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Honiton. Going! Going!
As the Honiton School will be closing at the Christmas vacation, the time is opportune to give a few facts about the early days of the Honiton District.
Prior to '70, the land was occupied by sheep graziers and the names of Anstey and Giles will be remembered by many. But in '70 the Hundred of Melville was surveyed and it is said that this Hundred was the first to be marked out on Yorke Peninsula.
The earliest farming settlers were Hoare, Davey, Correll, Dugan and Brown, who travelled overland by bullock dray, and by '71 the township of Honiton had come into being. The original site chosen for the school was at the cast end of Lake Fowler, but before building commenced it was changed to the cross-roads of the township.
The first school was built at very little cost as the material and money required were donated by the residents. The first teacher, Mr. Carter, kept the costs down by doing the actual building in late 71, he, in the meantime, took up residence in a dug out. Later, because of insufficient light and ventilation, the building was condemned and the present school-room was built by Contractor O'Brien.
There at Honiton the three K's were taught from the teather's high desk on which, plainly visible to the pupils, hung the dreaded tawse. About 30 pupils attended and paid fees varying from a shilling per week for the highest class to lesser charges for the lower classes. If no fees were paid, then no lesson were given.
When Mr Carter resigned his position as teacher, tenders were called for the position, but as letters from many of the applicants were difficult to read their services were not wanted. After a short time Mr. Carter was back at his post.
This all happened about 70 years ago and now the school is to be closed, but the many old scholars who have settled around the district wiII have the opportunity of reviving happy memories at the old Scholars' Members Dance (see advertisement).
Salt scraping was first started by Thomas Woods, in '73, who carted his salt to Coobowie whence it was shipped to Adelaide for use by the ? butchers. As the industry grew, the lake was cut up into blocks and the ?astle ?oy, was formed. The salt teams passing to and fro made good business at the blacksmith shop, built by Hitchock and Alone, and later owned by Rush and Warden.
The Edithburgh Rechabite Lodge had its beginning in Honiton School in '74, but, as Edithburgh grew, it was found advisable later to remove to the town as being more convenient for the lodge members.
Church services were held in the Baptist Church, built in 76, but since converted to an implement room. The church kept going for a considerable period but as two other denominations started holding services, it was found impossible to keep all three going and so all just faded out of existence.
Old residents had not many outside attractions, but they must have certainly valued reading as, at a very early date, a circulating library was formed and the trustees of the library went further by building the Institute. After having built the hall a very active debating society was formed. Long and heated, at times, were the arguments heard at the meetings where decisions were made by a show of hands. The audience was not always satisfied with playing such a small part and often got up to voice their opinions on the debate or debaters.
The first picnic, held at Seven Roads in '72, was a memorable affair. The picnickers had arrived from far and near and were eagerly looking forward to a very enjoyable day's outing when up rode a very irate boundary rider who would have hunted lesser men off the property. But this picnic was not to be spoiled by any boundary rider, and, after threats of dipping him in a nearby trough, the "sheepish" man rode off and the picnic went on. Later a letter of apo;ogy was received by the picnic committee from the owners of the property.
A mixed store was opened by Tom Correll and later was owned by Mrs. Jacobs where much general business was done by residents of the surrounding district and, for a time, it looked as if Hointon would grow to some size. But as Yorketown was surveyed at Seven Roads, and later built at Weaners' Flat, Hointon gradually slipped back and now only the Institute and school remain. Soon it will be only the Institute.
It was an old saying, "Everything at this end of the Peninsula started at Hointon." So, though soon the school will be non-existent, we still have our memories.
(We understand that the Honinton Institute was the first of its kind openen in Yorke Peninsula. The same building also has the distinction of being the scene of the first public broadcasting radio reception in South Australia. Ed
OPENING OF THE HONITON INSTITUTE.
