Education in Marlborough
Marlborough's early schools faced a tough beginning. The first school was established by Nelson settlers but, after separation in 1859, Marlborough's education system suffered from a lack of money. Teachers were poorly paid (about £100/year) and few possessed certificates of training. School attendance could be irregular when pupils were needed at home or on the farm.1
Blenheim's first teacher, James White, initially appointed by the Nelson Education Council, arrived in 1859. But his strong views that religion should also be taught at schools, did not agree with the new education system's sectarian views2 and he was asked to resign in 1861.3
It was not until July 1860, after Marlborough and Nelson separated, that the province's new superintendent, Mr. W. Adams, sought clarification about Nelson's future involvement in education. The reply from the Nelson Central Board of Education was that Nelson was "now absolved and had no desire to continue with a subject which separation had freed (it) from."4
A special committee of school management was set up and the new Marlborough Provincial Council granted £300 for a teacher's salary, schoolbooks and to improve the school building.5
In 1861, Blenheim's first school was altered so students no longer had to walk through the teacher's living room. Schools were also opened in Picton, Renwick, Wairau Valley (where James White taught for many years) and Spring Creek in 1861.6
Blenheim's second schoolhouse, built when the first school became too small, burnt down in 1888.7 A brick ‘Borough' school was opened in 1890 and was to last 47 years.8
Providing an education became increasingly financially difficult for the Provincial Council and local school committees until the Education Act of 1877 saw the establishment of a national Education Department and a system of free, compulsory education for everybody.9
By the end of 1875, there were 16 schools in the district and the first meeting of the Marlborough Education Board (amalgamated with the Wellington Education Board in 191510) was held in 1876.11
While something resembling a high school was established in the Blenheim School from 1879, Marlborough did not get a stand-alone high school until 1900.12 The Marlborough High School Act saw the establishment of a co-ed school, built on six acres at the current location of Marlborough Boys' College.13 Dr. J. Innes was the first principal and remained in the position until 1922.14
The Marlborough High School/Boys College was to have just six principals in its first 100 years.
In his first year, Dr. Innes taught all the students. He was described as being ‘short of stature, unimpressive in appearance....yet in the classroom he dominated his pupils in a way which had to be experienced to be understood.'15 By 1905, there were 110 pupils on the school roll and a staff of five.16
School trains for secondary students from Picton, and later Seddon, were introduced in 1905 to offer educational opportunities for rural folk.17 The Picton train ran until the opening of Queen Charlotte College at the beginning of 1965.18
When there was concern that too many students were not going onto high school, an intermediate department for 11 and 12 year olds was established as part of the Marlborough High School in 1927.19
In the 1930s, the Labour Government agreed to finance half the cost of building a replacement for the rundown high school. The new high school was completed and immediately commandeered in 1942, when it was converted to a military hospital for wartime personnel.20
By 1948, the expanding roll at Marlborough High School was becoming unmanageable. The Bohally Estate was acquired by the Crown in 1953 and Bohally Intermediate opened in February 1956.21 Ron Verity was appointed the first permanent Headmaster of the school, in 1957, and remained in that position until 1969.
After the war years, Blenheim School's roll hit a high of 669 pupils, but the new Redwoodtown, Whitney Street and Mayfield Schools took the strain off the original Borough school.22
By 1958, it was clear an additional secondary school was needed in Blenheim. A referendum was held and it was decided there would be two single sex schools.
Marlborough Girls College opened in February 1963 with a roll of 583 pupils and 23 staff.23 Miss Naomi Rickard was the school's first principal.24
More Marlborough Schools
In 1862, the number of children receiving education in the public schools of the Province was 120, or 5% of the population. The numbers were: Blenheim 47, Picton 32, Upper Spring Creek 7, Renwick 6 and Wairau Valley 18.25
- The Rev Nicholson was the prime mover behind the first Renwick School, and in 1861, Mr. W. Moore arrived to teach 16 students with great ‘zeal and efficiency.'
- A one roomed, white pine school was opened on a prominent site above Tuamarina township in 1871.
- Two Catholic schools - a boys' school and a girls' school opened in Blenheim in 1872, with the Sisters of Mercy taking charge of teaching from 1896.
- A library, church and school were opened at Spring Creek (then known as Marlboroughtown) in 1874.
- Springlands' first public school was opened in November 1886, as the suburb developed along with the flax industry.
- Havelock's first public school was opened in 1862.
- Whekenui School had a short life - 1951-1962.
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2010 (updated 2022)
Sources used in this story
- McIntosh, A. D. (1977) Marlborough: a provincial history, Christchurch: Capper Press. , p.341
- McIntosh, pp.337-339
- Hale, A. M. (1937) Jubilee of the Blenheim Borough School, 1859-1937, Blenheim, N.Z.
- Hale, A. M.
