Thursday, June 16, 2011

Early Catholic Education in Thames, NZ

Genealogists are usually disappointed that no school records exist for the pre1900 period for Thames Catholic Schools, considering how busy the schools were - it is a great loss, they would have had a wealth of family information.

There were two schools: St Thomas of Aquin's or Aquinas (on the corner of Queen and Walter Streets) and St Joseph's (in Willoughby Street). A history of catholic education is available in a booklet written by the 1973 Jubilee Committee; Chairman was Mr A Kenny. "100 Years Catholic Education in Thames" A copy of the booklet and other related church and committee information is available at The Treasury, Thames.

The book contains general information from the early years and a good collection of photographs, showing the changes to the schools over the years.

At present I am collating names from school end-of-year prizegivings, to give an indication of the names of children that attended the schools pre 1900s.  These Prize-givings are an excellent way to collect further information for all the schools in Thames; they were usually published in the latter weeks of December, each year. You may have to be creative with the family spelling of surnames, so I would advise searching by school name (if it is known).

Also look for school concerts in the Thames newspaper; the catholic schools held regular concerts to help with the school fees, to supplement the Sunday donations made at St Francis and St Brigid's Churches, for the schools.

St Francis (Catholic) Church & School Buildings, Thames NZ
(Source: 100 years Catholic Education in Thames)

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