Wednesday, 13 October 2010




As already recorded, during the very early days schools went hand in hand with the churches and missions.

In 1895, as previously mentioned, the first school was started in Manicaland by Miss Miles, later Mrs. Dick Tulloch. The population of the surrounding districts at that time was two hundred and seventy two men, thirty three women and thirty six children all under the age of twelve years. So Miss Miles' pupils numbered twelve and her school was started in a pole and dagga hut, not in the best stage of preservation, but with a coat of white-wash inside, a little extra thatch outside, and the low window draped with calico, it was made rather more presentable. There was a table, a chair for the teacher, and facing it was a trestle of boards fixed on planted poles which served as a desk.

The equipment consisted of two slates and exercise books made from trimmings left over from the Rhodesia Advertiser (later Umtali Post). A few suitable pictures taken from illustrated papers were tacked on the walls. Another interesting feature was the high stool and dunce cap, where the disgraced pupil had to sit and suffer at times. The author, one of Miss Miles pupils, remembers her as being an excellent and pleasing teacher. During a nature study lesson, on reaching a pool, a water frog made its appearance. Miss Miles, in her zeal to interest her young pupils, leaned over, too far and tumbled into the deep water! Her small pupils stood round and gaped at her with her long dress billowing on the surface of the water; their one concern was to know if her feet were touching the ground or not. However, she was soon rescued by an admirer of hers. Frank Hulley, who was one of Miss Miles' pupils, was disobedient one day and Miss Miles considered a large girl's hat was more suitable for the occasion than the dunce's cap which she tried to make Frank don. Rather than face humiliation he jumped out of the window and ran away!

So much for Miss Miles' first school. On arrival in New Umtali in early 1897 Mrs. Hugh Tulloch (Rosa St. Clair) lost no time in getting the next school started. This was at 52 Park Road, Darlington and as most of the pupils were her own children and relations, it was called Tulloch School. She was a born teacher; fair-minded, and a good disciplinarian. On the other hand , very kind, and went all out to help her pupils all she could. At this time Sir Robert Baden Powell's idea of Boy Scouts had not materialised and a small contingent had been formed by the above school which they named the Darlington Guards, which was operating in Umtali. This school was responsible for, the first youth football team being started. It had no captain - all the members of the team in a vote for captaincy had voted for themselves, so it was considered wise to leave the post of captain vacant! Many of tho pupils names are worth recording for future reference, such as Alistair Tulloch (Sandy Tulloch's son) the first white child born in Manicaland; Ewan Tulloch, who became the Chief Mining Engineer in Rhodesia; Ernest Tulloch (killed in the First World War) and recorded in the Roll of Honour in the Memorial Chapel in Umtali; Jack Tulloch murdered whilst managing a timber saw-mill); Frank Hulley P.N.C. who received the Imperial Service Order in 1948.

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It appears that towards the end of 1897, Umtali began to form the rail-head for the coming railway. It was then that the High Commissioner, Sir Alfred Milner, came out to review the present site and whilst in Umtali he interviewed Miss Miles. As a result, he promised her a grant for furniture, tables and forms for individual pupils. These forms were so highly polished when they arrived that the pupils took a delight in sliding down them, much to Miss Miles horror. The school moved from Old Umtali to the present site and the Government made available a wood and iron office which was also moved from the old site. This consisted of a large school room, which was erected near Kopje House (the Hospital). The pupils numbered twenty seven and the parents paid twenty one shillings a term as school fees. When Miss Miles married Mr. Dick Tulloch in 1898 she retired. After her departure, her sister-in-law, Mrs. Player Miles, took1 over and taught the children until late 1898, when the Methodist Episcopal Church opened its school as previously related. In the same year it is recorded that a meeting was held in the Court House, Major Scott Turner taking the chair. It was agreed to use the corner of Government buildings for a school. This had two names - Umtali Public School and the Academy, and the Rev. Ehnes was head, assisted by his wife, soon after their arrival from America. He started work in 1900 and had considerable difficulty in arranging the school owing to the delay and loss of books on the way. He and his wife and Mrs. Hugh Tulloch were responsible for the first school concert.

Owing to illness, the Rev. Ehnes was unable to continue and a new head, Rev. Amory Beetham, replaced him in 1901. In the same year the school vacated its present site which was rented at one hundred and fifty pounds per annum, owing to the increase of pupils to forty eight (as previously mentioned).

