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The school

School and church

A little school was built at the southern end of the row of warders' cottages in 1874, to cater for the growing number of warders' children on the island. On Sundays, it served as the church for warders and their families.

The school was conducted as an ordinary State school, with teachers supplied by the Department of Public Instruction – but the school teacher had to take on additional duties. In the evenings, he was expected to teach a class of prisoners and to act as a warder in cases of emergency, when he was to ‘get under arms’ and help in the defence of the armoury. So that he could prepare himself for such a crisis, the teacher was to fire a minimum of twenty rounds of ball cartridge at practice every two months.

When wives and children were banned from the island in 1890, the building’s use was confined to Sunday church services for warders, usually conducted by visiting clergymen.

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