The old Gray's Corner School, Waikakahi, Waimate District, N.Z.

 January 1914 Gray's Corner grade 1 to 2, average attendance being 17. Where is Gray's Corner?

WAIKAKAHI BALLOT -1899
Block Section  Acres Rent/acre  No. of Applicants Successful Applicant
X	 4	372	 6 9	 3	Eliza Corrigan		Lincoln
X	 5	290	 8 6	12	John W. Gray		Papakaio
X	 6	419	 7 0	 5	John Blakie		Papakaio 

Otago Daily Times 8 April 1904, Page 8
A meeting of settlers was held in the Waimate district on April 3 to urge the erection of a school on the corner of Dog Kennel and Main South roads. During the meeting Mr J. W. Gray offered three acres of his land for a building site, Mr N. Menzies a donation of £10 10s, Mr M. J. Corrigan £5 5s and the use of his teams to do a portion of the carting, and all the settlers agreed to do carting and find material and labour for fencing. After discussion it was resolved to petition the South Canterbury Education Board to erect a school on the site suggested, and to point out that at present the settlers had to send their children from three and a half to seven miles to the nearest school.

Timaru Herald, 14 September 1904, Page 4 CENTRALISING SCHOOLS.
At the onset, we would say that in laying this scheme before the Board, our only desire is to provide, for children not in the immediate neighbourhood of schools, an education better yet less costly than can be provided by the multiplication of small schools. Reference is made to the impairment of efficiency of the teaching staff at large by the increase of small schools, because if the country had to find large sums of money for building such schools, it would not grant also additions to teachers salaries. The best class of boys cannot now be induced to enter the teaching profession, because it has so few positions of value to offer. Regarding the conveyance of children to schools, the report says that the terms offered and the conditions made by the Department are not liberal enough to make it worth any man's while to provide a single large conveyance to carry all distant pupils to a school. The age limit in the Department's scheme also seemed too narrow. Seeing, then, that the single conveyance system is impracticable, the Institute recommend as and alternative, the plan of separate conveyances, so that any person conveying children to school, in accordance with the Government conditions, may receive the regulation allowance. Thus, by allowing the eldest pupil to drive, the owner of a vehicle would have no driver to pay, yet would receive Is 8d per week for each child carried, might pick up at convenient places pupils other than members of his own family, and all would be gathered into a larger school, to enjoy better educational advantages than could be provided by a small isolated school. A similar plan was worked at Esk Valley, and six or seven miles should not be too long a drive for children who, the Department considers, are able to walk three or four miles. We know it is a practicable scheme, for many children are at the present time driven to school at their parents' expense. The remuneration offered by the Department would help to make parents satisfied with the system. The report also suggests that where practicable the railways should be used for conveying children to or from school if by so doing the building of a small school could be obviated. And where certificated teachers, cannot be obtained for vacant schools, the pupils should be conveyed to the nearest or most convenient school. They would thus be kept at school and earn capitation for the Board and for the teacher.
    Mr M. J. Corrigan, for himself and other householders, wrote requesting that a new school district be defined and a committee elected, for a part of Waikakahi, about Gray's Corner. The secretary said it would be useless to define a district and elect a committee, as there were not enough children to form a school. There were not ten children not even enough to get a conveyance under the Department's rules. There were only three families not served by other schools. Mr Barclay argued that if a conveyance was arranged for there must be some one to attend to details, as the Board could not do it. He therefore moved that the request of the people of Gray's Corner be granted, and this was carried.

Oamaru Mail, 26 May 1905, Page 3
At a meeting of the Canterbury Land Board held in Timaru yesterday.
Mr Corrigan and Mr Menzies waited on the Board to ask what steps should be taken to obtain a transfer to the Education Board of a site for a school at Gray's Corner. Mr Gray, the lessee of the lot from which, the site was to be taken (section 5, block 10) was willing to surrender the site. Mr Bendely, chief clerk, said the Board had been informed that if they paid the capital value of the land and obtained a surrender from Mr Gray, the site could be vested in the Board. Three acres had been asked for. Mr Humphries said that in all cases land for settlement lands, diverted from settlement purposes, must be paid for, the proceeds being credited to the settlement. The price would be £8 10s per acre. Mr Corrigan said £25 10s would be a large sum to find in addition to other expenditure, and asked if the Board could not lease the site. The chief commissioner doubted whether the Board would care to sub-lease the site. Mr Allan suggested that the Board might offer to exchange one of the unused school reserves in the settlement for the site required at Gray's Corner. The matter being in the hands of the Education Board, it was decided to leave it to them to act upon the correspondence already sent. The chief commissioner said the Land Board cannot give sites. Every acre of each settlement has to be accounted for, by capital value or rental.

