Fonds AB750 - Grace Dieu Diocesan Training College records

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Grace Dieu Diocesan Training College records


  • 1906 - 1969 (Creation)

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The Anglican Church of Southern Africa, previously known as the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, is the province of the Anglican Communion in Southern Africa. Its primate is the Archbishop of Cape Town. The church includes dioceses in present day South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Angola, Lesotho, Swaziland and St. Helena.

An agreement was signed in 1937 between the Church of the Province of South Africa (CPSA) - now known as the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) - and the University of the Witwatersrand, whereby the church's central record library was places on loan with the University. The library consisted of books, pamphlets, periodicals and manuscripts. The richness of the Anglican Church's manuscript collection is due to the efforts of the provincial archivists appointed by the church to collect material and transfer it to the university. The first, 1937-1957, was Father Osmund Victor, followed by Canon Cecil Thomas Wood from 1958-1979. Mrs AR Kotze then took over from 1979-2000, until Carol Archibald was appointed as Provincial Archivist in 2001.

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Records were collected together by the Rev. S.P. Woodfield (Vice-Principal of Grace Dieu 1922-1924, Principal 1924-38 and 1953-1957, now retired to the Mission House, Waterval Boven, E. Transvaal) and presented to the C.P.S.A. Record library, which is looked after by the library of the University of the Witwatersrand, in June 1972. They consist of 1199 items end span the years 1906-1969 with the greatest concentration being between 1906-1939 and consist of a log book, minutes, correspondence, memoranda, notes, printed items, press clippings and photographs. The runs of periodicals have been added to the appropriate section of the C.P.S.A. Record Library (see Appendices l& 2) From the records a clear picture of the origin and development of Grace Dieu emerges, and of the financial problems encountered throughout the years.

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Copyright Historical Papers Research Archive, The Library, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Biographical and administrative history: Grace Dieu was an Anglican training college for native school teachers under the supervision of the Diocese of Pretoria of the Church of the Province of South Africa. It existed from 1906-1958 and went through the stages of being a small missionary settlement, mission school, industrial and domestic science school and teachers training institution. It was founded in 1906 on the farm Jakhalsfontein, 18 miles by road from Pietersburg, by Archdeacon (later Bishop) Fuller as a centre for missionary work in the Transvaal. Inspector W.E.C. Clarke of the Transvaal Education Department suggested a school be started and by 1907 the first principal and students had arrived. The main function of Grace Dieu was to train native teachers to staff the many Anglican mission schools in the Transvaal, as it was the onlyAnglican training college in the dioceses of Johannesburg and Pretoria. It did, however, receive students from all parts of South Africa, the Protectorates and Southern Rhodesia. Chief Leabua Jonathan of Lesotho is e former pupil of this college. The effects of the Bantu Education Act of 1953 were such that the teachers training department was closed in 1955 but Grace Dieu continued as a secondary school, extended to standard 10, and an industrial school from 1956-1958. The Anglican church withdrew because of financial difficulties and because the church felt unable to accept the conditions laid down by the authorities for the registration of the school. The buildings were bought over by the Education Department, The first two principals were C. O'Dell, 1906-1909 and W. B.J. Banks 1909-1912. From 1912-1924 the principal was the Rev. W.A. Palmer (later Dean of Johannesburg), under whom there was considerable development. Succeeding principals were S.P. Woodfield, 1924-1938 and 1953-1957, C.M. Jones 1938-1949, H.W. Hosken 1949-1953 and R.M. Jeffery 1957-1958, all of whom contributed to the development of Grace Dieu, Important occasions in the history of the college were the opening of the 3 halls by the Governor General Lord Buxton in 1916, the dedication the new chapel in 1917, the Hickson Healing Mission of 1922 under the Rev. J. M. Hickson, the inspection of the college Pathfinders by the Prince of Wales 1925, the dedication of the Bell Tower and visit of Princess Alice 1925 and the visit of the Governor General and his wife, Earl and Countess Clarendon in 1932, In addition to training teachers, Grace Dieu had a strong practical function. The carpenter's shop made furniture for the college and the carving department carried out orders for crucifixes, prayer-desks, statues etc., from all over South Africa and overseas, The girls under the sisters of the Community of the Resurrection were trained in all branches of housewifery. Extra-mural activities also played an important part in college 1ife: sporting competitions between the various houses took place, The Pathfinder(Scout) movement had its origin at Grace Dieu in 1922 and later the equivalent girls movement, the Wayfarers, was added.

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