History Of Shannon School

Shannon School was built in 1889, its one hundred and twenty four years old. A lot has changed from 1889 to 2013. The one roomed building which served for many years as Shannon School was opened on Wednesday 17th July 1889 with Mr Voysey as teacher. By 1905 two more rooms had been added to the school and opened on April 19th. In the old days they had primers one, two, three and four.

Some Rules for Teachers in 1872
Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day's session.
Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys and trim wicks.
The teacher who performs his labour’s faithfully without fault for five years will be given 25 shillings extra per week in his pay.

Aunty Hui was a student at Shannon School, she attended school during the 1930's. She was able to tell us what she could remember when she came to Shannon School. When she was at school they could buy a piece of fruit for a penny. In the morning they would read some of the bible, then they sang 'God Save the King'. When they finished they would do some reading. They had fireplaces for warmth. Aunty Hui remembers some of the teachers weren’t very nice and if you were bad you got the strap, and if you were really bad you got six straps around the back of your legs. You had to use your manners at all times toward the teachers and parents. You called the teacher Mr and Mrs or Miss. At morning tea you had to drink yucky warm milk because it was left in the sun. You could buy some hot coco and soup for lunch for a penny or you could bring your own homemade lunch. Aunty Hui said they also traded lunches with each other. One of the popular games was marbles. Aunty Hui said there were more fights over marbles then anything else. There were gardens in the school house, the kids could grow vegetables in the garden and weed them. School finished at 3 o’clock. In school you could only write in pencil or with an ink pot and ink pen. In World War Two the first pens were invented but weren’t used in the schools until later.

Les Tunbridge (Willy’s Grandad) was also a student at Shannon School. He told us that he used to walk to school and go home to have his lunch. He remembered having the horrible warm milk at morning tea time. He said that the teachers were strict and you got dusters and chalk thrown at you, or you got smacked on the knuckles with a ruler if you talked at the wrong time. He also said that if your homework wasn’t done you had to sit in the corner with a dunce hat on for five minutes. The dunce hat was a big cone hat that the teachers made people wear to make them embarrassed.

During our inquiry we have learnt a lot of interesting information about Shannon and the people in our community.

Les Tunbridge
Aunty Hui
From Bush and Swamp by Marjorie Law

Team effort by Riki (Year 8) and Willy (Year 6).

Shannon School

In the early days at school there were a lot more children, about 750-800 in the whole school. The school times were 9am to 3 pm. There were up to 40 students in each classroom and 7-8 classrooms. The classrooms were heated with fires and later came oil heaters. You had to sit down and do what you were told to do otherwise you got the strap. The children were taught well but if you got a spelling word wrong you would also get the strap. Fred Killmister said, “It was easy to learn but sometimes you got a little distracted”. The cycle shed, baths and P.E shed are some of the older buildings at the school.

Yuck! and guess what? - the toilets were smelly long drops and when the girls went to the toilet the boys would pull out the tube down the bottom." Luckily they brought out a normal toilet. You had to be orderly and clean not smelly and dirty. If you were away you had to have a note. There was an incident where a boy sat down and another boy put a pencil facing up and the boy sat on it and then got rushed to the local hospital.

The stationery for kids was expensive but it was only ink with a pen and one exercise book, for the teacher it was a blackboard and a piece of chalk. The children had a park but the park was huge. In the older classes they would go to Wellington to a museum and back, or a trip on a ferry to Christchurch for the day and night. It was compulsory to swim in the main pool that had a diving board and every Friday afternoon the boys would clean the pool.


Keynote speakers: Mr Woodmass Fred Kilmister

By Liam (Year 6).