William Milne (1865 - 1906)
'Boss' of Caversham School
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)