Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)

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Announcement of the Opening of the School

The good word reached most believers in Australia and New Zealand through the April 5, 1897, issue of the Bible Echo. S. N. Haskell signed the article that informed constituents that school was opening at last. He promised: 4BIO 298.8

The Avondale school will give a liberal education to its pupils. Its founders are decidedly in favor of this. And at the same time the Scriptures will hold a prominent place in the school. It will aim to give that education in the sciences that will fit those who attend for the practical duties of life. 4BIO 299.1

Haskell mentioned also that connected with the school would be manual training and scientific cooking. In addition, the students would receive instruction on how to care for the health, “believing a sound body contributes largely to a sound mind.” 4BIO 299.2

Those who had been in Australia longer, who knew well the general financial conditions, entertained some misgivings as to how many students would show up. W. C. White had alluded to this in his letter to O. A. Olsen written March 13, 1896: 4BIO 299.3

You will see from my article for the Echo, a copy of which I enclose, what my expectations are about the opening of our regular school. These are hard times, and if our buildings were ready, it would be difficult to get a paying patronage.—9 WCW, p. 342. 4BIO 299.4

Two months after White wrote this letter, Professor Rousseau felt that because of his wife's failing health, he must return to the United States for a year, and requested a leave of absence. The board granted this, and in early July, 1896, having packed their household goods for storage, Rousseau and his wife took ship for San Francisco. His responsibilities as school manager were left with W. C. White, and his responsibilities as accountant were placed on the shoulders of Mrs. Lillian Lacey. The latter, a capable young woman but without experience in these lines, was hastily tutored by Rousseau before he left. As the church members saw the strong pillar of the teaching team departing and leaving the newly come Laceys to stand almost alone, their courage plummeted. 4BIO 299.5

Now, in early 1897 Ellen White's undaunted faith was a steadying influence. School would open on April 28, 1897, and her brethren tried hard to exercise faith and to plan wisely. Wrote Daniells to W. C. White on May 6: “I believe God is giving us the victory, though the devil is fighting this phase of our work very hard.” 4BIO 299.6

Daniells went on to say that they could not learn of one person in New South Wales and knew of only one in New Zealand who was planning to attend the school as a boarding student. He knew of only three or four from his conference. The matter became the subject of prayer, and his secretary, a woman named Graham, came up with a suggestion that he says “worked like a charm.” 4BIO 300.1

The suggestion was to ask the members in all the churches to each pledge sixpence a week for twenty weeks toward the students’ aid fund. Twenty-seven persons making such payments would meet the tuition of one student for the term of twenty-two weeks. This was to be a revolving fund, the student in time paying it back to aid another. The assignment of the students to be benefited would be in the hands of the conference committee. The people were pleased, and enfused with a new spirit. The North Fitzroy church pledged itself responsible for two students, and other churches responded well. Daniells reported: 4BIO 300.2

One week ago tonight we sent six young men and women off by Cook's excursion. This morning at six o'clock we sent six more. One went alone in the middle of the week. This makes thirteen who have gone from this conference, and we are expecting to send four more.—11 WCW, p. 435. 4BIO 300.3

Plans called for the literature evangelists to sponsor one student, and the scattered believers another. Daniells wrote rather jubilantly: 4BIO 300.4

If these plans work, and from the way things are going I have reason to believe they will, we shall have a pretty good attendance after all. We shall pull hard to have from thirty-five to forty boarding students by the time Professor Hughes arrives. These with the day students will give us an attendance of about sixty students.— Ibid., 436. 4BIO 300.5