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EARLY SETTLEMENT - Mudgee, P.4

early mudgee school near st johns

Early days of Mudgee, slab buildings, churches, inns, Post Office, Courthouse, etc. Gold. Mudgee to Mullamuddy a municipality  

Mudgee quickly began to prosper. By 1841 there were 36 dwellings, mostly slab huts which included three hotels, a hospital, a post office, two stores and the first Anglican Church. The Anglican Church established a slab hut school in 1849 and the police station was moved from Menah to the new site in the mid 1840s.
 
By 1851 Mudgee had a population of 200. Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic and Anglican Churches and a National School were built in the 1850s. The Rev James Gunther, rector of the Church of England in Mudgee (now Anglican Church) established his school as told above. In 1855  the first National School came into being. By the 1860s, the Mudgee Grammar School operated, its students dressed in three-piece suits and caps, or 3/4 length dresses and stockings. This was, perhaps, a forerunner of today’s private schools. Mudgee Public School was built in 1878, just before the Public Instruction Act, which made it law that children should attend school.
 
The first school in Gulgong was built in 1868, but, unfortunately, closed at the end of its first year. Gulgong Public School reopened in 1874 with Robert John Hinder as the first headmaster. The Catholic School in Gulgong followed in 1883, with six nuns of the Order of St Joseph starting a bush school for 150 students in a slab and bark building.
 
Gold was discovered at Hargraves in 1851, turning Mudgee into a major supply centre. The former West End Hotel, now home to the Mudgee Museum, was built in 1856, the Town Hall Hotel, now the Colonial Mecca Building, was also built in the 1850s. The area from Mudgee to Mullamuddy was declared a municipality in 1860. By 1861 Mudgee’s population had increased to 1500. From 1860 to 1865 major developments occurred, with a Police Station, Courthouse, Post Office, Mechanics Institute, the Uniting Church and Town Hall being built. Four coach factories were operating by this time to cater for the busy town. The gold discoveries at Gulgong and Hill End in the 1870s also contributed to Mudgee’s growth.

 

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Left: The slab hut school with a bark roof at St John’s Anglican Church Mudgee  (right bottom corner—the north window of St John’s can be seen behind.) on the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone of the Church of England School in the late 1860s.
Photo thanks to Mudgee Museum.
 

early mudgee bark hut school

Bark hut school at Gulgong built during the gold rush. Photo thanks to Gulgong Museum