DISCOVERING that 19th century school teachers were paid less than a common labourer has paid off for Warrnambool historian Elizabeth O’Callaghan.
Mrs O’Callaghan’s latest piece Second to None: Warrnambool National School recently won the Prahran Mechanics’ Institute Victorian History Library short history prize.
She said the booklet was one of the more difficult ones she had completed and was excited to receive the award.
“For it to be called an excellent piece, I was happy,” she said.
“It is one of my better works. I was pretty happy because I did put an enormous amount of time into the booklet.”
Her piece records the history of the Warrnambool National School which first opened as a local school in 1849 at the corner of Banyan and Timor streets.
She said the national school system was modelled on an Irish system and was best suited to isolated or country areas.
“The building included accommodation for the teacher and his family,” Mrs O’Callaghan said.
Unfortunately the original building is no longer standing.
She said the Warr-nambool school was the sixth National School opened in the colony of Victoria.
Mrs O’Callaghan has been involved in the Warrnambool Historical Society for 15 years.