- McIntosh, p.339
- ‘Progress of Education', The Marlborough Express Provincial Centennial Supplement (1959), p.40
- Hale, A. M.
- Finnie, J.  Tales of the Blenheim Borough School, 1859-1984: John Finnie takes an informal look at people, places and events from the history of the Blenheim Borough School's 125 years, Blenheim, N.Z.: The School, p.7
- McIntosh, p.342
- McIntosh, p.347
- Marlborough Express supplement
- McIntosh, p.345
- The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts] Marlborough Provincial District - The Marlborough Land District (published 1906), p 329. http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-Cyc05Cycl-t1-body1-d2-d1.html
- Marlborough Express supplement
- Kerr, L. (Ed.) (c2000) The gold and the blue, 1900-2000: Marlborough High School 1900 to Marlborough Colleges 2000, Blenheim [N.Z.]: The Committee, p.46
- The Cyclopedia, p.329
- Kerr, pp.74,75
- Kerr, p.206
- Kerr, p.55
- Kerr, p.70
- Kerr, p.106
- Finnie, p.21
- Kerr, p.112
- Kerr, p.193
- Congdon, E. (1961) A century of education in Havelock. Centennial Committee, p.3
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Further sources - Education in Marlborough
- 125 years of education in Havelock 1861 - 1986. (1986), [Havelock, N.Z.: The committee] [held Marlborough District Library]
- Battersby, D.; Cocklin, B. & Vincent, C. (1983) Beyond the crossroads: an investigation into single-sex and co-educational schooling in Blenheim, New Zealand, [Palmerston North]: Massey University.
- Berry, K. (c1998) Koromiko: a district history, [Blenheim, N.Z.]: Koromiko 125th Jubilee Committee.
- Blenheim School Centennial Committee  Blenheim Borough School, 1859-1959 Blenheim, N.Z.: Blenheim School Centennial Committee.[held Marlborough District Library]
- Brayshaw, N. (1977) Fairhall School: Centennial 1877-1977. Blenheim, N.Z.
- Brayshaw, N. H. & Jubilee Committee ( 2002) Fairhall School:125th Jubilee 1877-2002, Blenheim, N.Z.: Fairhall School Jubilee Committee [held Marlborough district Library]
- Brayshaw, N. H. (1962) Redwoodtown School jubilee, 1912-1962, [Blenheim]: Marlborough Express
- Brehaut, L. & Taylor, M. (c2008) Whekenui School, 1951-1962: a very remote school, Picton, N.Z.: Picton Historical Society.
- Brooks, C. (1998) A flood of memories: a history of the Spring Creek and Wairau Pa Schools, [Blenheim, N.Z.]: Spring Creek/Wairau Pa Schools 125th Anniversary Committee.
- Brooks, C. (1988) Twenty-five years young: a history of Marlborough Girls College, 1963-1988, Blenheim, N.Z.
- Brooks, C. (1996) Tua Marina School 125th anniversary, 1871-1996, Blenheim, N.Z.: Tua Marina School 125th Anniversary Committee.
- Buick, T. L. (1976) Old Marlborough: or, The story of a province, Christchurch: Capper Press.
- Butchers, A. (1930) Education in New Zealand : an historical survey of progress amongst the Europeans and the Maoris since 1878 forming with "Young New Zealand" a complete history of education in New Zealand from the beginning of the nineteenth century, Dunedin, N.Z.: C.S. Wilkie
- Congdon, E. (1961) A century of education in Havelock, Blenheim, N.Z. [Centennial Committee].
- Drew, A.  Marshlands School centenary: 1891-1991, Marlborough, Blenheim, N.Z.: Marshlands School Centennial Committee.[held Marlborough District Library]
- Furness, J. G.  Sisters of Mercy, Blenheim:100 years of service-, Blenheim [N.Z.]:St Joseph's Convent.
- Godsiff, H., (2006) Tales from Kenepuru : fragments of history, Picton, N.Z.: Waitaria Bay School.
- Gosling, L. (1986) From slate to computer: a hundred years at the Springlands School, Blenheim, N.Z.: Centennial Committee of the Springlands School.
- Hale, A. M. (1937) Jubilee of the Blenheim Borough School, 1859-1937, Blenheim, N.Z.
- Hale, A. M. (1991)1866-1966, Grovetown School (first called Big Bush : a history and compilation of school records, [Grovetown, N.Z.] : Grovetown School Centennial Committee.
- Hale, A. M. (1955) Rapaura School (Upper Spring Creek): A history and compilation of school records, Blenheim, N.Z.: Rapaura School Jubilee Committee.
