Looking back: Clare's original school

The former TafeSA building was once the Clare Primary School which officially opened in 1879.

The former TafeSA building was once the Clare Primary School which officially opened in 1879.

In the Clare Inn in 1849 a public meeting was held when it was resolved that a school should be opened in Clare.

It was agreed that the Irish National School system should be adopted. A Committee was set up and William Lennon was the successful candidate to be the first schoolmaster.

He had come to Clare at his own expense hoping to secure the position and brought his young family with him and a recommendation from Bishop Murphy.

One year later the school had not been built much to Lennon's disgust as he had no house to reside in and no school to teach in.

However, Bishop Murphy came to his rescue and gave him a large room in St Michael's Chapel in Victoria Road and a house to reside in.

Lennon was known to be a good teacher with a sound knowledge of legal and business affairs.

He became a member of the South Australian Parliament in 1860-61, was first clerk of the Clare District Council, first Clerk of the Clare Corporation when it was formed and was clerk of the Clare Local Court.

He was an auctioneer and made for lively proceedings with this ready wit. His name is perpetuated in Lennon Street.

After much bickering, the new school was built at the corner of Mill and Union Streets at a cost of 572 pounds, with Mr L. W. Stanton as the first schoolmaster when it opened in 1872.

After the school was opened the Northern Argus printed that there were less children roaming the streets and making mischief.

The school was designed for 120 but soon increased to 200 with an average attendance of 150.

The playground was a private property next door down and the children were drilled in the narrow street (Mill Street) at the side of the school.

Pupils were packed in like sardines in a tin with 100 or more roaming the streets due to lack of accommodation in the school.