No. 593 - Glenore - The Glenore School and Methodist Church

Glenore is a farming district situated approximately 7 kilometres south of Hagley at the junction of the Hagley Station Lane and Black Hills Road. Glenore was the name of a farm established by William Bryan in the late 1820’s. William and his wife Jane were pioneer landowners in the area who had originally arrived in Van Diemen's Land from Ireland in 1824.

A ‘formal’ church was never built at Glenore. However there was unusual arrangement whereby the Glenore school was used as a place of worship for over half a century.

The school was erected in 1864 at a cost of £300 provided by the will of Mrs Jane Bryan. The will stipulated that the school could be used as a church and would include a residence for a headmaster. The headmasters salary and the cost of maintaining the building were provided from rental income from the adjoining 260 acre Bryan farm. Although the school provided a secular education it was used as a Methodist Sunday school and also for Methodist services. The property was managed by trustees until 1914 when control was handed over to the Department of Education.

The school and church building was officially opened by Sir Richard Dry on the 1 March 1864. The opening ceremony was reported in some detail by the Launceston Examiner which included a speech made by Richard Dry:

“Sir R. Dry said the duty of publicly declaring the building open for the purposes for which it had been erected devolved upon him, …His duty was entirely of a formal nature, and he would address only a few words to them….He had no part in the good work which had been done, but Mr. Clerke, who was one of the trustees, and who had taken an active part and shown great interest in the work, had done him the honour of asking him to preside on that occasion. The object of the founder was to place within reach of his tenantry and neighbours the means of a good education for their children. The object was one of the highest which could be aimed at. Education in these days was a first necessity for those above the position of mere labourers, and modern science had so changed the conditions of labor that a certain amount of education and intelligence was required in those who were dependent on the labor of their hands for their subsistence. Those whom he now addressed were principally tenant farmers and small freeholders, and he would urge upon them the necessity of giving their children as good an education as possible…. A substantial building with its site had been given them, with an annual endowment… This latter sum would go but a small way towards the support of the master and his family, who should be placed above those anxieties which arise from insufficient income. It was for them, then, to show their gratitude to her [Mrs Bryan] who had so liberally helped them, and their respect for her memory by making a good use of those advantages which had been placed within their reach…..The good things of this life were not given for our own gratification alone, and we must one day give an account of their use…. Sir Richard then declared the building open for the purposes of a school”.

The school building was used for religious services until the early 1920’s. However the old building had deteriorated after half a century of use and in 1926 it was condemned and a new brick school building was built nearby. Due to low attendance the new school was closed in 1941. The original school building was demolished in the 1960’s.

In the 19th century many rural churches were rented for use as State school rooms during weekdays. The Glenore school represents a variation of this arrangement and it is perhaps unusual in that it endured for over 50 years and well into the 20th century. The history of the school’s founding is an interesting example of the philanthropic spirit so common in the early years of the colony. It also provides us with a glimpse into a time when the importance and purpose of public education was changing and rapidly evolving to become a necessity rather than a luxury.

The old Glenore school before it was demolished in the 1960's. A marble plaque commemorating Mrs Jane Bryan can be seen on above the window on the left side of the photograph.  Source: Photograph kindly provided by Ivan Badcock

The location of the Glenore district in Northern Tasmania - source: placenames.gov.tas.au


Sources:

Launceston Examiner, Saturday 5 March 1864, page 3
Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 15 May 1907, page 3
Daily Telegraph, Thursday 22 October 1908, page 3
Mercury, Saturday 19 June 1926, page 8
Daily Telegraph, Saturday 19 June 1926, page 12

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