Document Type



Claremont Teachers College

Place of Publication

Claremont, Western Australia


Barrett, G.E.B., Brennan, A.E., & Brennan, L.


Claremont Teachers College


Haynes, B.T., Barrett, G.E.B., Brennan, A.E., & Brennan, L. (Eds). (1976). Documents on Western Australian education 1830 - 1973. Claremont, Australia: Claremont Teachers College.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this document may contain references to people who have died.


Reflecting the general lack of concern for education in the 1820's,the plans for the Swan River Settlement contained no scheme for the establishment of schools. Both nature and man mitigated against the early creation of a viable education system. The concentration upon the problem of survival meant that there were few resources for schools, while child labour played an important role in the economy, The land grant system together with poor soil resulted in a dispersed settlement which made the provision of schools expensive. Without resources, the District Boards were incapable of providing education and this, together with the Government administrative structure ensured the early establishment of a centralized education system. The centralized educational administration and the cost of education in remote areas, have remained features of the educational history of the colony and state. The Government which today exerts a controlling influence on education, played a minor role in the early lean years of the colony when many families had to appeal to the Governor for sustenance. At that time a number of individuals set up schools, some as a source of livelihood and others for idealistic motives. The first great impetus to educational development, however, was the missionary activity of the Roman Catholic Church which spurred the Government to create National Schools for the defence of the Protestant faith.

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