Church of England School


Mr A Evans in the History of St Marys, Local History Section, Penrith Library mentions that in the late 1850s a Church of England day school opened on a narrow strip of land on the east side of Princess Street. The headmaster was Mr Edward Lincoln who was assisted by one teacher. This date may not be correct as Edward Lincoln took over as Postmaster on the 1 October 1851. He had previously been known as the Church of England schoolmaster and conducted the business in his residence next to the school for the next few years. (1) Edward Lincoln died in 1863 and is buried at St Marys Magdalene Church, St Marys. (2)

Mr George Bennet remembers that there was a Church of England denominational school in the 1850s and the headmaster’s name was Schwatzkoff. He came from the west and was one of the best teachers St Marys had. (3) Mr Schwatzkoff was the Principal teacher of the Church of England School from 1871 to 1873 in other reports. (4)

On 28 April 1864 there was an Inspection of the Church of England Denomination Primary School at South Creek. The teacher Samuel Crawford had been in charge for six months. The number of children present at the inspection was 30 boys and 23 girls. The number on the roll was 36 boys and 29 girls. The premises had some repairs done to them since the last teacher, the roof had been repaired, the walls whitewashed and the bell was hung up. There had been some new desks supplied but there were still not enough. The discipline in the school was good but the reading ranged from good to only very fair. The writing on the slates and on paper was very fair. In the general remarks the Inspector’s comments are that the teacher is leaving for a School at Rouse Hill, to the great regret of the Local Board and parents. “There was quite a demonstration at the Railway Station as Mr Crawford left the pupils cheering him and his wife. For years past this school has been at a very low point . . . PS Mr Bagley appears to be doing very well and likes the place.” (5)

A Time Table in the NSW Archives for a Church of England School around 1864 covered the list of subjects to be taught as Old Testament, New Testament, Church Catechism, Writing on Slates, writing in copy books, dictation and spelling, arithmetic oral written and mental, reading, grammar and etymology, geography, general, Australian and Palestine, history, reproduction, mapping and drawing, mutual examination, vocal music, drill, gallery or object lesson, needlework, familiar lecture and training monitors. Fifteen minutes every morning from 9 – 9:15 am was spent in inspecting cleanliness and opening the school with prayer and singing, drill and collecting home lessons. At 12:00 noon there was closing of the school and singing grace. School resumed at 2:00 p.m. to 4:10pm. The last ten minutes was spent distributing tickets, closing the school, and prayer and singing. (6)

There is a report of the annual examination of St Marys Church School on 14 January 1871 conducted by the Rev. James Ross, rural Dean, Rev W Kildah, Mr John King Lethbridge JP and Dr Thomas. There were then 102 children on the roll and Mr Schwarzkoff was the headmaster with Mr Campbell as his assistant.On 19 December 1873 each child of the Church School was presented with a book by the Minister, Rev John Vaughan, who had come from O’Connell in the Bathurst district and in 1881 went on to found the new parish of Summer Hill between Ashfield and Petersham. At this function in 1873 an address and a purse containing sixteen sovereigns were presented to Mr Schwarzkoff who had been headmaster for five years and was leaving to go to St John’s Parramatta. (7)

The Church of England school, built of brick and stone, and equipped with “a very complete stock of furniture, books and maps had an enrolment of 58 children (as against around 30 at the National school). It had a more central position (on a site adjoining the present site of St Marys Public School, on the South side) and better buildings. In 1874 its enrolment was 98 (Public School 41) .(8)


  1. Evans, AA, The Post Offices of St Marys, LHS, Penrith Library, p 3
  2. Burial Records, St Marys Magdalene Church, LHS, Penrith Library.
  3. Nepean Times, 22 November 1924 p 4
  4. Stapleton Eugenie, Other Days, Other Ways, St Marys Historical Society, 1985.
  5. NSW Archives File 5/17577.2 St Marys
  6. NSW Archives File 5/17577.2 St Marys
  7. Stapleton Eugenie, Other Days, Other Ways, St Marys Historical Society, 1985
  8. Nepean Times, 10 August 1961, W E McCulloch, Education in St Marys, A Brief History, p 9-10.