whole_OatsWilliamNicolle1977_thesis.pdf (10.51 MB)
The Friends' School Hobart : formation and early development
thesisposted on 2023-05-27, 16:48 authored by Oats, William Nicolle
The foundation of The Friends' School Hobart in 1887 was the result of a number of formative influences dating back to the arrival of the two English Quakers, Backhouse and Walker, in Hobart in 1832. Part One of this thesis examines the link between Backhouse and Walker's sponsorship of the British and Foreign School Society's principles and the support non-Friends ultimately gave to a Friends' School which appeared to offer an alternative both to the sectarianism of the Church Schools and the secularism of the newly-established State Schools. The special characteristics of the small Friends' Meeting organized by BaCkhouse and Walker in Hobart in 1833 are outlined as a basis for showing how education came to be regarded by this group of Friends as providing a key to their survival. Five attempts to start a small school for children of Friends failed in the mid-century decades and a move to set up a boarding-school by, Melbourne Friends in the mid-seventies also failed. The thesis attempts to answer the questions: Why then did a Friends' School succeed in Hobart in 1887, where previous attempts had failed? Why in Hobart and not in Melbourne or Sydney? Part Two describes the early development of the school during the years 1887 to 1900 and the importance in this development of three key figures - Edwin Ransome in England, Francis Mather in Hobart and Samuel Clemes who came out from England to be the school's first headmaster. Support was given by English Friends with finance and with staffing. The school, however, was a viable proposition only because of the extent of support given by the non-Friend community in Hobart. The school made an impact on non-Friends by reason of its claim to offer something distinctive in curriculum and methods. In curriculum, emphasis was placed, for example, on science rather than on the classics, on the importance of the practical as well as the academic skills, and on training for leisure. The school was regarded as \modern\" in its methods because of its introduction of co-education its reliance on co-operative rather than on competitive techniques in the classroom and its attempt to formulate a non-sectar-ian approach to religious education. The years 1887 to 1900 cover the period of Samuel Clemes' headmastership. The reasons for his resignation in 1900 are analysed in some detail in the chapter \"Anatomy of a crisis\". The thesis concludes with a summary of the impact of the school as a Friends' school within the context of the philosophy and practices of the Religious Society of Friends and as a 'High' school within the context of the wider non-Friend community."
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