The slaves are set free. Many of the freed slaves move from the nearby wine
farms to Wynberg to seek work. The only school in Wynberg was the Government Free School (the fore-runner of Wynberg Boys’). It focussed only on Reading, Writing & Arithmetic (the 3Rs) and was pretty much dysfunctional. It was not well-supported by the community.
Lady Anna D’Urban established the School of Industry for girls of the poorer community (freed slaves, coloured and white children) of Wynberg to teach them the 3Rs as well as vocational skills (sewing, needlework, cooking and cleaning) to prepare the girls for domestic service. The school opened in Glebe Cottage, the same building where the Free School was. The first teacher was Miss Boltman, who was also the Postmistress. The school taught and was run along the Lancasterian method. Lady D’Urban and a team of ladies from the St John’s Anglican Church managed it.
1842 - 1844
1842 Mrs Sarah Boyes was the next teacher.
1843 Lady D’Urban died, and the community collected money to build a proper building for the school she had started. The government provided land in Aliwal Rd for this purpose. A thatched, T-shaped schoolroom was built.
1844 Miss Harvet replaced Mrs Boyes. She started an evening class for African girls working in the area.
1845 - 1855
1845 The girls moved into their new building. The school was still multi-racial and for girls only. The teacher’s salary was paid from the Bible & School Commission. The Anglican Church raised the money for everything else.
1855 Miss Byrne (later Mrs Parson) was the next teacher at the school. There were about 55 pupils. School fees in the form of 1d a week was charged for the first time.
1857 - 1860
1857 The school received a government grant for the first time. In exchange, the school had to follow the state Curriculum and open itself to regular inspections. The school was classified as an ‘Aided Mission School’. The girls wrote on slates with slate pencils.
1859 An Assistant Teacher, Miss Shannon, was appointed.
1860s By now other subjects had been introduced: Grammar,
Spelling, Dictation, History & Geography.
1867 - 1889
1867 Miss Jeannie Wilson was appointed in place of Mrs Parson. She was one of the school’s best loved and longest-serving teachers. She trained some of her most able pupils, like Harriet Hanavey, as Pupil Teachers.
1880s Coloured girls were being refused entry.
1884 Music was introduced.
1889 Mrs EA Morgan was appointed in place of Miss Wilson.
Boys were admitted for the first time.
1891 - 1898
1891 Miss Lily Muter replaced Mrs Morgan. Miss Susan Weichardt was the Assistant Teacher.
1895 Mrs Mabel Garcia became the teacher. She is the only teacher of the School of Industry of whom a photograph exists.
1898 The school was taken over by the state and became a co-educational government school, classified as a ‘Third Class Public School’. ‘Third Class’ meant the school could only provide elementary education, and the girls older that Std 6 had to leave. This also brought to an end the school’s relationship with St John’s Church.
1901 - 1905
1901 Some of the girls in Std 6 were doing Domestic Science and did this at Wynberg Girls’ High.
1902 Miss Norah Johnson became the Assistant Teacher.
1904 Mrs Garcia left. In 1906 she became the first Principal of Oakhurst Girls’ Primary School. Miss Johnson succeeded her as the teacher at the School of Industry. Miss Smuts was the Assistant Teacher, later replaced by Miss Emma Seabrook.
1905 The School of Industry came under the Cape School Board. There were 112 children, mostly girls.
1906 - 1921
1906 The school’s name changed to Aliwal Road Primary School.
1911 Plans were drawn up by the architect firm Parker & Forsyth to enlarge the school.
1912 The school was changed from a T-shaped building to an H-shaped building by the addition of two classrooms. The thatched roof was replaced by corrugated iron. There were separate entrances for Boys and Girls. At each entrance was a lobby with three washbasins.
1921 Mrs C Dysart-Schloss was appointed Principal. Mrs Scanlan was the Assistant Teacher.
1935 - 1939
1935 A Principal’s office and a small Staffroom was created in the old section of the building. A Storeroom was added to the north end, and the girls’ entrance was closed.
1936 Miss Marguerite Dreyer became the Principal. She left the following year to become the Principal of Observatory Girls’ High School.
1937 Mr HW Smith became the school’s first male Principal. He left to become the Principal at The Grove Primary.
1939 Mr G Du Toit Haupt from Bishops became the Principal. He saw the school through the difficult war years, and was a father-figure when so many fathers were away. The number of pupils rose to 220. Aliwal Road Primary became a school known for its ability to succeed with even difficult pupils, due to Mr Hauft’s approach of love. The grounds were levelled and gravelled.
1943 - 1971
1943 School uniform was introduced at Aliwal Road Primary.
1956 The adjacent property of Headingly was bought. The house was demolished, but the garage was retained.
1957 2 Kindergarten classrooms (the present Administrative Block), an art room and new bathrooms were built here.
1960 The adjacent property of Headingly was bought and Demolished to make way for tennis courts and a Hall.
1971 Mr Kevin Paris succeeded Mr Hauft when he retired.
1972 - 1982
1972 The Hall was completed.
1974 The school won the Provincial Judo Shield.
1970s The brothers Michael and Tullie McCulley, who founded the popular band McCulley’s Workshop, were at Aliwal Road.
1980 Popular teacher, Mr JP Naudé retired. He had been at the school since 1946.
1982 The School Song was composed.
1986 - 1989
1986 Aliwal Road Primary celebrated its 150th Anniversary. However, the numbers were dwindling alarmingly.
1988 Aliwal Road Primary closed its doors in December.
1989 In January, the Education Museum took over the building, with Dr Dan Sleigh the Head. Also on the staff were Miss Avril van der Wolk and Mr Braam van Zyl. When Mr Van Zyl left, Mr Mark van Rensburg joined. The old School of Industry building became the main display area. The first school group received was the Simon van der Stel Laerskool. In those days there was only one lesson – a general tour of the Museum!
1994 - 2014
1994 The School of Industry building received National Monument status – today: Provincial Heritage Site.
1995 The name changed to Centre for Conservation Education to reflect the change in education programme.
1996 Dr Sleigh retired and Ms Sigi Howes took over as Head. The Centre has adapted its lessons with every curriculum change and is today a popular choice for schools to go to on an educational outing. About 11 000 learners and their teachers visit every year.
2014 The number of children taught at the Centre reached 250 000 – a quarter of a million!
In 2018 The Centre was awarded a Blue Heritage Plaque.
Permanent full-time Teachers over the years have included Dr Dan Sleigh, Mr Braham van Zyl, Miss Tina Damstra, Mr Mark van Rensburg, Miss Liesl Rabe, Mrs Myrtle Edwards and Mrs Nicci Hoal. The current staff is Ms Sigi Howes, Mr Anton Fortuin, Mr Mark van Rensburg and Ms Natasha Schermbrucker (see Contact Us).
Our General Assistants and Administrative Staff have included Miss Lynne Knoll (current), Ms Nazli Brown, Miss Yvette Hyatt; Mr Charles Adonis, Mr Roy Davids, Miss Devida Adonis (current) and Mr Clive Adonis (current).
Aliwal Road Primary School has a Facebook page
9 Aliwal Rd, Wynberg, 7800
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