Education was a big issue for the British world in the mid 19th century. South Australia, being more of a “planned” colony, showed this concern, although all of the Australian colonies did as well, indeed Victoria was the first place in the British world to have compulsory, free and secular education. This did not come in to England until 1880.
South Australia formed the Central Board of Education in 1853. This Board partially funded schools and offered some funding to private and denominational schools. Students attending still had to pay some fees, but they were kept low. There was expressed a concern, among government members, that children of low income families not be kept out of schools due to fees.
The State Education department did not start until 1875. This brought in state schools. However fees were not abolished until 1892, so some fees must still need to have been paid. When actual compulsory schooling came in I do not know as yet, although in 1875 the government did talk about how it believed there was no reason why a child should not be at school. I don’t know if that meant school was compulsory or not, but it would indicate that compulsory schooling did not exist before 1875.
The reason why some children may not attend school in this era, apart from having to pay fees, was that children could be working from about age 10, if not younger. If families could not afford to send their children to school, they could easily see their time was better spent earning money.
For a brief history of the beginning of schooling in South Australia, go here.
Schools attended by Barreau Children
There are a lot of early SA newspaper reports on early Adelaide schools which include some of the Barreau children as pupils. I am in the process of collating it at the moment. These are the results found so far – will be updated:
For a list of the newspaper articles, go here.
The Barreau children are recorded as attending school as early as 1861. This is after the advent of the Central Board of Education but before free schooling came in. I do not know as yet if the schools they attended were private of government run. But as they are pre-1892 these schools would have fees, which indicates that Alexander and Elizabeth Catherine Barreau had the means to fund their children’s education. It would also be before the advent of compulsory schooling.
The Barreau children seem to have attended 2 different schools. Can’t think why. Perhaps one is “better” but the Barreaus couldn’t afford to send all their children to that one? Who knows.
Only the children who won prizes are listed in these reports, and not all school reports are listed [sources will be added later]
Commercial School of Port Adelaide
Principal: TJ King
“G Barreau”, “A Barreau”and “J Barreau”.
The names are only listed with initials. But most probably they are:
George Barreau. Attended 1861, aged 8.
John Holmes Barreau. Attended 1869. Aged 13.
Alexander and Eliz Cath Barreau only had one child with an initial of G. and one with the initial of ‘J’.
Alexander and Eliz Cath Barreau only had two children with an initial of A. they are Alfred Alexander and Anne.
Possibly Alex Alfred Barreau. Attended 1861, aged 10 or 11.
This could have been Anne Barreau, but she would have been 12 or 13, which was probably too old for a girl to be attending, but we don’t know.
Lefevre’s Peninsula Commercial School
Principal: Mr Millord
“G Barreau”, “Clara Barreau”.
Once again ‘G. Barreau’ is given only an initial, but Clara is given her full name.
George Barreau, attended 1868, aged 15.
Clara Barreau, attended 1868 and 1869, aged 10 and 11.
As George originally attended the Pt Ade Commercial School, perhaps this school is considered “better”. It did get a great write up. It had been established in 1854.
~Updated: 30 April 2011. More details to come~