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The Wesleyan Day School

The Wesleyan Day School at Sovereign Hill is based on the Mount Pleasant Wesleyan Day School which operated from 1853 until it became the Mount Pleasant State School on 3 August, 1874.

Up until 1853 Ballarat centred on Main Road which had developed into a wild roistering community quickly becoming over-crowded, undrained, smelly and unhealthy. Such an environment of drinking, gambling and riotous living was not to the liking of the pious Cornish and Welsh followers of John Wesley.

The hilly unspoilt country south of Golden Point appealed to the Cornishmen in particular so they moved in a group to a gentle rise on the western side of the White Horse Ranges and called the area Pleasant Mount, soon to become known as Mount Pleasant. Here they created Ballarat’s first residential suburb and formed a strong Wesleyan congregation led by the Reverend Theophilus Taylor.

The first Wesleyan Church in Mount Pleasant was a canvas tent erected on the corner of Barkly and Morton Streets used as a church, Sunday School and Day School.
As the congregation steadily grew the tent was replaced by a wooden slab building with canvas roof relocated from Clayton’s Hill. This building served as Church, Sunday School and Day School.

The slab building with canvas roof was replaced in 1857 by a woodern building which operated as Church, Sunday School and Day School. By 1858, enrolments in both Day and Sunday Schools had passed 200 so there must have been great relief when a new stone church opened nearby in 1865.

The wooden building continued to be used as a school until 1862 Common Schools Act passed control of the school to the Board Education and it became the Mount Pleasant State School.

The building is the model for our Weselyan Day School at Sovereign Hill which will be set in 1858.