See also A history of Kangaroo Island schools, 1836-1980 /​ researched and compiled by Leonie Bell and Fay Davidson for the Kangaroo Island Welfare Clubs , 1981 cited in Kingscote Area School History

See also research by Geoffrey Chapman 

Education in South Australia from the beginnings of the State a century ago to the present time was reviewed by the Acting Director of Education (Dr. C. Fenner) in a broadcast talk last night. He referred first to the self-education of the little band of pioneers, who in the beginning had to learn how to build up a new community and to the days of the ill-fated Captain Walter Bromley, who conducted the State's first school with about 24 pupils under a large tree on Kangaroo Island. ...

EDUCATION DURING A CENTURY (1936, May 14). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 6.

The first school in South Australia, was established on Kangaroo Island in about 1837 where 24 students each paid one penny a week and Captain Bromley, their teacher, received a weekly 10/-.

Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), Tuesday 14 June 1949, page 7

The first school in South Australia was established by Capt. Bromley, a retired army officer, on Kangaroo Island, and was conducted under a tree. . . . That Capt. Bromley suffered from acute lack of finance is evident from a letter written by him to Mr. Geo. Fife Angas, in which he claims that a wealthy company, such as that represented by Mr. Angas, should be more generous in its reimbursement, or it would never get another teacher, such as he was. He handed his school over to a Mrs. Boots, and claimed that he had taught all the 24 children in his school to read and write with his "sixty sets of excellent lessons," except one scholar, "a mere infant."

West Coast Recorder (Port Lincoln, SA : 1909 - 1942), Monday 9 October 1939, page 2

The first British school in South Australia was established by Captain Bromley at Kangaroo Island, where he remained from December 5, 1836, till May, 19, 1837, previous to his removal to Adelaide, after having accepted the office of Protector of Aborigines. The short but touching story of its formation is best told in his own words:— "I collected," he says, "all the children I possibly could, but the whole number only amounted to 24, and nearly, half of them were infants. They were therefore taught on the infant school system, and all except one, a mere babe, could either spell or read before I came away. While thus employed I could hardly obtain money to purchase bread and cheese, the weekly pay of the children not amounting to more than 10/, so that, instead of building a hut, I was obliged to purchase common necessaries to live upon. I had, therefore, no alternative but to teach the children under the shade of a large, beautiful currant-tree, which would have accommodated forty or fifty more." He did, however, afterwards contrive,"with his own hands," to erect small hut, so that when a change of weather drove them from the tree he was able to shelter his little flock from the rain. Captain Bromley also had the honor of planting the first British school in British North America in the year 1813. 

Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), Saturday 4 January 1913, page 37

[1859] KANGAROO ISLAND. The Secretary stated that a school was being formed at this place, that a teacher had collected about 16 pupils, and intended shortly to apply for a licence. 

CENTRAL BOARD OF EDUCATION. (1859, November 1). The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889), p. 3. 

[1870]  A memorial was received from the parents of children attending the Kangaroo Island school, asking the Board to allow the school to be closed at 2.30 p.m. It was opened at 9 with an interval of 20 minutes for lunch, and the alteration would allow the children to get home, where their services were indispensable, and would prevent the necessity of keeping them from school. Allowed.

BOARD OF EDUCATION. (1870, June 28). Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912), p. 3 (LATE EDITION). 

[1870]  The Rev. C. W. Morse reported having examined the children attending S. Carter's school, Hog Bay. The progress was satisfactory, and the discipline excellent. The attendance, except during the heavy rains, was very regular. The inhabitants were just putting a roof on a schoolhouse and teacher's residence which they had built. The room was 27 feet by 12 feet, and the house 27 feet by 15 feet in the clear. He believed that according to the regulations they were not entitled to a grant in aid, but suggested that, considering special circumstances, the Board should grant some help. He had also examined R. Newton's schools, at Kingscote and Cygnet River; both were exceedingly satisfactory, and the parents were well satisfied with the management and the quality of instruction. Owing to the scattered population at this end of the island, Mr. Newton taught four days each week at Kingscote, where there were 19 children, and the remaining two at Mr. Daw's Station, where 11 children attended. Nearly midway Miss Johnstone, assistant teacher, kept a branch. There were altogether 37 pupils on the roll. The writer recommended Mr. Newton for a licence from March 15, when he began. The branch school was commenced on May 8. The settlers at Kingscote purposed beginning a schoolhouse and teacher's residence almost immediately, and he hoped it would be finished by Christmas. He thanked the Board for their previous kindness, remarking that 60 or 70 children were now being educated where previously there was no school. The Trustees of Hog Bay School asked for help to complete the building. Their means were very limited, and the room was almost entirely built by parents of children attending. The Board expressed their regret that by the regulations they were unable to grant any subsidy for a room of that size, but expressed a willingness to issue a licence for Kingscote and Cygnet River.

