Monday, October 25, 2010

John Moloney's application to teach

I thought I'd posted this but looking through my blog it appears I did not. After John MOLONEY disembarked from the 'Sirocco' on 8th October 1864, he married Ellen MEYRICK on the 11th October 1864 at St Mary's Cathedral. On the 3rd of November in the same year John applied to become a teacher. My relative Chris Moloney found John's application letter in his education department file, and I have transcribed it here.

348.  Statement of Mr. John Moloney, a candidate for a situation under the Board of National Education.
Until I was thirteen years of age I received my education at home by the aid of a private tutor. I was then for two years a pupil in the Nicker National School, and afterwards for two years in a classical school in the village of Hospital. The last year of my school education was at the St. John’s National School at Limerick. I was taught Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Grammar, Geography, Geometry, Algebra, Trigonometry, Bookkeeping, Latin, Greek and French. When I left school I had a good knowledge of these subjects. In a period of nine months I was a student in the Jesuit College in Limerick. The opportunities I have had for study since have been devoted to general reading. I have therefore to some extent fallen off in technical acquirements.
From the time that I left college to the date of my leaving Ireland, namely on the 1st June last, my only occupation was that of farming. My certificate of character is signed by Mr R Hutchinson, Wine Merchant, Pitt Street, Sydney. I am not related to him. He has known me for about 20 days. I beg however, to refer to a certificate appended to my application, signed by Messrs Egan, R Forster, J Ryan, & A Milford, Members of Parliament.
I am now without occupation. I wish to become a teacher from the fact that I am unable to obtain any other congenial employment. I know from observation that the Teacher's office is one of difficulty and responsibility. I ?? apply to the National Board by the advice of Mr Hutchinson, and my knowledge of the National System in Ireland. I know the principle on which the National System is founded and also the course pursued in reference to training, examination and payment of candidates. I have the means of supporting myself and family during the period of training. I have never been in the position of an insolvent. I am willing to take a situation in the country.
Sydney, 3rd Novr 1964, John Moloney.

There are a number of points to make regarding his letter. It reveals his education in Ireland, and the notion that the family were relatively comfortable (privately tutored till 13) before schooling near to Dromalta where the family lived. It also mentions that following his education he was engaged in farming till he came to Australia aged 24. As a young boy John survived a time when the Irish potato famine resulted in a decline in population of 47% in the rural areas of Cappamore (where Dromalty was located) between 1841 and 1851.

The letter intimates that on arrival in Australia, John's first choice of occupation may not have been teacher as he states that he wishes to become a teacher because 'I am unable to find any other congenial appointment'. He is quite honest in stating that he farmed from the end of his education till he moved to Australia (about four years), probably back in Dromalta where Ellen lived nearby at Towerhill.

His application was supprted by a Hutchinson, wine merchant, though this is a connection John must have quickly made in Sydney as he states they had only known each other 20 days. Ralph Hutcinson, wine merchant, died in 1866 aged 46. The letter also includes a 'certificate' from four members of Parliament (not shown/found), though it is not clear what their connection is, and it may be that John simply walked the halls looking for support for his application, or that Hutchinson's connections led John there:
Egan: Born Windsor NSW, Member for Eden, wine merchant, Catholic
Forster: Born near Corfu (Regimental birth?), Member for New England, lawyer, Catholic
Milford: Born England, Member for Braidwood, Feb-Nov 1864 (only)
Ryan: There were two J Ryan's at the time, one from Tipp Ireland.

Based on John's letter a rough timeline can be constructed (age in brackets):

Born abt 1841, Dromalta, Limerick, Ireland to William and Mary Moloney
abt 1846 (5) brother William born, baptised 4 May 1846 at Cappamore RC Church
abt 1848 (7) sister Ellen born - followed John to Australia
till 1853 (13) privately tutored

abt 1854-1856 (13-14) attended Nicker National School - Nicker, Limerick is 2 kms south of Dromalta
abt 1857-1858 (15-16) attended classical school at Hospital, Limerick, abt 10 kms south of Dromalta
abt 1859 (17) attended St. John’s National School at Limerick (Limerick City)
abt 1860 (18) attended the newly opened (1859) Jesuit College in Limerick (City)
abt 1860 - 1 Jun 1864 (19-24) worked as a farmer
1863 Ellen Merrick (future wife) leaves for Australia
1 Jun 1864 left Ireland.
18 Jun 1864 (24) sailed from Plymouth for Sydney on the 'Sirocco', assisted immigrant, depositor Mary Callaghan

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