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20 August 1886 Hahndorf Academy

 20 August 1886 Hahndorf Academy

On 20 August 1886 Traugott (Chibby) Boehm sold his Hahndorf Academy to Englishman, D.J. Byard. Boehm had opened his Academy as a private institution of higher learning in 1857 and many of his pupils went on to become prominent men in commerce, medicine and law. The fees charged were two guineas a quarter for day pupils and 10-13 guineas a quarter for boarders; it was among the first boarding schools in Australia. In 1872 the Academy received some government aid and Boehm was able to make additions to the building. But in 1876 a new Education Act prohibited religious instruction in schools receiving aid and this placed Boehm in some financial difficulty although he struggled on until 1886.

D.J. Byard was an MA from Oxford and an Anglican lay preacher. He re-named the Academy Hahndorf College and under his leadership it flourished, attracting students from as far away as Queensland. He was fluent in German so carried on the curriculum and traditions established by Boehm in the 30 years he was headmaster. With the establishment of country high schools by the Education Department enrolments declined and Byard sold the property in 1916. After that it was used for a variety of purposes until by the early 1960s it was so dilapidated it was nearly sold to a petrol company who would have demolished it. Fortunately, after much argument and debate, a group of people saved the building and restored it for use as an art gallery and museum.

Anni Luur Fox, Hahndorf, Fox Publishing Co., 1977, pp.9-22.

Tags: Byard D.J., Hahndorf Academy