Places we have lived

In this space I will insert any information about the places the Blyth's have lived in. Of importance to me is Caldwell, NSW and Northdown, Tas where I have lived and Myrtle Park and Patersonia in Tasmania where Vince was reared.

Northdown, Tasmania

This is where Vin and Margaret came to live in 1960 in the old schoolhouse at Bakers Lane, Northdown - otherwise known as "Bandicoot Hill".


Opened 1900 - Closed 1939
In 1900 a school was built and opened at Bakers Lane, Northdown, at a cost of 469 pound ; it was commonly known as "Bandicoot Hill". Mrs M. Stott was in charge of the thirty-six attending students. In the thirty-nine years the school was open, Mrs Stott held the record for the longest serving head teacher. She was succeeded in 1907 by Mr. M. T. Cheek, who remained there for one year only.

The school building was of typical State School design of the late nineteenth century. It consisted of a large schoolroom, 15ft .x 21 ft., attached to a residence for the teacher. There was a long verandah at the front and at the rear of the school were two sheds. One of these consisted of a roof with a single wall through the centre, this served as a lunch area and shelter shed, one side for the boys and the other for the girls. The children were not allowed to cross from one side to the other.

Miss K. M. Still was Head Teacher of the school in 1909, followed by Mr. Harry J. Henri from 1910-1915. Attending school was no simple matter for children in rural areas such as Northdown. They had chores to attend to early in the morning and then had to make their way through rough bush tracks, either on foot or horseback, to school, some coming from around five miles away. In 1916 Mr Oscar McCall was appointed Head Teacher at Northdown, he remained there for only one year and was followed by Mr Horace E. Miller. Some of the children attending school during this period were Les Maguire, Jack Baker, Don and Ross McDonald (sons of the postmistress at Thirlstane). They came to school on their first day wearing kilts. Other students were Jack Woodbury, Ted Reid, Syd Gardiner and members of the Morris, Nolan and Gardam families. Mr Reg Long, who was later to become Director General of Education in Tasmania, attended at this time also. He told me of his appointment by Mr McCall as paid monitor, at a salary of 10 pound annually. After three years at Northdown Mr Miller moved on and was replaced by Mr John McFayden. According to Board of Education records there were thirty-seven students enrolled, a drop of nineteen students in the space of two years.

For a period of ten years between 1922-1932 the school name was changed to Thirlstane, the name of a nearby district. The reason for this remains unexplained but in 1932 it was changed back to Northdown.

Board of Education records held at the Archives Office of Tasmania list the following teachers for the remaining years the Northdown School was open.

In tracing the history of the Northdown School, confusion can easily arise due to the fact that there was an earlier school with the same name, but in a different location. The first was built in 1861 on an acre of ground donated by Sam Thomas and situated opposite the St James Church of England. It was a two-story weatherboard construction, obviously built to last as it is still being used now as a private residence. There was an enrolment of 33 students under the instruction of Mr and Mrs R. Dargaville. The school operated from 1861 - 1885 when it was closed due to poor enrolments. It reopened in 1888 under Mr. A. Poole and operated until 1898. During the following years a new school was built at nearby Wesley Vale, on a block, which is now a public park. My family have lived in the Bakers Lane schoolhouse for 39 years. My parents, Vince and Margaret Blyth bought the building and 25 acres of ground in 1961. In 1969 with the assistance of family and friends the roof of the schoolhouse was lowered and the exterior altered to turn it into a spacious family home.

c2006 Kerrie Blyth | | privacy

[XHTML 1.0] [CSS]