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Petone's First 100 Years (1940)

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Educational Facilities

Petone has been fortunate that she has always possessed men of vision who had a passion for education.
In this regard, two Scotsmen—whose nation has always been prominent in the cause of education—and a Wellington-born New Zealander, stand out prominently. They are, respectively, Rev. A. Thomson, Mr. D. McKenzie, and Mr. G. T. London, the memory of whom Petone honours.

Hutt Valley Memorial Technical College.

The Petone Technical School was established in 1904. The carpentry class was held for the first month in a rented workshop at the back of Ayres's chemist shop and subsequently in the top flat of Radford's shop; the other classes were held in the Central School. The number of students attending was 83.
The first Board of Managers was constituted as follows:—Rev.
A. Thomson (chairman), Messrs. W. G. Lodder, G. Duncan, J. W. McEwan, J. G. Castle, W. Ramsden, H. Findlay, R. Mothes; and the first instructors were Miss Stewart, Messrs. J. H. Lynskey, B.A., Gifford, Hooper and Burn.
Price's Building (on the corner of Campbell Terrace and Sydney Street) was afterwards used for the School until the brick building and wooden annexe were provided adjoining the recreation ground in 1908.
This building was used as the Petone Hospital during the influenza epidemic of 1918, Dr. Ross being in charge.
The building was also used by the Petone District High School during the day-time for its senior classes and when it was disestablished and the Hutt Valley High School instituted, that school made the building its home until its Lower Hutt building was erected.
The evening classes continued to develop and expand during the next 20 years. As a result of the Board's persistence in the matter, the Technical High School was established in 1930, with 80 pupils in the day classes and 327 in the evening classes. The name was changed to Petone Memorial Technical College.
The establishment of the High School necessitated more accommodation and the first two storeys of the Workshop Block in Kensington Avenue were completed in 1932. Additions to this block were made in 1935–6 and again in 1937–8.
The brick building, built in 1908, was demolished towards the end of 1935 to make way for the existing fine wooden building, which was occupied at the beginning of 1937. In this building are 8 class rooms, the library, the office, the Principal's room and the staff room. The name was changed to Hutt Valley Memorial Technical College.
The numbers attending the College in 1938 were:—Full-time classes (333), part-time manual training (609), part-time art (120), part-time evening classes (847); total, 1,909.
Chairmen of Board of Managers:—Rev. A. Thomson (1904–1914), Messrs. J. G. Castle (1914–1919), D. McKenzie (1919–1934), W. B. Nicholson (1934- ). Mr. Nicholson became a member of the Board in 1905 and the late Mr. D. McKenzie in 1907.
Directors and Principals:—E. King, M.A., B.Sc. (1908), J. H. Lynskev,
B. A. (1909–1921), J. T. O. Stephens (1921–1922), D. S. Bedingfield, B.A. (1922–1928), F. G. Thompson, M.A. (1928–1930), A. McFadven, B.Sc., M.I.Mech., E. (1930- ).
The members of the present Board of Managers are:—Mr. W. B. Nicholson (chairman), Mrs. M. C. Chappell; Messrs. N. M. C. Amies, E. N. Campbell, W. V. Dyer, A. Grierson, E. S. Neill, F. C. E. Parr, J. Stonehouse, F. A. Toombs, P. E. Warner.
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Hutt Valley Memorial Technical College

Petone Central School.

