The following is an extract from a report concerning Bendoc issued in 1872 – published in the Bendoc – a centenary souvenir – Bendoc State School 1873 – 1973.
“Over a long house containing 2 small rooms there is an elaborate sign board with V.R. and crown, informing the public that this is the office o fthe postmaster, district electoral registrar, rural school master, issuer of miner’s rights, etc., registrar of births, deaths, marriages, commission for affidavits and etc., and underneath the signature of John Stockdle who is the holder of all offices.”
In about October 1868, John Stockdale, 50 years of age, previously (1838-1839) of St Bress College, England started a school at Wagra Bendoc in a room measuring 24′ x 12′. The daily average attendance was 10-14 pupils, and parents paid a weekly school fee. On 21st February 1870, he applied to the Education Deparment for assistance with wages as most of the parents were unable to pay any fee. The Department granted the request subject to an inspector’s report.
Inspector Bodribb replied to the Department that, “I regret to say it is quite impossible. The Snowy River is so dangerous to cross in flood time that if I attempted to swim it, my horse and his rider would probably both be drowned in the rapid current. Nobody thinks of crossing the Snowy River at this time of the year and bushmen to whom I have spoken on the subject scout the idea as being madness to attempt so proverbially a dangerous river. The mails are slung on a wire rope. The mailman does not cross.”
Rev. Brazier, of Bairnsdale, was asked to do an inspection when he next made hs pastoral visit to Bendoc, but he too was unable to go, so arrangements were made with NSW for Inspector Maynard of Cooma Inspectorate to visit. However, the wage subsidy was paid from May 1870, and parents fees were reduced to 6d. a week.
On 24th February 1872. school closed owing to the illness of John Stockdale, who later died. John Nichol applied for land and a new school house (average attendance now 34), the site suggested being Allotment 1, Section F, Wagra Township, Parish of Bendoc, County of Croajingalong. The application was signed by J Nichol, H M Joseph, H Hensleigh, C H Lawson, H Reed, J Keith, G Sellers, W Clarke.
23-9-1872. J C Maynard, Inspector from Braidwood, NSW reports that the site chosen was a good one, high and dry, and places full confidence in the signers of the application. On 25th September, 1872, £125 was granted on a 50-50 basis towards a new schoolroom and teacher’s residence.
26-10-1872. Application was made to rent a building as it was impossible to collect £125, and children were becoming very rude and mischevious. A guaranteed average of 25 was given.
13-12-1872. An area of 2 roods (approx 1/2 acre) was reserved for a school building.
27-1-1873. No school for nearly 12 months since death of John Stockdale. Now known as Rural School No. 8.
24-2-1873. Application was made to rent room belonging to Edmund Hyde of Bombala at a cost of 2/- to 2/6 per week. Owing to the remoteness application was made to NS for a teacher. None available. Frederick Jones of Prahran, Victoria applied and was appointed to start school at Wagra Bendock No. 1166 on 11th July 1983. Accommodation could be provided for him at the one hotel or at one of several boarding houses. The best route being by steamer from Melbourne to Eden (Twofold Bay) thence by Deversia Coach to Bombala, thence by Reed’s coach to Wagra Bendock, or by horse hire.
4-6-1873 A letter to the Department from Fredeick Jones reports his arrival at Bendock stating, “That a severe gale off Sidney Heads and bad roads caused the delay.”
11-8-1873. John Nichol reports the arrival of teacher on th 3rd, and the oening of school on 7-8-1873 with an average attendance of 40 children.
11-8-1873. Furniture at the school was reported as unsuitable. Desks had to be borrowed.
21-10-1873. Further complaints. School room was only 12′ x 12′ x 5’6″, consisting of logs with 2’x2’6″ window the only ventilation being the door which at this season is always open. Average attendance was 35 with a likelihood of more.
8-12-1873. John Nichol states that he could secure, if approved by Education Department. another allotment with access to water opposite the original site.
27-1-1874. School started in a commodious room with sitting room and bedroom attached with a detached kitchen on about 1/2 an acre of ground at 5/- per week rental, formerly an old store. Counters and fittings which cost £5 were made into desks, etc. The school room measured 20′ x 18′ x 9′, but there was no fireplace.
22-5-1874. An area of 1 acre 16 perches was reserved for a school building.
18-3-1877. Mr John Ford’s tender was accepted. Clerk of Works granting £250 for erection of school house and teacher’s quarters of three rooms at Wagra Bendoc.
7-7-1877. Erection of a school house 24′ x 16′ completed with quarters of three rooms for teacher not quite finished. School started 7th July. On 8th August 1877, the teacher James De Viesseux was awarded a half day to shift in, the previous residence being one room 16′ x 12′. The rent was £9 per annum. An application was also made for the school yard to be fenced because of the danger of wild cattle from nearby cattle runs. The application also included a request for a colonial oven at a cost of £3 and three coats of paint for the building (£11) and a well (cost £1).
15-4-1878. Wagra Bendoc and Haydens Bog part time. Haydens Bog school only just built.
29-4-1880. James Tipping, head teacher, applied for 20 hat pegs for Haydens Bog. As one little boy at Bendoc had lost his life when looking for his horse that had strayed, he also applied to have the horse paddock fenced. Other needs were a pump for the well, the erection of a windlass, and a lid for the well, which was to be secured by a padlock.
27-2-1883. Edwin Cox, teacher applied for a new bucket and rope for the well, also a horse allowance as chaff purchased from Delegate for his horse was so costly because of the cross Border Dues.