North Otago Times, 15 September 1905, Page 3
GRAY'S' CORNER ONCE MORE, To Editor. Sir,— A stranger passing through the Waikakahi yesterday came along the main south road, and when he came to the junction of Dog Kennel road he was surprised to see a lot of men erecting a fence around a small paddock, and on asking what it all meant, he was informed that it was Gray's Corner, find that the people engaged in putting up the fence were the householders interested
in the erection of the long-looked for Gray's Corner School; He was rather surprised when he was told that those people had to find the material and also put up the fence, all at their own expense, and also had to contribute a considerable sum of money besides. Yet he said they were all quite happy, and seemed as though they were out for a picnic, and they had drinks of a very refreshing kind, especially when mixed. They gave them the names of Scotch lemonade and Irish sarsparilla, After he had partaken, and wished those enterprising people every success with their school that they were contributing so very liberally towards,, he left them, and went his way,-I am, etc., M. J. CORRIGAN

Timaru Herald, 26 April 1907, Page 6 GRAY'S CORNER.
At the annual meeting of householders there was a good attendance, Mr G. Head being voted to the chair. The first annual report congratulated the householders upon the successful working of the school, everything having turned nut very satisfactory, both' from an educational and financial point of view. The committee considered their choice of Miss Hinch as a- teacher to have been a good one as the inspector's report showed her to be a capable and painstaking teacher. Receipts amounted to £33 6s 5d, and the expenses to £l2 ICs 6d, leaving a credit balance of £20 15s 11d on March 18th. During the year a belt of trees was planted round the grounds on three sides. Mr Reid ploughing the grounds for the trees. A flag pole has also been erected. Prizes were provided for ail the children, and the Rev G. Barclay came out from Waimate to distribute the prizes. Ten meetings were held by the committee during the year, the members on the whole attending very well. The report and balance sheet were adopted. For the new committee eight householders were nominated. The ballot resulted in favour of Messrs Corrigan, O'Hara, Gray. Baikie and Menzies. Mr Gray was elected chairman, and Mr G. Head was re-elected secretary.

Timaru Herald, 28 April 1906, Page 3 COUNTRY SCHOOLS.
TREATMENT BY THE BOARD. COMPLAINTS OF NEGLECT. At the meeting of householders at Gray's Corner this week, the chairman Mr M. J. Corrigan said that he was of opinion that the country school committees had a lot to do and very little to do it with. He had no indention of raising strife between town and country, but it was obvious to all that the small schools were unjustly treated. In fact, from what he, could see, the Board said to themselves. "Oh, that is all right, It is only, for a little school in the country. Gray's Corner, for instance had been very harshly dealt with. The Board sent old desks that ought to have been burned ten years ago, and some of the maps were so old and worn that they were not able to bear their own weight. He asked them to examine the globe that was sent, which seemed to have been drawn out of a bran tub at a bazaar. The chair had several canes broken in the seat, and was all smeared over with ink. He thought that sort of treatment was an insult, not alone to their own district, but to all country schools. Then there was the incidental allowance, which was quite inadequate to find all that was necessary for the use of the school. There should be a allowance for every school of not less than £l4 a year, no matter how small an attendance. He also thought the salary of teachers for small schools was not enough, and that, the country people should request their members to have the Act amended next session that any teacher in full control, of a school should be paid not less than £100 per year. This was agreed to by all present, and the secretary was requested to write to the chairmen of all school committees in South Canterbury asking their assistance to have the alteration made. Several others spoke very strongly on the matter, and hoped that the Board would be more liberal to small schools in future. The chairman said that the parents had every reason to be thankful for the teacher that was appointed, as Miss Alice Hinch was a good teacher and also a painstaking girl.

North Otago Times 31 December 1908, Page 1
The children of the Gray's Corner School with their parents, assembled in the schoolroom on Thursday, December 24th for the annual prize distribution. The Rev. R. Dickie, before giving out the prizes; gave and interesting address on the necessity, and value of a good education. Mr O'Hara chairman. Some sports were then got off for the children, after which refreshments were handed round by the ladies. The preceding were enlivened by Mrs E. MacLachlan who sang "The Kail yard" and in response "Green grow the rushes oh" and the Rev. Mr Dickie sang "Scot's wahae" in good style and in response 'Ye banks and braes." Miss Waldie the teacher played accompaniments for the singers. The prize list was as follows:
Dux boy: Joe O'Hara (special prize presented by Mr E. Forsyth). Dux girl: Gertrude Menzies (special prize presented by Mr G. Miller), Most popular child: Joe O'Hara.
Standard VI.: Leicester Ledshman 1,
Standard .V. :  O'Hara 1, Leonard Ledsham.2,
Standard III : Gertrude Menzies 1, Jack Menzies 2, Mary O'Hara 3.
Standard II: Archibald MacLachlan 1,Margaret Brown 2..
Standard I, : Forbes Ledsham and Alan MacLachlan (equal) 1. Bryan O'Hara 2.
Class P. : Fannie O'Hara -1, Edith Baikie 2, May Baikie 3, Gordon Brown 4, Eric MacLachlan 5.
Special prizes for attendance (presented by Miss Waldie and Messrs O'Hara and Head): Gertrude Menzies, Mary O'Hara, Bryan O'Hara, and Margaret Brown.

