A Touch of Gold
Still searching at the State Records of New South Wales for information on John Francis O’Reilly. I have previously mentioned the Teacher’s Rolls where I found John teaching at Manly Public School from May 1898 to December 1900. With no trace of John in the Manly Public School Photos in the School Photographic Collection (Series NRS 15051) I was forced to abandoned them. Delving deep into the school correspondence files (NRS 3829) I discovered a glimmer buried within one bundle and a true gem within another. The bundles included papers referring to buildings, land, teachers, sick leave, leave of absence, exams, swimming, Commonwealth celebrations, disinfectant, toilets, rates, detention and measles but only two of the documents referred to John.
After two months training J. O’Reilly of Manly Public School (Boys) is recommended here for appointment as a Pupil Teacher. The Memorandum to the Chief Inspector of the Department of Public Instruction is dated 13th July 1898. The Teacher’s Report that accompanies this page declares John is now on probation as a Class IV teacher and that his heath is very good and shows no signs of failing.
His general conduct outside of school is reported as good and there is ‘nothing to complain about’ as he lives with his parents. Most importantly, John’s punctuality, diligence, obedience and attention to duty are all deemed satisfactory. John has given regular instructions to his class in music, drawing and drill while he has apparently ‘received full instruction in all prescribed subjects’ from his Teacher. So why does John leave in late 1900 at the age of twenty after his promotion to Class III and II?
Here Mr Mannett, the head Teacher at Manly is requesting a new Pupil-Teacher to replace John F. O’Reilly who has been ‘transferred to the Postmaster General’s Department after WINNING A CADETSHIP in a competitive exam some time ago and entered into his new duties a few days after the Christmas Vacation commenced’. A note has the commencement date as 1st January, 1901.
No holidays now for John. How exciting for John and his parents! Hopefully, they felt his success justified their decision to uproot the family from Ireland and move to the other side of the planet.
As John is a public servant, I wonder if there’s any more information in the Government Gazette?