- Hale, A.  Marlboroughtown Spring Creek School a history and compilation of school records, [Blenheim],N.Z.: [Marlborough Spring Creek School Jubilee Committee] http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/154616637
- Hale, A. (1949) The Tua Marina School 78th anniversary 1871-1949 a history and compilation of school records,[Tua Marina], N.Z.: Tua Marina School Jubilee Committee http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/152336949
- Harlen, J. (1987) The school at Ocean Bay, [Marlborough], Queen Charlotte Sound, N.Z.:Cape Catley
- Insull, H. A. H. & Glen, H. P. (1970) The Marlborough College register, 1900-1950, [and] supplement to the Marlborough College register, 1951-1960, Blenheim, N.Z.: Diamond Jubilee Celebrations Committee.
- Kerr, G. R. (1959) Education in the Awatere: 75 years of progress; the Seddon Consolidated School, [Blenheim, N.Z.]
- Last Great School Train Ride Committee  Tales from the train, 1905-1964, [Blenheim, N.Z.]: Marlborough Boys' and Girls' Colleges
- Loveridge, B.(1973) The centennial history and compilation of records of the Spring Creek School (formerly Marlboroughtown) and Marlborough, New Zealand, Marlborough, N.Z.: Barry Loveridge http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1046251
- Marlborough Boys' College Staff  Supplement to the Marlborough Colleges' register, 1970-1975, [Blenheim, N.Z.]:Marlborough Colleges' Jubilee Committee.
- Marlborough Boys' College Staff (c2000) Supplement to the Marlborough Colleges' register, 1975-2000 [Blenheim, N.Z.]:Marlborough Colleges' Jubilee Committee.[held Marlborough District Library]
- Marlborough Boys' College Staff (1970) Supplement to the Marlborough Colleges' register, 1960-1970, [Blenheim, N.Z.]:Marlborough Colleges' Jubilee Committee
- Marlborough College Intermediate Department. (1945) The Marlburian Minor 1945, Blenheim, N.Z. : Marlborough College.[held Marlborough District Library]
- Matthews, G. (1982) Memories of sixty years at Linkwater, [Picton, N.Z.: G. Matthews].
- Matthews, N. & Matthews, P. (1995) Rapaura a district history, Whatamango Bay, N.Z.: Cape Catley
- McIntosh, A., Redman, W. & Allen, W. (1940) Marlborough : a provincial history, Blenheim, N.Z.: Marlborough Provincial Committee
- 100: Canvastown and Deep Creek Schools centennial, Easter 1977 (1977) [Blenheim, N.Z.].
- Mitchell, H. & Mitchell, J. (2007) Te Tau Ihu a te Waka : a history of Maori of Nelson and Marlborough, vol.2, Wellington, N.Z.: Huia Publishers
- Pattie, M. & Kennington, S. (1983) A century of education in the Awatere, 1883-1983, Blenheim : [Centennial Committee].
- Pelorus School, proposed outdoor education centre: Pelorus Bridge scenic reserve, [Blenheim, N.Z.]: Marlborough Colleges' Centennial Committee.[held Marlborough District Library]
- Riverlands School: Golden Jubilee 1906-1956,  Blenheim, N.Z. : [Riverlands School].
- Simon, J. (1998) The native schools system 1867-1969 : Nga kura Maori, Auckland, N.Z.: Auckland University Press.
- Smith, F. (1971) The Tua Marina School 100th anniversary 1871 - 1971 with which is incorporated the history of the Waikakaho schools 1887 - 1933, [Blenheim,N.Z.:The School Centennial Committee] http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/153707306
- Troung, M. (1987) A review of continuing education in Marlborough, Wellington : Dept. of Education.
- Waikawa Bay School : Centennial booklet 1876 - 1982, (1982) [Marlborough, N.Z.] Waikawa Bay School.
School magazines [ held Marlborough District Library]
- Faces of Rai: school magazine (2004) [Rai Valley, N.Z.] :[Rai Valley Area School].
- Marlburian (1969, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2008) Blenheim, N.Z.: Marlborough Boys College.
- Queen Charlotte College, school magazine (1997, 1998, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008) [Picton] :[Queen Charlotte College].
- Te Rama (the Torch), October 1924: the official organ of the Blenheim School, Marlborough, N.Z. (1924) Blenheim, N.Z. : Blenheim School Committee
- Te Wai Rau: the magazine of Marlborough Girls' College (1981, 1990, 1992, 1995) Blenheim N.Z.: Marlborough Girls' College
- Tribute: an inspirational journey through 40 years of QCC (2006) [DVD] Picton, N.Z.: All-Psyched-Up Productions & Consultancy Ltd. [Marlborough District Library]
- Catholic petition (1884, May 21) Star,p.2
- Marlborough Education board (1906) In Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts] (1906), p.329 Retrieved from NZETC:
- Education commission (1915, May 15) Grey River Argus, p.2
- Educational loaves and fishes (1900, April 10) Nelson Evening Mail,p.2
- Marlborough High School.(1899, May 10) Marlborough Express,p.4
- Marlborough High School. (1899, August 7) Marlborough Express,p.4