Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Joseph Glenny, country schoolmaster

Joseph Glenny was one of the Whau School District's early teachers. His background isn't certain, but appears to be associated from the 1860s with the Komokoriki/Ahuroa district.

In November 1871, he was appointed as a teacher at Matakana (SC, 18 November 1871). He was to serve Matakana and Omaha as a teacher-cum-librarian until August 1876.

On the evening of Monday, the 26th of July last, the settlers of Matakana and its neighbourhood met together in the Upper Matakana School-room, to bid farewell to then esteemed teacher, Mr. Glenny, who is leaving here to take charge of the Whau School. It rained pretty heavily in the early part of the day, but it cleared up about 1 p m., and although still threatening, and the roads very muddy, there was a very good attendance, the school room being well filled.

A most plentiful supply of good things had been provided. The tea department was well conducted, and reflected great credit on those ladies who presided. After full justice had been done at the tea table, Mr. Alexander Cruickshank, sen., was elected chairman, and a most varied and excellent programme of songs and recitations, intermingled with anecdotes was gone through, and the evening passed swiftly and pleasantly away. Where nearly every one performed their part well, it would be invidious to particularise.

Shortly before the close of the entertainment, the subjorned address and reply were read. This part of the evening's entertainment was brought to a close by the whole of the company joining in singing with great enthusiasm " Auld Lang Syne," this terminating one of the most successful entertainments ever held here.

After the close, the lovers of the "Light fantastic” adjourned to the Messers. Cruickshank's barn, where Terpsichore "reigned supreme till daylight did appear."—

The following is the address referred to above: — "To Joseph Glenny, Esq : Dear Sir, --"We, the inhabitants of Matakana and Omaha, desire on the eve of your departure from amongst us, to express to you our deep feelings of regret at your leaving the district. We feel the Ioss our schools will suffer in losing a most efficient, diligent and painstaking teacher. We also feel the great loss the neighbourhood will suffer in losing a most agreeable neighbour, and kind friend. You have by your unvarying kindness, urbanity and willingness to oblige gained the goodwill of everyone in the district. The members of our library are under lasting obligations to you for the great interest you have taken in promoting its success, and, also without fee or reward under taking the main portion of its management, including the delivery of books to members whenever they found it convenient to come for them.

We wish the accompanying testimonial had been more worthy of its object, but one thing we can assure you of, it is the unanimous heartfelt expression of the goodwill and esteem of the district towards you. While sorry to lose your services we are glad to hear that your worldly prospects will be much improved in your new situation. In conclusion, we wish you and Mrs. Glenny all success and happiness in your new sphere of duty, and throughout your future lives —Signed for the inhabitants by Alexander Cruishank, J. P. "

Reply : "Matakana, 26th July 1875.— Dear Friends,— When I say that I thank you for the address which you have presented to me, I feel how poorly and inadequately such words express the gratitude with which l am stirred. I am not naturally skilled in giving expression to my feelings at any time, and you may readily believe me when I say that on this occasion the genuine warmth and kindness of your sentiments and the generosity of your conduct towards me and Mrs. Glenny have left me less so than ever. Be assured, however, that I shall bear away with me a deeply cherished and lasting recollection of your friendship, every expression of which I most heartily reciprocate. You are pleased to refer to me in favourable - much too favourable terms— both in my public and private capacity. I ever strove to act right, according to the best of my ability, and feeling that I must often have been mistaken, it is very cheering to receive such a hearty expression of your sympathy and approval. Whatever degree of success I may have achieved in the discharge of my duties as your teacher, I feel that I owe a great part of it to the moral support of the parents of those children who have been confided to my care, and to them I return my most sincere thanks, and hope that they and the people of Matakana and Omaha will give the same support and uniform kindness to my successor. I am glad that I have been able to promote the success of your excellent library, and it will always be glad news to me to hear of the success and prosperity of the Matakana library. You have, by the kind words of your address, amply recompensed me for any trouble I have had in its management. In conclusion, I may say that it is with deep regret that I leave this district, thus severing the friendships that I have formed dining my residence amongst you, but I do heartily rejoice that I bear away with me your unanimous goodwill and esteem. And now it only remains for me to thank you for the entertainment you have this evening given me, thus affording me an opportunity of meeting you all for the last time. For this crowning act of your cordiality I feel deeply grateful, and on behalf of Mrs. Glenny and myself I wish you all good bye. —I am, dear friends, yours gratefully and obliged Joseph Glenny.

