Sign 4: Early Schools and the Newtons

Pelican Point School, Harrington’s first school, was established here. This land was part of the riverbank holding belonging to pioneer and shipbuilder Alexander Newton. 

Newton, and Harrington’s second maritime pilot, Captain Joseph Bradley, established the school in 1866 for children of families from the Pelican Shipyard and the pilot service.

Newton provided the land; the community provided the building and furniture. The government paid the teacher and running costs.

The school closed in 1869 when numbers dropped below 25. It reopened for a year from December 1870 as a “half-time school” with the school on Mambo Island, then closed permanently. 

Cattai Creek School was established in 1884 by Newton’s daughter Hannah. Alexander Newton donated the land. Hannah taught there until November 1891; her sister Ellen then taught there until 1900.

The Manning River News (1902) said: “A very enjoyable picnic in connection with the Cattai Public School was held at Chinamans Point … on 10th instant, King’s Birthday … the grounds … placed at their disposal by Captain Newton.”

References and Further Reading

Linton, Rebecca. Crossing the bar: a history of Harrington: Gateway to the Manning Valley. Focus Publishing, 2004. pp 118 – 122.

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