Meadowbank Public School

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Thistle Street, Ryde (02) 9809 3648

History

60 proud years of education at Meadowbank!

  
HISTORY OF MEADOWBANK SCHOOL

Meadowbank School is in the Ryde District of the NSW Department of Education & Training.

The original school was officially opened as an Infants School in 1950, and increased to a Primary School in 1952. The brick buildings which now comprise the school were officially opened by the Minister for Education, The Hon. E.A. Willis, B.A.,M.L.A., on 26th April, 1974.

NOTABLE PEOPLE IN RYDE’S EARLY HISTORY

after whom Meadowbank classes have been named

BIDGEE- An Aboriginal man from Kissing Point. Bidgee was one of three Aboriginal guides who accompanied a European punitive expedition to the Hawkesbury. Bidgee was also described as the “Chief” of the “Kissing Point Tribe”.

BOWDEN - Thomas Bowden had been master of the Great Queen Street Charity School in London, and was recommended to take charge of a charity school in Sydney. He accepted the offer of an annual salary of one hundred pounds and took charge of the school at Ryde in 1812. He was the highest paid teacher in the colony, and also developed various business interests. As well as his extensive educational work, Bowden also crusaded for Methodism. He lived at “Addington”.

BRADLEY - James Bradley was born circa 1765. He was charged with stealing a “white handkerchief with a purple border of the value of two shillings” and was tried on 29th June 1785 at the Old Bailey and sentenced to seven years transportation. He was on the Scarborough with the First Fleet. Following arrival in Sydney Cove James Bradley suffered 25 lashes for insolence on 23rd February 1789. At Parramatta on 12th August 1792, he married Sarah Barnes a third fleet convict. He became a successful farmer, able by 1806 to support his wife, six children and one convict. He died on 16th February 1838 aged 73 years and is buried at St Anne’s Ryde.

SHEPHERD - James Shepherd arrived in 1795, and married one of the first women pioneers, Ann Thorn, and built up a prosperous orchard area, stretching from Parkes St. to the Parramatta River. James Shepherd’s family became one of the prominent families in the life of the settlement. He was a devout churchman, and the Methodist SS was founded by his son, James, in 1822. “Thorn Cottage” was one of the early homes of the area. Isaac was a son of James Shepherd, and was one of Ryde’s leading citizens. He was a leader in trying to set progress in motion in the area, and was a member of parliament for the area from 1860-1864. Shepherd played a leading role in the establishment of the first Ryde Public School, and gave land for the first police station (Watch House). Shepherd was a wealthy man, who built a large home at Meadowbank, called “Hellenie”. In 1870, he laid the foundation stone of the Methodist Church.

SQUIRE- James Squire was transported in the first fleet as a convict, but was given a conditional pardon and a 30acre grant of land at Kissing Point, where he arrived in 1795. He acquired the farms of fifteen other people, to become the largest landholder in Ryde. He was a prominent, enterprising farmer and businessman, and prospered from the sale of ale, which he made at his brewery. He was friendly towards the natives and befriended the Aboriginal, Bennelong, who had been trained by Governor Phillip. Squire gave Bennelong work, and when he died, Bennelong was buried in Squire’s orchard. James Squire Farnell, Squire’s grandson became a Premier of N.S.W.

THORN - Ann Thorn came to Eastern Farms in 1794. She had survived a gruelling passage to Sydney aboard the Surprise, and was given a 20 acre land grant. Her property, Thorn Farm was to the east of what is now Bowden Street. In 1795, she married James Shepherd, and that union produced many notable descendants within the district. She died in 1861.

WHITTON - John Whitton was the chief engineer of the NSW Railway 1857 – 1890. The railway bridge over the Parramatta River at Ryde was named after him as he organised the construction. John Whitton was known as the Father of the N.S.W. railways. There is a bust of him at Central Railway Station, Sydney.