Donation of historic 1899 school book

June 3, 2019

The St Patrick’s College Archives Department was thrilled to receive a school boy exercise book used by John Ewen Byrne when he was a young student at St Patrick’s College in 1899.

This amazing find was donated to the Archives by Betty Huf, herself a historian and archivist who does volunteer work at the Op Shop in Hamilton, whose keen eyes spotted the book and recognised its value.

John Ewen Byrne was born in 1886 to David and Winifred Byrne who were farmers near Horsham at a place called Brimpaen.

John was 12 years old when he came to St Pat’s in 1898, and 15 years when he left at the end of 1900 after completing his Sub-Intermediate year (equivalent to Year 9).

He remained in the Brimpaen area for the remainder of his life, working successfully as a grazier. He married Jean Louisa Knowles in 1907, and they had a family of five children.

Both John and Jean died in 1965 and are buried in the Brimpaen cemetery.

John’s exercise book covers the period from April to August 1899, and includes French, Latin, algebra, arithmetic and sums, and all his lessons are written out in beautiful cursive writing.

The book is in excellent condition and we are so lucky to have in our collection a great example of the types of subjects taught to students at St Pat’s 120 years ago.