Thomas Taber (1763 - 1842) schoolmaster
Thomas Taber taught at the first ‘proper’ school in the early colony of Sydney (1798) under the guidance of its founder, Rev. Richard Johnson. Therefore, he was one of the very first teachers in Australia; a Christian teacher.
Sections of my family on my mother’s side (me included) believe that court records show that he was ‘set up’ by some unscrupulous people in England (eager for a reward). Be that as it may, my ‘great grandfather’ proved to be a most honourable man and was appointed the 4th Schoolmaster of the early colony and was no doubt a very capable teacher.
He later went on to work as a schoolmaster in Parramatta in 1803.
His son, Thomas Taber (Junior) assisted his father for some years and later taught for many years at St. Phillips Infant School.
Both men were granted land in the Menangle and Airds areas in what is now broadly known as Campbelltown.
It is worth noting that the Great Synagogue in Castlereagh and Elizabeth Streets in Sydney is actually built on part of land once owned by my grandfather, Thomas Taber (Senior).
Thomas Taber (Senior) retired on a pension in 1824 after 26 years of faithful service. He died in 1842.
The reason why I am publishing this article is to preserve the prayer that was given on behalf of Christian teachers all around our country on that wonderful day.
I was deeply honoured and very humbled to have been asked to assist in the public celebration. However, I am very conscious that the only reason I was involved was due to the faithful ministry of my ‘great grandfather’, Thomas Taber.
This ‘prayer’ has been tucked away in my file for too many years now. At the very real risk of overstating its importance I think it should be preserved in the interests of the history of Christian education in our country.
My prayer on the Sydney Opera House forecourt, September 17th 1993, was as follows:
“Our Gracious God and Heavenly Father,
We praise You this day for Who you are and we thank You deeply for Christian schooling and Christian teachers.
We thank You for those who have gone before us – those teachers who have been obedient to Your direction and guidance; who have taught Christianly and have let their light shine before the eyes of students for 200 years.
Our prayer this day Father is that we who are Christian teachers will remain faithful to the tremendous privilege of teaching.
Strengthen us all Dear Lord by Your mighty power and Spirit, to be wise, to be diligent; to be models to the students under our care, and to love with the love of the Lord Jesus.
May Your blessing be upon us and on the Christian teachers to come, so that we will be able to continue to impart truth from Your precious Word in the cultural context in which You have placed us.
Strengthen us Lord, in the eyes of a watchful needy world, to be truly Christian, truly effective and truly faithful; always keeping our eyes upon the Master Teacher – the Lord Jesus Christ.
For without Him – we can do nothing.
Rev. Richard Johnson : http://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/richard-johnson/
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