Ellen G. White saw the importance of Bible instruction to be given to children on a daily basis and encouraged the establishing of schools wherever church companies were formed.
In 1890 there were nine Adventist primary schools worldwide, most of them were attached to Seventh-day Adventist colleges. There we no Adventist secondary schools at that time.
By 1900 the Adventist schools had grown to 220 institutions in the United States alone, as well as schools in Canada, England, Australia, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Africa, Argentina, Denmark and Brazil.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific launched its own day school system in the late 1890s. Australia’s first Adventist primary school was opened on April 28, 1897 on the campus of the Avondale School for Christian Workers. There were 25 primary pupils that year. The school was temporarily housed in a room in the ladies’ dormitory. Avondale Primary School is the earliest Adventist church school and has been in operation for the longest in the South Pacific division. It currently has 402 students and is located on Avondale Road, Cooranbong alongside the Avondale High School which has 456 students.
New Zealand was also showing interest in starting up schools but it’s first attempts in Ponsonby in 1902 and Christchurch in 1903 failed because of inadequate resources. The first ongoing school was opened in Napier in late 1903 followed by Lower Hutt, Petone and New Plymouth by 1905.
An interesting feature of the earliest church schools in New Zealand was their determination to offer a distinctive Adventist curriculum.
The opening of the New Zealand boarding school in 1908 was a milestone in the development of Christian education in the South Pacific. It operated under the name “Pukekura”, Maori for “I love the place” and was situated near Cambridge. It was relocated in 1913 to its current site at Longburn Adventist College near Palmerston North. 1915 saw the opening of the first Adventist school in the South Island of New Zealand at Christchurch.
Dr. Milton Hook has Authored 32 booklets in the Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series, chronicling the history of the church in the South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists. His other titles include, “Flames Over Battle Creek”, a brief history of the early days at the Review and Herald Publishing Association as seen through the eyes of George Amadon, printer’s foreman at the institution. Dr Hook’s doctoral dissertation researched the pioneering years of the Avondale School, 1894 to 1900, and he has published some of these findings.
He spent three years as a mission director in Papua New Guinea. His teaching years include primary, secondary and college level experience, especially in Bible subjects, in Australia, New Zealand and America. He is an ordained minister, married and the father of two sons. To read these booklets, click here.
This is the story of the conversion experience and ministry of Albert Henry Piper, first missionary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australasia to the Pacific Islands, an administrator and pioneer in the first half of the twentieth century.
About the Author
The author of this story, Courage in the Lord, is Marye Trim, BA, MEd, MLitt, PhD. She trained as a teacher at Avondale College under Dr Geoffrey Rosenhain, 1949-50. She subsequently taught at Hawthorne Adventist High School, 1951-52, before marrying John Trim, a ministerial graduate of 1950, and in 1971 taught at Zillmere Adventist School. They have three daughters, two sons, seven grandchildren and a cat called Prince Caspian. (Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis is a favourite book). They now live in England. In addition to mission service as a teacher in India and Thailand, Marye has been a lecturer in English at the Australian Catholic University, the University of Western Sydney, Loughborough University, UK (1996-2001), Newbold College, and Avondale College. Author of A Million Times Glad, Tell me about Ellen White, The Rights of a Child , Growing and Knowing , and the video of author Hesba Brinsmead, Longtime, she has published hundreds of poems, stories and articles in both denominational and the secular press. She believes that the dedication, faith and sacrifice of early Adventist pioneers in Australasia should be remembered as an inspiration for the future. To read the book, click here.