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Historical Notes

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Historical Notes for May 2

The Grammar School Moved into its new home in 1913

“By a very happy coincidence the opening of the Grammar School last Monday afternoon in its new home (the fine and commodious building and grounds at Richmond Hill until quite recently known as the Agricultural School) fitted in nicely with the Governor’s visit to the colony. The occasion was a red letter one in the School’s history, and His Excellency who has always evinced a deep interest in the education system of his government, graced the function with his presence.{{more}}

Sir James accompanied by Lady Hayes Sadler, the Acting Administrator …Captain Ness and Mr. C.N Rice, arrived on the scene shortly before 5 p.m. and immediately the proceedings began. No invitation having been extended to us by the management we are not in a position to publish the very interesting remarks which must have been uttered by His Excellency and the other speakers, but we understand a very pleasant and instructive hour was spent by the many persons present. The prizes won during the December term were presented to the successful pupils by Lady Sadlar” (The Times, January 30, 1913).

The Colonarie and Warrawarrou Bridge

The Colonarie Bridge was erected in 1871 and the Warrawarrou Bridge in 1872.

Both bridges were destroyed in 1874. The direct cause was a heavy flood but despite this Administrator Gore stated that to an unprofessional eye the structure of the Colonarie bridge appeared weak, “the approaches and abatements being merely as it were retaining walls into which loose rabble had been poured so that once the outer covering had been washed away the contents escaped into the torrent; had the filling in been concreted I doubt very much whether the abatement would not have stood, although to a considerable extent undermined by the torrent”.

The Colonial Engineer

September 1, 1834

Stated to the Acting Colonial Secretary, letter September 1, 1874, “As far as I can make an examination, I believe the cause of this failure to be due to the north abatement becoming undermined, or the abatement being struck by large logs of timber (a quantity of which came down from the mountains) or from perhaps both these causes combined”. (McDowall, Colonial Engineer) Later stated that the Bridge ‘stood a rather severe test remarkably well’.

November 5, 1874 letter from Acting Colonial Secretary Edward Laaborde asking McDonnell the Colonial Engineer ‘to answer the charge of incompetence and unfitness for the Office you hold of Colonial Engineer in charge of the Public Works in this Colony’.

The charges – 1st “On the failure of the Colonarie Bridge by reason of the abatement walls having been built without proper foundations; 2nd On the failure of the Warrawarrou Bridge by reason chiefly of the want of proper foundations as well as by reason of the unskilful plan for its erection which placed the southern abatement so as to arrest and receive the full force of the natural flow of the river, instead of allowing the river to flow in its natural course between the two abatements; as also by reason of the insufficient thickness of the abatement walls and of the very unworkmanlike manner of their construction with inferior material”. 3rd -plans prepared by him- works carried out under his inspection- calls upon him to answer charges of incompetence. (Colonial Engineer’s report of November 23, 1874)

Then there is a long letter from Laborde to Governor Rawson, November 27, 1874 in which he refers to him as “a steady and assiduous officer, constant and anxious in the performance of his duties…”

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