding in the trade of slating, all played their part in the making of the man. Following a brief summary of the history of Tasmanian education up to the 1860's, which I have included in order to set the scene, I describe the workings of the education system of the 1860's and 1870's with particular reference to Battery Point School, where Rule was a successful schoolmaster. It was here that he formed his ideas on compulsary, free and secular education. Here he also gained experience of the problems of a schoolmaster - staffing, salaries, teacher training, secondary education and local boards. From his appointment as an Inspector in 1876 Rule became an administrator, first under the Board of Education and then, from 1885, under the new Department of Education. I have included information about the duties of Inspectors and the problems they encountered when carrying them out. Due emphasis is given to the searching enquiry made by the 1883 Royal Commission and the type of Education Department that resulted from it, with particular reference to the failure of the Local Boards, which Rule regretted. During his period as Director Rule was restricted in his desire to make major improvements because of the economic depression, but I attempt to show how he exerted a positive influence in educational developments. I see Stephen's period as Director as a settling down periodlwith Rule's time one of consolidation and modification. In conclusion, I have shown that Rule deserves to take his place as one of the extremely successful pioneers of the Tasmanian education system, being the first Director to work his way up from the ranks.


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Copyright 1977 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (MEd)--Tasmanian College of Advanced Education, 1977

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