BOARD OF EDUCATION. (1870, September 10). Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), p. 10. 


1874 —It appears that Dr. Jung is the first Inspector of Schools who has visited Kangaroo Island. On arriving there lately he was waited upon by inhabitants of Kingscote and Cygnet River, who asked for the establishment of a school. The Inspector during a rapid tour on horseback over a large portion of the Island found a suitable person to fill the position of master. The islanders were much pleased to see him, and seem to be anxious about the education of their children. 

The statement made some time since in the Illustrated London News that three women and one man, whose portraits were given, were the last surviving specimens of the Tasmanian aboriginal natives, is incorrect, as Dr. Jung found two women of this race on Kangaroo Island. They were brought there by a trader from Van Diemen's Land, and afterwards decoyed and carried away to Mauritius, whence the governing powers on hearing the facts of the case sent them back to the Island. These two lubras may be considered the remnant of the Tasmanian natives. They keep in the bush as much as possible, are very shy, and as soon as noticed by strangers shift their camp. 

Latest News. (1874, May 20). Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912), p. 2 (SECOND EDITION).  



Sir—I have read with much pleasure Mr. Burnett's interesting account of his visit to Kangaroo Island. With regard to his remark about the Churches not having done more for the island, A should like to state that through the liberality of the attorneys of the S.P.G. in voting me £25 per annum towards travelling expenses I have been enabled for the last twelve years to visit the island at certain times, and I do not think there is now on the island an unbaptized child over six months of age. The gentleman after whom Penneshaw is named has also generously given the site for a Church there, which will no doubt in course of time be used. Personally I should be glad to visit the island much oftener — say every five or six weeks — but for the boat hire, which is £1 per diem. When my grant is expended I cannot afford a great deal more, and the people themselves are not in a position to contribute to the expenses of the mission. Could I obtain a boat fit for work in the Gulf, I would gladly give my services to visiting the island and the neighbouring lighthouses. 

I should like to call attention to another crying want of the island— viz., schools. When I first visited it some thirteen years ago there was no school on it ; but with the assistance of the then Board of Education we were enabled to open schools at Kingscote, Cygnet River, and Hog Bay, besides half time schools at Cape Willoughby and American River. Under the new system all these have been closed, except the one at Hog Bay. At Cygnet River there are over thirty children growing up in ignorance. At Kingscote there are also a number of children, and even a half-time school at these places would be of great service. But it is useless to apply to the Education Department for help. The reply in all cases is a non possumus. The old Board of Education received a great deal of abuse, but under it, at least, the outlying districts were encouraged to help themselves, and children in the bush did learn to read and write. Now one reads of constant appeals for schools, and people have to supplicate for that as a favour which they should demand as a right. I trust the Commission on Education will consider the question of these bush schools. At present money is lavishly expended on building schools in populous neighbourhoods, which the people do not appreciate, whilst the educational destitution in the outlying districts is simply lamentable. According to my experience, the old Board did more to help the country people with the limited means at its disposal than the Education Department has ever done with the enormous sums at its command. Trusting that some other country people will call attention to this matter, 

I am, Sir, &c, G. W. MORSE. Yankalilla, January 8

SCHOOLS AND CHURCHES ON KANGAROO ISLAND. (1883, January 10). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 6. 

[1884] The need of schools is greatly felt by the inhabitants of the Island numbering over 600 and rapidly increasing, for whom only one school is provided at Penneshaw. The rising generation are growing up in sad ignorance, to remedy which the establishment of day schools will do much provided compulsory education is enforced, and if the education be made free, instead of 35 days being the number of days per quarter demanded'for the attendance of the children at least four days a week should be the number onforced some in case of sickness as it is really almost criminal to see the care taken by parents to see that their children do not attend more than 35 days per quarter keeping them at work in and out, during which time the children forget nearly all they learned while at school. Some parents seem to realise little of the responsibility they incur by undertaking the parentage of human beings, "but as it was in the beginning, so it will be for ever and ever world without end,"—I won't say amen, for the scribe who would for such a state, of things to continue, should never take a pen in hand again. However if only by little may the ignorance grow less and the elevation of the masses—as Matthew Burnett would say—become one spoke in the wheel of perpetual motion.

