A history of art and design education in South Australia, 1836-1887

Author: Marisa Young

Young, Marisa, 1985 A history of art and design education in South Australia, 1836-1887, Flinders University, College of Education, Psychology and Social Work

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This thesis provides an account of ways in which colonists and their children in South Australia acquired an education in art, design and related subjects during the period between the founding of the colony in 1836, and late 1887, when a centralized authority for public art and design education was established in Adelaide.

The research has traced the early development of local art and design education through the provision of materials and opportunities for selfeducation, as well as activities or schemes planned by private teachers, schools or societies, the Institute Movement, the colony's Public Art Gallery, and licensed and public elementary schools. Part of this thesis is devoted to an examination of a School of Design operated by Charles Hill and the South Australian Society of Arts, and the way in which the authority for the funding and administration eventually became a responsibility of South Australian governments. This thesis also traces the early role and then declining influence of private drawing masters, such as Charles Hill, and the ascendancy of the qualified public teacher of art and design, such as H.P. Gill.

Although opportunities for art and design education were sometimes made available in South Australian country areas, continuing development and support were apparently restricted to schemes and institutions in Adelaide. The provision of art and design education for adults and youths influenced and became linked to the provision of an education in these areas for children. Private and public art and design education were also frequently associated. Private practices were absorbed into public schools, and public art examinations influenced private schools.

The curricula and teaching methods devised or used in the Government Schools of Design in Britain and their successors, the Schools of XIV. Art under the South Kensington Department of Art, exerted considerable influence on the development of art and design education in South Australia. Local teachers,educational administrators, politicians, and prominent private citizens were also well acquainted with information from outside the British Schools of Design and South Kensington administration, as well as a diverse range of institutions, schemes and resources for art and design education in other Australian colonies, Europe, the United States of America and New Zealand. Art and design education was frequently promoted in the colony as a means of elevating taste and, as a consequence, contributing to both moral improvement and the development of manufacturing industries.

Both private and public art and design education in South Australia were supported or influenced by a number of prominent, prosperous colonists outside the teaching fraternity. By the mid-1870s,' a growing number of these colonists were men with professional or business interests in Adelaide. Some of these colonists were associated with each other in their private lives, and their influence was often channelled through a range of public and private forums,which included parliament, public inquiries, administrative boards or committees, societies, exhibitions and the local press.

Keywords: art, education, design, South Australia

Subject: Education thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 1985
School: College of Education, Psychology and Social Work
Supervisor: Dr Denis Grundy