Timaru Herald, 30 December 1909, Page 3 THE SCHOOLS.
GRAY'S CORNER. The parents and children of the Gray's Corner School district met in the schoolroom on the afternoon of 23rd December, for the purpose of taking part in the annual prize-giving. Mr O'Hara, chairman of committee, before giving out the prizes, said he thought the children deserved a little encouragement, and congratulated the teacher r.pou the excellent results which she had obtained during her first year's teaching. The inspector's report with one or two exceptions, was very satisfactory, and he had no doubt that with more experience Miss Waldie would do still better. Following is the prize list: —
St. VI. Len Ledsham, Joe O'Hara.
St. V. —Gerty Menzies, Jack Menzies, Mary O'Hara.
St. 111. Archie McLachlan.
St. II. —Forbes Ledsham, Allan McLachlan, Bryan O'Hara.
St. I.—Edith Baikie, Fanny O'Hara.
Infant Division —May Baikie, Nancie Ledsham, Eric McLachlan.
Attendance—Boys, Bryan O'Hara; girls. Gerty Menzies.
Most popular boy—Joe O'Hara girl, Gerty Menzies.
Progress prize—-Edith Baikie.
The school picnic will be held at Caroline Bay on January 7th.

Oamaru Mail, 22 December 1911, Page 3 GRAY'S CORNER
The prizes were given, out yesterday by the Chairman of the Committee (Mr J. O'Hara). The wet weather interfered with the attendance. Mr O'Hara congratulated the teacher and pupils upon their continued efficiency, and wished them all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. He announced that the annual picnic would be held at Timaru on January 4th. Cheers were given for the teacher (Miss Waldie) and the chairman, and the proceedings terminated. The following is the prize list: Standard VI. —Jack Menzies 1, Gertrude Menzies 2, Mary O'Hara 3. Standard IV. —Bryan O'Hara. 1. Standard ll.—Edith Baikie 1, Fanny O'Hara 2. Standard I.—May Baikie 1, Eileen Cooney 2. Class 2.—Maggie Sinclair and John Baikie (equal) 1, Vincent Cooney 2. Class I.—Jack Nelmes 1, Willie Nelmes 2.
—Special Progress. —Jack Menzies. Sewing.—Mary O'Hara. Drawing—Fanny O'Hara. Neatness.— Gerty Menzies. Attendance—Girls: Edith Baikie Boys: John Baikie.

The families.

John Francis Cooney married Sarah BRAMFORD in 1902
1903 Cooney Eileen Margaret
1905 Cooney John Vincent
1909 Cooney Teronica Mary
1907 Cooney Thomas Desmond

M.J. Corrigan fought hard to get a school at Gray's Corner. He wrote letters to the editor of the Timaru Herald to the board of education etc. In May 1907 he sold his farm of 372 acres at Wakakahi, to Mr James Stewart, Jr and left the district. Elizabeth Mary O'CONNOR married and Michael Joseph Corrigan in 1898. Children:
1899 Corrigan Catherine Mary
1901 Corrigan Michael Joseph
1902 Corrigan Margaret Elisabeth

Peter Ledsham. In October 1911 a pleasant function took place at Gray's Corner. Mr and Mrs P. Ledsham and family were tendered a social by neighbours and friends. Mr O'Hara referred to the cordial relations that had always existed between the Ledsham family and neighbours on the Waikakahi. Mr Ledsham leaving in the hope of finding a larger field in of Roslyn, Geraldton, Western Australia where he intended to settle for good. In 1894 Peter Ledsham married Eda Margaret FORBES d/o Mr & Mrs R. Forbes, CHCH. Children:
1896 Ledsham Leicester Innes Forbes [b. CHCH. KIA Belgium, 5 August 1917 Messines Ridge British Cemetery. AIF 16th Inf. Batt. Attended  Gray's Corner School & Waitaki BHS]
1897 Ledsham Leonard Bassett
1901 Ledsham Robert Forbes
1903 Ledsham Nancy Eda
1906 Ledsham Ngaio Margaret

John Baikie married Edith Julia WILLETS in 1902
1902 Baikie Edith Cecilia
1904 Baikie May Elizabeth
1905 Baikie John William
1908 Baikie Ethel Eric
1914 Baikie Doris Lucy

Archibald Lamont McLachlan married Mary Elizabeth BOYLES in 1882
1886 McLachlan Angus Walter
1900 McLachlan Eric Reuben
1883 McLachlan Henry Lamont
1884 McLachlan William Arthur
1888 McLachlan Laurence Archibald 