The unfinished Goldfields Hotel at the corner of Second Street and D Avenue was taken over, by the school, and named Umtali Academy. It was a double storey building and well suited for school facilities. Mrs. Hugh Tulloch was reported to be at her desk every day, and received special mention by Mr. Duthie, then a supervising inspector, later Director of Education. By 1904 Umtali Academy was no longer the only school. Mrs. Hugh Tulloch left the Academy to assist Rev. Arthur Robins, of the Anglican Order to start St. John's Public School. The reason for starting a new school was that the parents were not satisfied with the standard of teaching at the Academy.

The Rev. Robins was a strict disciplinarian, an actor, and had he lived today, would have been at home with modern methods of teaching. Many old Umtalians of today still remember the excellent school plays he produced including the ostumes and the decor. Rev. Robins, when he entered the class, had a clicker. At the first click the pupils would respectfully stand up and say good morning to him, and on the second click the good morning was to Mrs. Tulloch.
During physical exercises first thing in the morning, all was conducted by the sound of the clicker, each click denoting the order and timing of the exercises, without a word being spoken. When the exercise was not in order, then the company was severely rebuked.

The Government, when they heard that Rhodes Trustees had given one hundred pounds towards a public school, considered this was not in order and opposed it. However, in spite of Government opposition, the Church of England school progressed, the reason being that all denominations were included.

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It was in 1908 that the Church of England public school and the Academy Public school amalgamated, to the annoyance of many of the pupils1 parents, Mr. Garner, who had had a most brilliant University career, arrived. He seemed the ideal person to weather the storms brewing at the time, and was elected Headmaster. Many old Umtali residents will remember him. He was Irish and had a quick temper and made full use of the cane for all purposes. On one occasion, when his pupils were lined up before him, one pupil gave a ridiculous answer to his question. He immediately whipped out his cane and struck him. In so doing, the point of Mr. Garner's cane hit another pupil in the eye and blood flowed. He was so overcome with horror that he fainted. The pupil concerned went to see Dr. Craven and after a stitch or two recovered, but Mr. Garner had learned his lesson - not to be so hasty. Mrs. Tulloch was retained and continued her career as a teacher and the Rev. Robins retired. The school had one hundred and seventeen pupils in various standards. The teachers were as follows:

Mr. Garner, Head; Mr. Taylor., Mrs. Tulloch, Miss Blezard and Miss Nesbitt (daughter of Sally Nesbitt) and -from there onwards the schools increased rapidly. In 1910 the Old Umtali Academy was in a dilapidated condition and proved unsafe. One pupil, now Mrs. Parkin, had the misfortune of falling through the rotten floor boards of the music room. So the School Advisory Committee condemned tho building. A new site near the Market Square was selected, and eventually a new school was erected. Owing to the rapid expansion of the school the Masonic Lodge was hired for five pounds per month. In 1913 Mr. Sutherland, a bachelor and known as a dour Scot, skilfully guided the school through the First World War, a war that eventually took a great toll of many -of the students.

I would like to continue further with the history of the schools but time and space are running out. Unfortunately, in the early stages, small communities were scattered far apart in Manicaland and other provinces of Rhodesia. Many parents thus found it impossible to send their children to schools and had to undertake the education of their children themselves - a noble effort. However, when Correspondence Courses were started by the Government this was a great blessing to the community.

Today the schools which have grown from small beginnings into large educational establishments are woven into the very fabric of our lives. Those noble Headmasters who assisted in the great progress of the schools deserve that their names should be preserved in the history of our lands:

Mr. W. Garner, B.A. (Int) RUI, 1909 - 1912
Mr.. J.G. Sutherland, M.A., F.G.S., FR MET C., U.H.S., 1913 - 1921
Mr. H.G. Livingston, M.A., M.C., U.H.S., 1922 - 1929
Mr. B.B. Hill, B.A., M.C., C.B.E., U.H.S., 1931 - 1947
Mr. A.D. Gledhill, M.A., U.H.S. 1949 - 1953. U.B.H.S. 1954 - 1955
Mr. K.M. Fleming, B.A. Dip Ed., U.B.H.S., 1956 - 1971
Miss M. McLaughlin, B.Sc., U.G.H.S., 1954 - 1958
Miss E.M. Clark, B.A. Dip. Ed., U.G.H.S., 1958 - 1977.

End of Chapter

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Recompiled, by Eddy Norris, from a copy of the booklet made available by Neill Storey. Thanks Neill.

The recompilation was done for no or intended financial gain but rather to record the memories of Rhodesia.

The family of the author have given permission for ORAFs to load this booklet onto the Internet.
Thanks top the family and special thanks to Heather Curran.

Thanks to
Paul Norris for the ISP sponsorship.
Paul Mroz for the image hosting sponsorship.
Robb Ellis for his assistance.

Should you wish to contact Eddy Norris please mail him



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