Murray Island School - LMS
When an anthropology team from Cambridge University visited Mer in 1898 the linguist Sidney Ray, classed some of the children's literary work as 'quite equal' to those of children of the same age in English schools. On 1 September 1896 the Murray Island School was listed as Queensland School Number 774. In 1897 LMS missionary Chalmers concluded:
'I am told that the Murray Island school, would class as high, if not higher; than any other school of the same standing in the colony [of Queensland] I think it would too. English only is taught and attendance is compulsory. Reading, writing, arithmetic, geography and grammar are taught.'
Murray Islanders' schooling in English and other subjects goes back to 1879 when the LMS situated the Papuan Institute, a teachers' training school at Mer. Twenty years later, the visitors from Cambridge University found a bilingual generation. Pasi, one of the last priests of Malo, now a Christian, requested an exercise book of the Englishmen. In it he wrote 59 pages of myths, customs, songs, and descriptions of the environment, which became an important part of their six-volume Reports.
Keywords: anthropology, Cambridge Anthropological Expedition, education, London Missionary Society, Murray Island, school, 1897
Author: Sharp, Nonie
Source: London Missionary Society, 1907.