This school, the first in Petone, was opened in Johnson's Hall, Sydney Street (opposite Messrs. McEwan and Carter's present premises) on February 1st, 1882; Mr. C. R. Joplin being sole teacher. Twenty-eight pupils attended on the first day.
The new school of 3 rooms, on the present site was occupied on September 24th, 1883, with a roll of 107. A separate Infant's School of 4 rooms—still in use—was erected in 1897. In 1907, the main school was added to and remodelled to its present proportions.
In 1905, the School was proclaimed a District High School, and the secondary department under Mr. J. H. Lynskey, Mr. Eustace King and Miss Ross, was accommodated in Price's Building on the corner of Sydney Street and Campbell Terrace. In 1915, the secondary classes were removed, to the Technical School Building.
In 1909 the roll number was 1,043 and the staff numbered 25.
In 1930, the Petone Technical High School began day classes and the school became officially known as Petone Central.
The Roll of Honour contains over 120 names; 32 having made the Supreme sacrifice.
Over 70 old pupils have represented Wellington at rugby football.
Successive headmasters:—C. J. Joplin, Jas. Home, W. H. Foster, M.A. C. N. Haslam, M.A., D. S. Bedingfield, B.A., T. W. Moore, M.A., R. Cole, H. H. Sutton, B.A.
Chairmen of Committee:—Messrs. Manning, Rev. A. Thomson, D. McKenzie, J. Kyle, O. Silbery, F. Davis, Jackson Hughes, J. Ash.
Secretaries of Committees:—Messrs. Johnston, J. List, R. Kirk, J. Kyle, Jackson Hughes, O. Silbery, Ashman, J. Scott, Mills, L. Double.
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The present Committee are:—Messrs. J. A. Ash (chairman), F. Dales (Secretary), F. A. Archbold, G. G. Gledhill, H. Logan, J. Richards, L. C. Wray and Mrs. W. Davis.
After the establishment of Petone West and Wilford Schools the roll number gradually declined to its present number, 490.
The Education Department is preparing for the erection of a new school on the present Police Station section in Elizabeth Street.

Petone Convent School.

Before Petone had its own Catholic school, the Sisters of Mercy came on Sundays to teach the truths of Faith to Catholic children. These children could obtain the full benefit of a Catholic education only by making what was then a fatiguing journey to the Hutt. Those unable to travel this distance twice daily, attended the only school in Petone—the Central School in Jackson Street. Immediately Father Maples was appointed parish priest of Petone, he sought to acquire a school of their own for the children. His ambitious undertaking assumed material form on 18th October, 1903, when Archbishop Redwood laid the foundation-stone of an imposing brick school to be built beside the Church in Britannia Street. This structure, far in advance of their present needs, could accommodate 220 pupils in its 4 spacious rooms. When the school year of 1904 opened the building was still unfinished; nevertheless, 65 children were assembled and classes began in the open air. Some 5 weeks later, the official opening by Archbishop Redwood gave great satisfaction to all Catholic parents of Petone.
The teaching was undertaken by the Sisters of Mercy from St. Mary's Convent, Hill Street. A party of 3 Sisters caught an early morning train from Wellington and walked from Petone Station to the school. Assisted by a young lay teacher, two Sisters taught in the school and the third gave music lessons. Every day for 5 years, the Sisters continued to travel to and from Wellington in all weathers. But the increasing numbers of children required their presence continually in the district, and the Archbishop desired that a convent be established.
At the time the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions in Christchurch were able to make a foundation. Seven Sisters arrived in 1909 and resided in Richmond Street. They opened the school that year with 121 children and 3 teachers. Two Sisters conducted a school for 50 children at Lower Hutt where they travelled each day. In 1910, the Sisters purchased two cottages beside the school and transformed them into a convent. When a chapel was erected, all was ready for the Sisters to take up residence.
Since that time, the Sisters of the Missions have trained many hundreds of young citizens and thus contributed in no small way to the progress of our Borough. Several of their pupils have succeeded in gaining scholarships at our Catholic Colleges and elsewhere. On the playing field as well as in the class room, their performances have been very creditable, the school excelling in all branches of sport.
During these years, the development of the school has exceeded even Father Maples's most ambitious dreams. The accommodation provided was already taxed to the utmost by the year 1925, when the roll numbered 245. Additions were necessary, and on October, 1925, Archbishop O'Shea laid the foundation-stone of a modern school for the infant department. This brick school of one spacious room, was opened in 1926 and provided facilities for a further 50 children. The school continued to grow in efficiency and in numbers until, on the 30th anniversary of its foundation, the roll numbers had mounted to 260 with 5 teachers. At present, the 6 Sisters teaching in the school, have charge of 269 children.
It is a tribute to the thoroughness and foresight of Father Maples that his original school is still giving excellent service. Although modern school
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planning was unknown in his day, his successors have been able to incorporate in his original plan the most recent ideas in school designing. During 1939, the building was completely modernized and two handsome entrance porches added.

Koro Koro School.