Neil Menzies married Grace FRASER in 1895
1898 Menzies John
1896 Menzies Mary Gertrude

Charles Richard Nelmes married Fanny BEER in 1904
1904 Nelmes William Edwin Fanny
1906 Nelmes Athol Jack
1908 Nelmes Harold Leonard
1909 Nelmes Ralph Cyril

John O'Hara married Ellen BRYAN in 1890. Children of Eleanor and John O'Hara:
1894 O'Hara James Henry
1895 O'Hara Joseph Charles  (NZEF 3/1183)
1899 O'Hara Mary Eleanor
1900 O'Hara Bryan Richard
1902 O'Hara Fanny

Oamaru Mail, 27 November 1920, Page 4
A very pleasant time was spent at the schoolroom last Friday might, on the occasion of a, presentation to Mr and Mrs A. Sinclair, until recently residents of the district for some years. After a somewhat unsettled day the evening turned out delightfully tine, and there was an excellent attendance. Dancing was the main feature of the evening, the l music being provided by Mr J. Brohan on the accordion and Mr B. Smillie officiated as M.C. Merriment ran high until a halt was called for the -presentation. Mr O'Hara, acting-chairman of the School Committee, rose to speak on behalf of the residents of the district. Mr John Baikie then presented Mr and Mrs Sinclair with a silver tea service, as a memento of their nine years' residence in Gray's Corner. Mr J. Brohan for his excellent music and Mr H. Smillie for so kindly acting as M.C. and also his inspiring music on the pipes.

Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, 2 August 1910, Page 2 Double WEDDING.
WARE—HINCH. McLAUCHLAN —HINCH. On Wednesday, July 20th, Studholme Junction was en fete, crowds of people thronged the roads; all people, old and young, bound for the Nukuroa Wesleyan Church to witness a scene quite unique in the district— the double marriage of Mr Richard Hinch's two daughters—Miss Annie Hinch to Mr Andrew McLauchlan, Waimate, and Miss Alice Elizabeth Hinch to Mr Arnold William Ware, of Okain's Bay. The church was prettily decorated by friends of the brides. Miss Hyman presided at the organ for the customary Wedding n Hymn and Bridal March, while the Church choir attended in full force. The Rev. Penny, assisted by the Rev. Blight, performed the nuptial ceremony. As the grooms attended by the best men took their places, the brides, one on each arm of their father, entered the church, and when all the party took their place the effect was charming. Mr McLauchlan was attended by his brother, Mr Fred McLauchlan, while Mr Ware's best man was Mr William Hinch, brother of the bride. Miss Annie Hinch's bridesmaid was her sister, Miss Bertha Hinch, who was attired in cream delaine, braided and trimmed with tucked net...

New Zealand Herald, 6 April 1905, Page 5
Timaru, Wednesday. The Land Commission drove round two village settlements, and visited the Smithfield Freezing Works this morning. At one p.m. the Commission met to take evidence.
Michael Joseph Corrigan, a lease in perpetuity holder on Waikakahi, said he would like the option of acquiring the freehold of his land. He had never met a Crown tenant who was really satisfied to be paying rent for ever, and if Sir J. McKenzie were alive now he would see the fallacy of the lease in perpetuity. He was afraid of revaluation. During Mr. McLennan's examination of this witness, an interesting sidelight on the manner in which evidence is secured was shown. Witness said the Crown tenants would really all be asking for the freehold but for the threats that had been made. The Crown tenants there wanted the freehold, but were frightened to ask for it, because of a threat, made by the Minister for Lands in Hansard about revaluation, and putting their sections up to auction. Mr. McLennan knew as well as witness that that resolution was only passed through fear. Indeed, when the chairman of the meeting said they were all freeholders at heart the convener of the meeting said: "Now the chairman has hit the nail on the head;'' and those present cheered. Mr. Paul Cross examined witness on this matter, but failed in any way to shake his testimony.

North Otago Times, 21 November 1916, Page 4
For the vacancy on the Canterbury Land Board the following nominations have, been received: Michael Joseph Corrigan, Dallington; Neil Menzies, Waimate; Robert Parker, Rolleston; David Stowell, Timaru. The election has been fixed for December 14th.  [The result of an election of a member of the Canterbury Land Board, to replace the late Mr J. Sealy as the representative of the Crown tenants, was announced this afternoon. Mr David Stowell, of Timaru, was elected with a total of 586 votes out of 1069 that were cast. The unsuccessful candidates were:— Messrs M. J. Corrigan, Dallington, 208 voles; Neil Menzies, Waimate, 150 votes; and Robert Parker, Rolleston, 20 votes. The informal votes numbered 105. ] 

Near by is the Morven Catholic Cemetery.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project