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John Banks Shepherdson



One of South Australia's most valued colonists has passed away in the person of Mr. John Bank Shepherdson, who died suddenly at Wallaroo on Monday at the age of 83 years.

Mr Shepherdson was taken ill on Sunday and his relatives were sent for on Monday morning, but they were unable to reach Wallaroo in time to be present at the time of his decease. Mr. Shepherdson was born at East Heslerton, near Scarborough, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, on May 22, 1809, and he was educated under the Rev. Thomas Farrow, of West Heslerton, and the Rev. Jabez Banks, vicar of Bempton. After a voyage to Jamaica in 1824 and a stay there of three months, at the time of the sanguinary insurrection of the negro slaves, Mr. Shepherdson returned to England and was engaged in tuition up to the time of his leaving for South Australia in May, 1837.

In 1836 the South Australian School Society, of which the late George Fife Angas was chairman, was established in London and while in the Training School of the British and Foreign School Society Mr. Sbepberdson was engaged as Director of schools in South Australia for the purpose of organising educational establishments and training teachers, and as it was the original intention of the society that these should be conducted on the system of Baron Fellenberg's labor schools in Switzeriand he was instructed to proceed thither to make himself acquainted with the principles upon which they were based. It was, however, afterwards decided that Mr. Shepherdson instead of doing this should visit and inspect the schools at Lindfield and Sussex, which were established and conducted at the sole expense of the late Mr. William Allen, F.R.S., of London and Lindfield. He spent some time in these establishments, where in addition to the elements of a sound education the boys were taught farning, gardening, tailoring, shoemaking, printing, and other things under competent masters. A weekly serial, called the Linfield Reporter, a creditable publication, set up by the boys, was issued at this place.

The deceased gentleman arrived with his family at Kingscote, Kangaroo Island in the ship Hartley on October 14, 1837, his fellow-passengers being the late Rev. T. Q. Stow, Mr. William Giles, - who was at one time general manager of the South Australian Company, Mr. W. B. Randell, who was also stock manager of the same company at Gumeracha, and their families. Mr. Shepherdson recorded his first impressions of the infant colony as follows:"On our arrival at the 'Main', as it was then called, Adelaide had just been laid out, and the few people living there were located in tents, reed and pisey huts, and wooden erections; Govern ment House, occupied by Captain Hindmarsh, E.S, was of reeds. Serious quarrels had taken place, the result of the divided authority between, the Governor and the resident Commissioner (Mr, afterwards Sir, James Hurtle Fisher) and their respective adherents. Mr. Gouger, the then Colonial Secretary, was just proceeding to England, for the purpose of appealing to the Home Government for a settlement of the unhappy differences and Mr. Randell and myself took Mr. Gouger's tent for our families at rental of 1 per week.

In accordance with my instructions I got up a public meeting in a temporary erection, which then did duty as Trinity Church, and the Governor at my re quest promised to take the chair. On the night appointed I proceeded to Government House to accompany his Excellency to the meet ing, but on learning from me on our way down that Mr. Fisher, Mr. Mann, the Advocate-General, and others of their friends were to take part in the proceedings he declined to enter the place. After using all the persuasion of which I was capable he at length gave way, adding;. Well, as Governor, I suppose I must countenance the thing but as Jack Hindmarsh I'll do little.' As the results of the meeting a committee was app pointed to co-operate with me and as soon as a temporary wooden erection on the parklands opposite and near Trinity Church was vacated by the Bank of South Australia, I organised a school and we proceeded with its erection. It comprised a dwelling house and a girl's depart ment on one side and a boys' department on the other. Before its completion, however, my health gave way from the intense heat and limited accommodation.