NOTES ON KANGAROO ISLAND. (1884, July 1). Yorke's Peninsula Advertiser (SA : 1878 - 1922), p. 3.

1887  QUEENSCLIFF, September 13.

The Kangaroo Island School Board of Advice held a meeting at Queenscliffe on September 12, there being present Messrs. Henry Paltridge, Thomas Northcott, J. S, Evans, J, W. Daw, and Thomas Willson. Mr. Paltridge was unanimously elected chairman. It was decided that the chairman write to the Minister of Education asking him to separate the school district, it being impossible to work the whole island as one district. It was resolved that the chairman write to the Minister of Education to appoint another teacher for the Cygnet River School, the previous teacher having left. Further business of importance was left to the chairman's discretion to act.

Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 - 1922), Tuesday 13 September 1887, page 2

Island Schools.

[1923] The teachers of the public schools on K.I. and the average attendance is given in the Educational Gazette as under :— Kingscote, Mr Clyde H. Pearce (Head Teacher), Miss Annie Lipert (Assistant), average attendance 60.2; Hog Bay, Mr John Murphy, 32.1 ; Cygnet River, Mr Lewis H. Moar, 21.4 ; Shoal Bay, Miss Doreen Brown, 15.5 ; Emu Bay, Miss Annie Norton ; 15.3 ; Wisanger, Miss Edith Leahy, 11.7; Muston, Edwin W. H. Jaensch, 11,4 ; American River, Miss Minneta Ford, 10.0 ; Wattle Grange, Miss Una Underwood, 7.0. 

ISLAND SCHOOLS. (1923, February 17). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2. 

Mrs. Royce Leverwas formerly Ida Ramsey, youngest daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Ramsey, of Cowell, and was well known in the Cowell and Cleve districts. Mrs. Lever, before her marriage, was a teacher in the Education Department and taught at several schools on Eyre Peninsula, including Mangalo, and on Kangaroo Island. She was well known for her musical and vocal talents . . .

NEWS FROM CLEVE (1959, February 5). Port Lincoln Times (SA : 1927 - 1986; 1992 - 2002), p. 11. 

American River School    

Cygnet River School   

Kingscote School   

Muston School   

Pandarna School   

Penneshaw School  Hog Bay 

Shoal Bay School  see a photo of 1934 pupils 

Stokes Bay School   

Wisanger School  also Emu Bay 

Other Smaller Schools:  American Beach, American River, Brownlow, Salt Lagoon, Willson's River, Cuttlefish, Antechamber Bay, Hog Bay River, Wattle Grove, Western River

Comment from Geoffrey Chapman:

"I noticed some inaccuracies  in Chris Ward's article on KI schools in the KIPA and have attached my file on KI schools which I have researched for at least 10 years . Hope this helps  - I have plenty of references to back up everything.

I have no knowledge or records of a school at Brownlow which is about 3 km west of Kingscote - everyone walked or rode a horse!  I lived at Brownlow from the time I was 4 until I was about 11 years and walked each day to school for at 4 years.

At that time there was only  6 buildings there and two ruins. One of the ruins was called " the manor" which was near the rifle ranges just east of Tiggemann's and the other ruin was opposite Tiggemann's- I cant remember the names of the families that lived there

I think the Brownlow Centre has nothing to do with KI.

I went to the Parndana Primary school in the 1950's and are classes were in the open tin shelter shed - Joe Giesler was the second teacher [my brother in law]. When I left to go to the Kingscote area school all the wooden buildings were transported to the new Parndana Area School ..."

School Appointments.

[1951] The following Teachers have been appointed by the Education Dept. to schools on Kangaroo Island:— Kingscote Area school, Mr A. L B. Gibbs, Head Master and Mr K. D. McDonald, Science Teacher Parndana, Mr K. J. Keane Middle River, Mr E. Wiltshire Penneshaw, Mr K. Wachtel. All but Mr Wachtel have taken up their appointments. Mr F. W Tiggemann is relieving Mr Wachtel pending him recovering from illness.

Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Friday 16 February 1951, page 1