This school, pleasantly situated in Petone's hill suburb "Sky-town," was opened on November 7th, 1904, under the official name Maungaraki. It consisted of one room with a roll number of 36. Miss Bullock was temporarily in charge for 3 months till the arrival of Miss N. Johnston, who had charge till 1912.
Head teachers following her, were Miss E. B. Lea, Mrs. J. Fanning, Miss Hooper, Mrs. Read, Mrs. Smeardon and Miss Allan (at present in charge). In 1908, the roll number had risen to 54, and for some years the school was entitled to an assistant; the following acting in that capacity:—Misses Gaudin, Kilmartin, Rose, Smith, Dorgan, Rains, Cunningham, Cooper and Wilson.
Chairmen of Committees:—Messrs. S. Glading, J. Hailwood, J. H. McMillan, Snodgrass, R. Wakefield, R. A. Jones, Jensen, Scroggs, H. E. Fleet, S. G. Jones.
Secretaries of Committees:—Messrs. J. Babington, Heppleston, Scroggs, N. E. Forsyth, A. G. Heyward, Black, H. E. Fleet.
The present Committee consists of:—Mr. S. G. Jones (chairman), Mr. D. S. Packwood; Mesdames T. Haines (secretary), Jones and A. Huggan.
In 1915 a new room was added.
The first pupils to gain Proficiency Certificates (1905) were Howard Bond, Ernest Jowett and Leonard Millward.
The present roll number is 30.
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Koro Koro School and Fire Station.

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Petone West School.

In 1907 the Petone District High School was overcrowded and the erection of a new school became imperative. After a good deal of controversy regarding the best position for the new school, the present Hutt Road site was purchased from the Warenas and other Maoris, and the school was opened on September 13th, 1909, with a roll number of 398, most of whom transferred from the District High School. The first staff comprised Messrs. D. Bedingfield, B.A., E. King, J. Ogg, Misses A. Cook, E. Carter, S. Kelley, Wright and Braddock.
In 1920 the remainder of the block (facing Jackson Street) was purchased from the same group of Maoris.
In 1915 the infants' classes were transferred to Prices' Building, on the corner of Sydney Street and Campbell Terrace, previously occupied by the secondary department of Petone District High School.
In 1927 the new infants' school of 4 rooms was built on the Jackson Street frontage.
This year two detached modern open-air rooms have been built, and the main brick school has been remodelled and made earthquake-proof.
The school has had only two headmasters; Mr. Bedingfield transferred to Petone District High School in 1921. Mr. J. C. Burns, M.A., an ex-scholar of the old Petone School succeeded him and is still in charge.
The roll number is now 510.
Chairmen of Committees:—Messrs. J. G. Castle (10 years), H. Jay, A. G. Steffensen, W. H. Shardlow, J. Kyle and W. Barrett.
Secretaries of Committees:—Messrs. W. G. D. Evans, H. Morris, W. H. Shardlow, H. Jay, McBean, H. Heyward, J. W. Greenwood, V. E. Bradstock, E. S. Fry, Patten, Mehaney, Lister, F. Ashman, P. MacFarlane.
Present Committee:—Messrs. S. G. Townsend (chairman), W. J. Jarvis (secretary), F. C. E. Parr, G. H. Laird, L. A. Jarvis, J. Knowles, H. Ingham, G. M. Taylor and W. L. Saunders.

Wilford School.

At this school, situated in William Street, on the Wilford estate, work commenced in the 4 rooms on October 19th, 1927, with Mr. J. F. C. Hiddleston as headmaster, with a staff of 3 and a roll number of 143. It was officially opened by Hon. T. M. Wilford in the following month.
With the rapid settlement of the area, the roll rose rapidly, and in 1930 two new rooms had to be added.
The roll at present is 425 with a staff of 10.
The school now contains 10 rooms, 2 of which are completed up-to-date on the open-air principle.
The school has a play ground area of 5 acres, making ample provision for a full sized football ground and attractive gardens.
Headmasters succeeding have been:—Mr. J. H. M. Finlayson (1928- 1930), Mr. Marryatt (1930–1936), Mr. C. A. Batt (1937).
Successive chairmen:—Messrs. E. Jackson-Hughes, G. Lochhead, E. Smyrk, V. A. Noble, G. Fairburn. Secretaries:—Messrs. V. A. Noble, W. H. Edwards, H. B. Martin, H. V. Morgan, W. P. Watkinson.
Present Committee:—G. Fairbairn (chairman), W. P. Watkinson (secretary), J. Robson (treasurer), W. B. Martin, C. Green, A. Harvey, T. G. Caldwell, R. J. Hill, W. H. Sweeney.

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