PUBLIC EDUCATION began in Manilla in September 1877, in the small Union Church built by the McGauley brothers on the rise above present-day Coronation Park at North Manilla.​ A brick schoolhouse for 50 pupils with attached residence was put up in 1879 and the school operated there until 1900. Below is the 1885 school photo before and after restoration.  ​

Original 1885 Manilla Public School photo
Original 1885 Manilla Public School Photo
Pupils with Mr. Murray & Miss McEwan
1885 Manilla Public School photo
1885 Manilla Public School photo.
Image restoration: D.Nichol 2001

In 1898, after 21 years of lessons on the north side of the river, lessons were transferred to the Mechanics institute, due to the danger to pupils crossing over bridge and river, to the north side. A new school opened in Court Street in 1901 with 200 pupils enrolled. 

The school building on the hill in North Manilla, now Coronation Park, remained as headmaster's residence until 1938. Its foundations can be seen on the site, along with an historical panel. Documents relating to the school were uncovered beneath the foundation stone and these are now kept in the Museum archives. 

The Union Church Manilla 1877
The Union Church 
August 6th 1881
6        Scripture Lessons (Old Testament)
6        Scripture Lessons (New Testament)
6        First Book of Lessons
10      Australian Class Book No.1
10      Australian Reading Book No.1
18       Reading Lessons in Sheets
48      Framed Slates
3         Boxes of Slate Pencils
2        Dozens of Pencil Cases
1 1/2  Boxes of School Pens
2        Dozens of Pen Holders
0        Bottles of Ink
7         Ink Powders
1/2     Box of Chalk
0        Ball Frame
2        Black Boards
4        School Maps: 
          World, Hemispheres, Australia, Europe

(Excerpt from a list amongst the Foundation Documents found in a time capsule at North Manilla in 1938.)



NB: This content is subject to ongoing research and review. Duplicate outdated texts may exist elsewhere on the internet.​ Please check here  for current editions.
Images: Manilla Community Archive unless otherwise stated.
Text Edits: ©Diana Nichol  2000-2020   E: |

Mobile phone viewers can browse more of this story on our web pages