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The state and the provision of education in Tasmania, 1839-1913


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Phillips, DM 1989 , 'The state and the provision of education in Tasmania, 1839-1913', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Governor Franklin's
of Education
of primary
was to remain
Regulations of 1839 established a
to organise and manage a public
education in Tasmania, a system
almost the sole concern of the
Board and its successor, the Education Department,
until the introduction of a secondary system in 1913.
Primary education is the subject-matter of this
dissertation and the years from 1839 to 1913 its timespan.
The Board came into being largely as a consequence of
the inability of the religious denominations to
provide schools and teachers for the increasing child
population of a colony strongly influenced, in the
early decades of the period, by convicts and the
convict system. Conflict developed between the State
and the denominations and the Church of England in
particular. The two opposing views concerning the
nature of education and its control and management
were resolved in favour of the State after a short
though, at times, intense dispute.
The Board of Education enjoyed an administrative and
executive freedom of a kind unknown to other
departments of government. With the resolution of the
Church-State conflict behind it, the granting of self government
and the creation of a reformed Board
allowed its members to build bureaucratic machinery
for the creation and administration of policy and the
conduct of its day-to-day operations. In these matters
the influence of the Inspectors was crucial to the
Board's efficiency. With the need to make few
references to Parliament or the Tasmanian people, the
Inspectors developed a curriculum and a system for the
examination of the children, inspection of schools and the recruitment, examination,
promotion of teachers.
classification and
In the making of these changes the teachers had no
part. The local boards were assigned responsibilities
of a petty nature, though their importance to the
maintenance of the education system was considerable.
From participation in the affairs of their schools,
discussion of the quality of the teaching, teaching
methods and the framing of curriculum the parents
were, by law, virtually excluded. This bureaucratic
system was well in place before public concern over
its exclusiveness manifested itself. The dissolution
of the Board and its replacement by an Education
Department in 1886, which was made responsible to a
Minister and Parliament, did very little to disturb
the workings of the bureaucracy and its structure, in
its more important aspects, was left almost untouched.
A chronic problem for the bureaucracy was the low rate
of school attendance. The law concerning compulsory
attendance and its enforcement by local boards and
officials and the attitudes of parents to the
attendance of the children and towards education are
discussed at length.
A discussion of the curriculum provides the means for
an examination of teaching methods, the quality of the
teaching, and the experience of children in the
classroom and at school. The kinds of education given
by the private venture schools, the sustained
critic ism made of them by Education Department
Directors and Inspectors and the experience of the
children in attendance at them offers an opportunity
to discuss an alternative form of education about
which little is known.This dissertation attempts
powerful bureaucracy and
formation and development
to develop discussion of a
its influence on the
of educational ideas and

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Phillips, DM
Keywords: education Tasmania 1839-1913
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