Saturday, May 12, 2012


Charles Page, Ethel Governor's father, has remained a shadowy figure in all accounts of the Jimmy Governor story so far, with very little known about him.
His marriage registration reveals he was born in Lincolnshire, England, c.1839, the son of a farmer.
At the time of his marriage, in April 1881, he was 42 and working as a farmer at Kinchela Creek, north of Kempsey.
Kinchela Creek later became the site of an Aboriginal school and then an Aboriginal boys' home.
Charles' wife, Julia Moore, was 23, 19 years younger than him.
Her place of birth was Gloucester, England and the occupation of her deceased father, printer.
The couple were married in the Weslyan (Methodist) tradition at the home of the two witnesses, rather than at the local Weslyan church.
They then went on to have eight children, with Ethel the first  in 1882 and Henry the last in 1899 when Charles Page was 60.
For location, see KINCHELA - GOOGLE MAPS

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Yesterday I found performance reports ot three of the four female teachers who taught the Mawbey children at Breelong West.
All of them were there because they were struggling to make the grade as fully qualified teachers.
These teachers were Laura Squires, Mary Ann Edwards (my grandmother) and Ellen Kerz.
The first one was Mary Robinson whose details I will get the next time I am at NSW State Records.
In 1867, the NSW Department of Public Instruction had established a system of Provisional Schools in areas where there were between 15 and 25 children needing an elementary education.
During the 1880s, the minimum number was reduced to 12, and in 1898, to 10.
These schools, like the one at Breelong West, were generally staffed by untrained teachers, or by teachers of the lowest classification.
Ellen Kerz, the teacher who was murdered by Jimmy Governor, had been instructed by the Department of Public Instruction to 'act' as a teacher at Breelong after failing to pass the exam for admission to teacher Training School.
Mary Ann Edwards, who was the teacher at Breelong the year before Miss Kerz, stuggled with her teaching exams too, but unlike the other three, managed to pass her admission to Training School.
After graduating from that, she was posted to Stanmore Public Infants, and subsequently to Breelong West Provisional School.
She left Breelong in June 1899 to do another teaching exam in Sydney, but then failed to gain classification.
Miss Edwards was then transferred to act as a teacher at Woodfield Probationary Public and then as an assistant at Lithgow Public Girls School.
At Lithgow her annual salary was raised from 88 pounds to 90 pounds.
She then went to Wallsend Public Girls School and then Wickham Infants (built 1892), both in the Newcastle area, before retiring without gratuity on 25 September 1903.
Mary Ann Edwards subsequently married John Mawbey (2) whom she had met at Breelong.

                                                                     Wickham Infants
                                                                      (Source: Wikipedia)

Laura Squires, the teacher before Miss Edwards, had so much trouble failing to pass her teaching exams that the Minister decided she had to take the job at Breelong, a second class provisional school, or resign.
She was even given the date by which she had to resign if she refused to take up this offer, 30 June 1897.
It was Laura Squires who had difficulty getting on with Sarah Mawbey with whom she was boarding at Breelong.
Miss Squires ended up moving out and going to live with another family, causing ill will with Mrs Mawbey.
Her former landlady retaliated by withholding her children from the school, thereby adversely affecting the amount of money Miss Squires was paid.
Miss Squires was at Breelong when it was a home school and then when it was upgraded to a provisional school.
The other schools Miss Squires taught at were Darling Road Infants, Penrith Public Infants, Bexley Public, Erskinville Girls Public, Jenolan Caves Provisional and O'Grady's Home School.
She was then a teacher's assistant at North Broken Hill Public and Burke Ward Primary, a temporary assistant at Chatswood Girls Public, and finally, an assistant at Tempe and Darlinghurst Girls.
When she retired without gratuity from 14 August 1908 she was earning 90 pounds per annum.