CYCLOPEDIA OF NZ 1897
Mr William Mowbray, the headmaster, was born in Leicester, where he was educated for a time under the Rev. Canon Fry, afterwards going to St Marks College, Chelsea, for three years. He took up the profession of a teacher as long ago as 1856, teaching for two and a half years in his native place. He was engaged while in England to take charge of the Sydney Street Church of England School, and came out to the Colony to take up that position per ship `Midlothian,' arriving in Wellington in 1859. Mr Mowbray conducted the school successfully while it was a church school , and on its being taken over by the Board of Education, he still retained his position as headmaster. He has prepared a room in the school building where he can exhibit sun pictures by means of a lantern known as the `Heliostat' so that by the adaptation of mirrors and lenses on a sunny day, the children are afforded highly interesting as well as useful lessons, the pictures including views of places of note, of animals, of history, and also microscopic subjects. This room is fitted up so as to serve the purpose of a science room, and here he gives his lessons in electricity, chemistry etc. Mr Mowbray has expended a considerable sum of money in order to accomplish his purpose in this direction, but he is rewarded for the trouble he has taken by the keen interest displayed by the children in his science teachings. Mr Mowbray resides at the Lower Hutt, coming to town each day by the morning train, and returning at night. He has three sons and four daughters. One of the sons is employed as a salesman in Messrs. Levin and Co.'s establishment, another is in the Treasury, and the third is sheep-farming in the Forty-Mile Bush. In conjunction with the late Mr Justice Johnston, Mr Mowbray founded the original Choral Society of Wellington, and was conductor for the first fourteen years of its existence. For twenty years Mr Mowbray was choirmaster of St Pauls, Thorndon.
THORNDON PUBLIC SCHOOL
The Thorndon Public School, which was the first public school in the Empire City, was
originally established as a Church of England school in Sydney Street. It was
taken over by the Board of Education, when that body was established in Wellington.
The school is a handsome two-storey edifice, built of wood. It contains twelve rooms,
including the office, in addition to the infants' department , which comprises three large
rooms. This latter school is conducted on the kindergarten system with very great success
by Miss Page. There are 650 names on the roll of the school, inclusive of infants, and of
these 460 [245 girls and 215 boys] are in the main school. The headmaster is assisted by
seven certified teachers
and seven pupil teachers. In the infant department, independent of the rooms devoted to
school work, there is a very large room on the first floor, which is used for special
purposes, as well as for holding entertainments. It is fitted with a stage, and contains both
an organ and a piano; these instruments are used in the ordinary work of the school, as
well as on special occasions. Singing is a great feature in the kindergarten school; the
addition of instrumental music helps the little people in their action songs, which form a
most notable feature in this
branch of their instruction.
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