The ceremony of formally opening a new institute which has just been completed at Honiton was performed on Wednesday. The township, which in the surrounding locality is generally known by the name of "Diamond Lake," is situated in the agricultural area of Troubridge, in the extreme south of Yorke's Peninsula, and is one of the oldest settled districts in that part of the peninsula. It lies about six miles west of Edithburgh, and the road thither from the latter place is over about as bad a piece of road as can, in all probability, be found in any part of South Australia. Limestone boulders crop up in all directions, and although small portions of the road have recently been metalled and put in a fair state, there is enough left to cause more than the average amount of profanity on the part of those whose ill-luck leads them to drive much in that direction, On the day mentioned between two and three hundred persons assembled from the adjacent townships of Edithburgh, Yorketown, Oaklands, Minlaton, Coobowie, Moorowie, and other places, and as the day was fine and the heat of the sun was finely tempered by the cool wind that was blowing straight from the sea every one seemed to enjoy himself. Such a set-out of horses and buggies, waggons, spring carts, and sundry other kinds of vehicles was perhaps never before seen in the locality, and it was amusing, and at the same time instructive, to notice the zest and earnestness with which every person appeared to be animated. At the hour appointed for the opening ceremony Mr. Robert Caldwell, one of the Parliamentary representatives for the district, attended by his brother, Mr. James Caldwell, and Mr. Wm. Correll, prendent and honorary secretary respectively of the institute, and the members of the committee, advanced to the door of the building, commenced the proceedings. Mr. Caldwell, after apologising for the unavoidable absence of Mr. W. H. Beaglehole, his co-representative for the district in Parliament, the Hon. Dr. Cockburn (Minister of Education), and also Mr. J. L. Bonython (chairman of the Adelaide School Board of Advice), congratulated the committee and residents of Honiton on the successful completion of their institute-building. The object on which they had set their minds, and for which they had worked together earnestly and patiently had been accomplished, and he trusted that their highest anticipations with regard to their new undertaking would be more than realised. He had had an opportunity of inspecting their book shelves, and he heartily complimented them on the good sense and taste they had displayed in selecting books of a high character and of permanent value, instead of cheap and trashy literature. They had shown faith in themselves and also in the future of that portion of the colony in which they lived by taking in hand and burdening themselves with the expense of building an institute that might be the centre of their intellectual life and a stimulus of their intellectual and social energies. Times were dull, trade was depressed, and the whole colony was under a cloud, but he believed days of brightness and prosperity were yet in store for South Australia, and he urged them not to give way to despair, but to hope, and labor and wait for the good time that would surely come. After a few farther remarks relating to local topics he declared the institute open. Subsequently a tea meeting was held in the building. The tables had been prepared and all the provisions given by the inhabitants of the village, and everything was displayed in creditable style. Most if not all who were present went in to tea. When the tables had been cleared an entertainment of the usual miscellaneous character was given. The chair was occupied by Mr. R. Caldwell, and a long programme of vocal and instrumental music, with recitations and readings, was gone through by a number of ladies and gentleman. The proceedings were very enthusiastic throughout, and were kept up to a somewhat late hour. Votes of thanks were accorded to all who had in any way contributed to make the affair a success. The proceeds of the day's festivities amounted to about £20.
The institute building is a plain unpretending, but neat structure, and is erected on slightly elevated ground, on the southern side, and a few yards back from the main road leading from Edithburgh to Port Moorowie. It is built of limestone, of which there is an unlimited supply in the neighborhood, with cement dressings. Its dimensions are 35 feet x 23 feet and 12¼ feet in height Most of the materials used in the building, such as stone, sand, lime, &c., were given and placed on the spot, and much of the labor required in the making of seats, painting, &c., was also freely contributed by the promoters of the undertaking. In addition to the materials and labor given by the people the cost of the building has amounted to £250, Of this sum £110 has been paid, leaving a debt on the building of £140. The library contains 370 books, nearly all of which afford solid substantial reading. Books of fiction form but a small proportion to the rest. For many years past the library has been kept and the meetings of the committee and subscribers have been held in the adjoining State school building. As it at present exists the institute is the very creditable outcome of the efforts of a mutual improvement society, which was commenced as far back as 1871. By slow degrees the society gained strength, fresh members were added from time to time, and although serious difficulties were encountered occasionally which threatened its existence its supporters held together bravely, and their patient toil has now been amply rewarded. It appears to be somewhat doubtful as to whether the building will be subsidised by funds from Government, although the Minister of Education made a promise some time ago to the effect that something would be done in that direction. The Honiton people naturally consider that they have a claim on the favorable consideration of the Government, on the grounds that the State school building in their township was built by themselves and handed over to the Government some years ago free of all expense for educational purposes. This being the case the committee of the institute look for a little assistance now in paying off their debt, and they can all the more confidently do this as they were led to believe when they commenced building operations that help from the Government would be afforded them. They have also in their new building carefully abstained from incurring any expense for ornamental purposes, and have been severely utilitarian in all their plans and arrangements.