Christensen Family of Manawatu, NZ
Family Members from the Stoney Creek/Whakarongo School Roll
Descendents of Anders and Marie Christensen have attended Stoney Creek (now Whakarongo) School, near Palmerston North from 1878 (it opened 1877) to the present. Six of Anders and Marie's children attended the school at various times, with only Hilda not attending. Lydia, however, attended following her adoption by the Dahlstrom family and appears under that surname.
The original site of Stoney Creek (Whakarongo) School. The school operated on this Napier Road site between 1877 and 1902, however, the grounds were prone to dampness and the authorities were eventually convinced to move it. The old house was the headmaster's house and was built in 1879. The school itself (which still exists on another nearby site, but in private ownership) stood on the right side of the house. The grounds are now a car wrecker's yard. The school is now a kilometre away 'behind' the camera. (Photo: Val Burr, 25/12/2000)
The following information from the first school roll, indicates that the children had an erratic school career. Annie (Martha) started school at the age of ten. She was then un-enrolled, but the date was not recorded. Her younger brothers all began their schooling when aged around five or six. They remained there until they achieved their Standard Two certificate. This is the equivalent of four years of primary schooling. Noticeably Annie, then aged twelve, was re-enrolled at the school the same day as her five year old brother Calvert. However, she only remained a month and was removed from the roll several weeks later. Probably she went back just to assist her little brother during his first days at the school.
It is noteworthy that the school suffered an extreme overcrowding problem throughout 1881, its one relatively small classroom housing around 55 pupils. Lack of ventilation had also been a problem in the summer, with children seeming to suffer from lack of oxygen. A second classroom was added in late 1881.
The children's mother, Marie, died in childbirth on 13 March 1885, and the family's farm was sold in June 1885. This time of departure is supported by the withdrawal of Niobar and Calvert in June 1885. Emmanuel's date of withdrawal is not recorded, but can be assumed to have probably been soon after his mother's death (he was raised by the Johansen family). Meanwhile, Richard had left school some seven months before his mother's death - perhaps influenced by the overcrowding problem.
Lydia, on the other hand, was sent to live with the Larsen family of Mauriceville, after her mother's death. There she received no schooling and life was not very pleasant. When the Larsens decided to go to America, she was taken in and adopted by Ola and Perine Dahlstrom of Roberts Line, Stoney Creek. It was only then that she was enrolled at Stoney Creek School. It is noteworthy that her date of birth was recorded as 4 June 1881, when she was in fact born on 2 June 1880. At the end of her first year, she was withdrawn and transferred to Terrace End School, within the Borough of Palmerston North. Probably this would have been slightly closer to her home. She left school in about 1893 - the year Kelvin Grove School opened just around the corner from her home.
Gradually, and for a range of reasons not applicable here, Stoney Creek became the two farming districts of Whakarongo and Kelvin Grove.
Lydia's two children, Vera and Leo Burr, who grew up on the former Dahlstrom farm which Lydia inherited, both received their primary education at Kelvin Grove School. Then, in turn, Leo's children Valerie, Paul, Pamela, Bruce and Russell, all spent at least some of their primary school years at Whakarongo School. Val, Paul and Pam had started at Roslyn School (which replaced Kelvin Grove School), and after shifted to another leased farmhouse down the road, moved briefly to Terrace End School, before starting at Whakarongo School. More recently, Pam's sons, Raymond and Jamie Mills, and Val's children Tanya and Kieran Burr, have also been educated there, with Kieran presently being at the school.
It is worth noting that Val Burr (author of this website) wrote the history of Whakarongo School (A Time of Transition: Whakarongo School & District twelve decades on), which was published in 1990.
Part of Whakarongo (formerly Stoney Creek) School on the site that has been used since 1902. (Photo: Val Burr, 25/12/2000)