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William Milne (1865 - 1906)

'Boss' of Caversham School

William MilneWilliam Milne was a kindly and learned Scotsman who presided over the development of Caversham School for 41 years. A graduate of Aberdeen University, his own formal education had been hard won. As a consequence he placed a high value on academic achievement. He constantly urged both his pupils and his teachers to take advantage of the opportunity to take classes at the university. Many, including Caroline Freeman Otago's first female graduate, went on to complete their degrees with his strong support and encouragement. Taking up his post in 1865, Milne came to a two-room school on its original site in College Street. When he retired in 1906, it had expanded to cater for over 600 pupils. The classes were large and the teachers worked hard. 'The boss', as he was affectionately known by his teachers, expected a 96% pass rate in the exams. He was seldom disappointed. The staff at Caversham were a 'happy family' under his leadership, many going on to become principals in other schools. Milne had used education to improve his own position in life. He made sure that his school helped others to do the same.

(Photograph, Caversham School Jubilee Souvenir Booklet, 1926, Otago Settlers Museum Collection)

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