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The Armidale Teachers’ College (1934 account)

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Friday 19 October 1934, The Sydney Morning Herald


The Armidale College.


It has been said that the responsibility which rests upon a Teachers’ College is greater than upon any other training institution. For the ideals which the college imparts to its students are those which they carry into the schools and convey to the children of the nation. A recent personal visit to the Armidale Teachers’ College satisfied the writer that the training given to students was animated by the highest ideals. Though the college has been established for only six years, its good influence has already extended to hundreds of country centres.

The Armidale college serves the purpose of training for the teaching profession young men and women whose homes are on the northern tablelands and in the north-western and north coastal districts of the State. The college itself is a noble structure, on the heights of Armidale, surrounded by 46 acres of playing fields, and a large Government reserve. The entrance avenue of English elms and oaks, bedecked at present with young foliage, the lawns and flower beds, the excellent provision for games of all kinds, and the fine panoramic views of the cathedral city and the countryside, are all in keeping with the aims of this modern Parthenon.


An imposing flight of steps at the entrance leads into a well-lighted vestibule floored with parquetry. Portraits of the Minister, Mr. D. H. Drummond, the former director, Mr. S. H. Smith, and the college principal, Mr. C. B. Newling, overlook the main staircase. Escorted by the principal, we visited the lecture rooms. In the science room, nature study, comprising botany and entomology, was being taught by the lecturer, Mr. C. G. James. The instruction dealt with the living plant in the form of grasses for lawns and for fodder, wheat life, improvements in pasturage, and insect pests. Each student is encouraged to form an entomological collection for use in nature-teaching. Various experimental plots were afterwards seen in the college grounds.

In the art room, Miss E. Browne was helping students to develop their powers in watercolour sketching, and to appreciate the beautiful in art. She displayed portfolios of prints, showing its historical development. Art in the home, art as applied to manual work, and plasticene-modelling, also formed part of the instruction. In one corner was seen a life-like sketch of the college gardener, produced in a one-hour’s demonstration lesson to students by Mr. Norman Carter. In another room, by means of amplified gramophone records, the musical appreciation of students was being fostered by their lecturer. Mr. Campbell Howard, extracts from Mozart’s operas being played during our visit. Later on we heard the trainees sing part-songs, and in the evening witnessed a rehearsal of Sullivan’s “Trial by Jury.”

In the manual training-room a number of men students were receiving hints from Mr. H. W. Oxford in various projects, and on how to teach through paper-cutting and cardboard up to the higher stages of woodwork. In an adjoining room, women students, under Miss Rollason, were being taught dressmaking and the latest methods of teaching sewing and darning to girls in country schools. A course in weaving was also in progress.

A visit to the large assembly hall was interesting in showing how “self-help” is being inculcated. Here a handsome proscenium curtain of fadeless silk poplin had been made by women students, and mounted in a workmanlike fashion by men students. Extensive back-stage hangings had been provided in the same manner, together with stage properties of various kinds. A cinema box had also been installed by students.


The college is replete with artistic decoration. The art benefactions of Mr. Howard Hinton in oil paintings, studies in water colour, black and white, and in etchings, are a feature of the college. British. French, and other schools tire represented. They include “The Locked Gates” (Adrian Stokes), “The Call of the Drum” (Maude Tindall Atkinson), “The Willow” (Hans Heysen), and “The Little Cardinal.” But these are not the only art works. In the library, reading-room and in the corridors are paintings by Streeton (four), Toni Roberts, Hans Heysen, Fred Leist, Lister Lister,. Julian Ashton, Harold Herbert, Norman Carter, J. R. Jackson, John D. Moore, Phillips Fox, Hilder, Gruner, Nora Heysen, Robert Johnson, Rupert Bunney; etchings by Douglas Pratt; sculpture by Raynor Hoff, and Japanese wood-cuts presented by A. Curtis. Artistry was shown in the mounting and hanging of the pictures and in the curtain decorations. The influence of this art collection, through young teachers, upon thousands of country pupils is incalculable.


A feature of the Armidale College is its large demonstration room where 150 students at a time may observe a lesson. Instead of the students proceeding in small groups to a demonstration school. a teacher from the school brings his pupils to the college, where he gives the lesson while the trainees take notes. Mr. Stove, headmaster of the demonstration school, who is responsible for these lessons, has a book which contains a synopsis of all that have been given-six lessons being usually given each week. This association with classwork brings each student into close touch with his professional work, and is producing a practical type of teacher specially adapted to the needs of country children.

The college instruction in English is in the capable hands of Mr. C. P. Gould and Miss Roulston. Mr. Gould also is producer of the various dramatic presentations that are staged from time to time. The gymnasium is an important adjunct, and at our visit Major Cahill from the Education Department was giving the second-year students a short “refresher course” in physical training-a special feature of college work. The gymnasium is used also for weekly social gatherings.

Among the students. Mr. S. O. Proudfoot is the union president. Allan J. Stanfield is the last college dux, and Lloyd Miller was the champion sprinter for 1933. The L.M. Cup is now held by Mr. Sam Proudfoot. To tell of “The Collegian” (issued weekly), of the Domesday Book of Sporting Records, of the pedestals for Technical College busts, and of the science and sketching clubs that on Saturdays roam the country-side, would occupy more space than is available. It is of interest, however, to mention that each year the outgoing students make some donation to the college equipment. Last year they presented an electrically synchronised clock system, together with a master clock. The large clock over the college entrance forms part of this scheme.

For purposes of emulation and sport, the students (most of whom are boarders) are grouped into four houses – the Drummond House, the Rose Thomas House, the Hinton House, and the Cantello House – and have separate banners. A central sports pennant is competed for periodically. The college is proud of its achievements in sport against doughty opponents, and it holds trophies in debate, athletics, cricket, and football.


This article would be incomplete without some reference to the girls’ hostel, known as the “S. H. Smith House,” where accommodation is provided for 140 girls in 70 rooms. At the portal hangs a large Art Gallery painting, “Peace to This House,” which, while admitting plenty of wholesome merriment, indicates the general character of the hostel. The steam heating, culinary, and laundry arrangements as shown by Mr. Newling, whose knowledge of detail in every section of his responsible work is remarkable, were all of the latest type. Miss Roulston, warden of the women students, resides here with the girls, and Mrs. Castling is the efficient matron.

Written by macalba

November 29, 2010 at 8:07 pm

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