# 43927


Staff and pupils outside a Sydney private school (possibly Henry Montagu’s Queen’s College for Young Ladies, Macleay Street, Potts Point), 1870-72.

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Albumen print photograph, carte de visite format, 64 x 105 mm (mount); verso with the pictorial back mark in violet of the American & Australasian Photographic Company, Beaufoy Merlin, Sydney Office, 324 George Street; the print is a little pale but otherwise in very good condition, as is the mount.

Beaufoy Merlin specialised in photographing buildings with their owners, occupiers or workers, and he is known to have produced numerous cartes de visite of Sydney schools; see, for example, his carte de visite photograph of St Michaels School, Bourke Street, Darlinghurst (SLNSW, SPF/447) taken around the same time as the photograph we offer here (i.e. the back mark has the 324 George Street address of the American & Australasian Photographic Company).

The present photograph is clearly of a private school for girls and young women. We believe there is a strong possibility that it is Queen’s College for Young Ladies, Macleay Street, Potts Point, which was founded and run by Henry Montagu. This school was open between 1868 and 1875. Early advertisements in the SMH during 1870 gave the college’s address as ‘143 Macleay Street, Darlinghust Road’, later advertisements as ‘143 Darlinghurst Road’ – one street is, of course, a continuation of the other.

Henry Neville Montagu, M.A. (Oxon.), Ph.D. (1823-1901) arrived in Sydney in 1860. He was employed as English master at several girls’ schools including Carlton House, Wynyard Square, prior to establishing Queen’s College for Young Ladies at 143 Darlinghurst Road, with his German wife, Theodora Maximilliana Zincken. In this photograph, we believe the bearded gentleman standing on the porch at right (the only male pictured) is Montagu, and that the very upright and stern-looking lady beside him is Theodora.

Aside from education, Montagu also had serious interests in journalism and the theatre: he was proprietor and editor of The Sydney Punch for several years from 1873, and wrote for a number of newspapers as a music and drama critic. He travelled to Brisbane in September 1876 as manager of the Majeroni Theatrical Company for their season there. He also served as manager and secretary of the Orpheonist Society (a musical society in Stanley Street, Darlinghurst). Much later, in 1881, he was elected foundation president of the Sydney Press Club.

Montagu had good business acumen and was something of an entrepreneur when it came to sourcing fee-paying pupils for his exclusive Queen’s College in Potts Point. He cast a wide net to attract the attention of wealthy families throughout regional New South Wales, in the hope of enticing them to send their daughters to board at the grand Macleay Street residence.

A lengthy advertisement placed in the Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser (Grafton, NSW), 2 February 1869, exemplifies his promotional nous:

‘THE SUCCESS THAT HAS FOR NINE YEARS attended Mr. Montagu’s tuition at the PRINCIPAL LADIES’ SCHOOLS in Sydney, when only giving a comparatively short portion of his time at each academy, will be some guarantee of the thorough education to be imparted to the pupils of Queen’s College, when, as principal tutor, he will devote his WHOLE TIME AND ENERGIES to their instruction, to the preparation of their studios, and to the development of their mental capabilities. Parents may rely on their children being WELL GROUNDED in every branch of a THOROUGH ENGLISH EDUCATION, with ELOCUTION, MODERN LANGUAGES, and the various ACCOMPLISHMENTS, under PROFESSORS of the highest distinction ; the system of teaching being adapted lo strengthen the intellectual qualities. The LATIN (as a key to English), FRENCH, and GERMAN LANGUAGES will be included in the regular course of study, WITHOUT ADDITIONAL CHARGE. In the latter, the pupils have the advantage of obtalning (from Mrs. Montagu) the pure high German idiom and pronunciation. SPECIAL CLASSES are arranged for tho EDUCATION and TRAINING of GOVERNESSES for schools or private families ; and Examiners of the highest scholastic position will award CERTIFICATES of proficiency. For these classes the COLLEGIATE SYSTEM will be Introduced by LECTURES on various important scientific subjects, supplementary to tho regular school studies. The accommodation for RESIDENT PUPILS is such as to ensure to those entrusted to Mrs Montagu’s care every comfort of HOME. The house is particularly commodious, in a most healthy situation on the highest part of Sydney, and replete with every convenience in the schoolroom and dormitories are very large, and well ventilated : hot and cold baths are attached to the latter. A large Recreation Ground serves for the amusement of the pupils in their leisure hours. Tho SCALE OF FEES is arranged with a due regard to economy, and the depression of the times. Application for circular and particulars may be made to MRS. HENRY N. MONTAGU, 143 DARLINGHURST ROAD, NEAR MACLEAY-STREET, SYDNEY.’