Before leaving the district, the soiree committee presented Mr. Glenny with £5 10s., proceeds of soiree after paying expenses, to purchase for himself some testimonial most to his wish in remembrance of Matakana. [Own correspondent]
(SC, 6 August 1875)

At the Whau, Glenny was the schoolmaster, looking after the educational needs of what was then a vast and spread-out district. Right from the beginning, it seems, he was enormously successful.

The annual distribution of prizes, previous to breaking up for the Christmas holidays, took place on Monday in the Public Hall in presence of the School Committee, and a number of the pupils' friends. The committee on this occasion departed from their usual course of examining the pupils in the various branches of school study, deeming it unnecessary to do so, the Board of Education having instituted an annual test examination. A Spelling Bee was substituted in lieu thereof, the pupils to the number of 70, being divided into eight classes, two prizes being for each division. Mr. Gittos acted as propounder, and Mr. Glenny, teacher of the school, as umpire.

After a keen and animated contest in each division, the prizes, which were given by Mr. Gittos with his usual kindness and liberality, were awarded as in the subjoined list. Mr. Gittos briefly addressed the pupils on the advantages of education, urging upon them the necessity of perseverance and attention, illustrating his subject by instances of those who attained distinction and honour by having made up their minds to try to succeed. The prizes were then handed to the fortunate recipients by Mr. Bollard, chairman of the School Committee, who on behalf of the other members of committee, complimented the teachers, Mr. Glenny and Mrs. Burns on the improvement in the school since they took charge of it. The parents present having carefully examined the needlework done during the half year, expressed themselves highly pleased with the progress made, and congratulated Mrs. Burns on the results of her care and attention in that department.

The day's proceedings were brought to a close with a school feast, which was liberally provided by the School Committee, and to which ample justice was done by all present. If happy and cheerful faces are an index of enjoyment, we should say, judging by the looks of the young people, that they heartily appreciated the efforts of the committee to minister to their comfort and pleasure. Three hearty cheers for the committee and teachers brought a happy day to a conclusion.

The following is the prize list :— First division : 1st prize, Richard Bollard ; 2nd prize, Agnes Lawrence. Second division: 1st prize, Ellison McLeod ; 2nd prize, Margaret Bollard. Third division: 1st prize, James Archibald ; 2nd prize, Sarah J. Hazel. Fourth division : 1st prize, William Sansom ; 2nd prize, John Archibald. Fifth division : 1st prize, Eliza Partington ; 2nd prize, Eliza Tate. Sixth division : 1st prize, Francis McLeod ; 2nd prize, Mary Ann McCaul. Seventh division : 1st prize, Mary J. Forsyth 2nd prize, William Bollard. Eighth division : 1st prize, James Webb ; 2nd prize, Thomas Wilson.
(SC, 22 December 1875)

Glenny followed this with an appeal to the trustees of the Whau Public Hall to consent to him opening up a night school in the area.
Dear Sir

In compliance with the wishes of a number of the inhabitants of this district I propose opening an evening school on the 7th prox. Will your Committee have any objection to giving me permission to use the Hall for this purpose on four evenings of the week, viz. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. In the event of your granting my request, I will at all times be ready to give way to all public uses for which the hall itself may be required.
(Letter from Joseph Glenny, 31 January 1876, John Bollard papers, Auckland Museum library)

It all came to an end, however, in 1881. For some reason, the Education Board insisted that Joseph Glenny be replaced as schoolmaster by Samuel Frederick Mayhew. The Whau School Committee were outraged, but were told that what the Education Board said, went. So, it was Mayhew who was the first teacher of the new school in May 1882. What happened to Glenny is, at the moment, not known. It looks like the school committee were organising a tesimonial presentation to him, judging from a small strip of blue paper found in the papers left to the Auckland War Memorial Museum Library by the family of John Bollard. A total of £8- 2/6 was gathered from the following members of the community:

Rev. R. Sommerville, 10/-; Mr. P Gallagher, 2/-; John Bollard, 10/-; James Archibald, 10/-; James Leach, 5/-; George Thomas, 10/-; Robert Dakin, 10/-; William Forsyth, 5/-; John Buchanan, 10/-; H. J. Bell, 5/-; R. Bollard, 5/-; F Bollard, 2/-; F. Harvey, 2/6; James Archibald, 2/6; David Archibald, 5/-; John Archibald, 2/6; John Sinclair, 5/-; Roland Hill, 2/6; James Buchanan, 2/6; John Wallace, 2/6; R. Garrett, 10/-; Mr. Johnson, 2/6; and John Wilson, 2/6. (Source: John Bollard collection of papers, MS 31, Auckland Museum Library.)

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