The parents referred to are those who had enrolled their children at the North Bendigo State School, as it was called.
It was only later that the school was referred to as the North Bendigo Primary School and finally last year it became a campus of the Lightning Reef Primary School.
At the end of the 2011 school year this site for education of the children of North Bendigo closed its doors.
The parents I will be referring to had their children attending the above school early in the 20th century.
There are many who have since descended from those mentioned, some of these people are still living in Bendigo and its environs.
Few of the parents mentioned here could have been described as living in comfortable circumstances, most were just eking out an existence, while there was a significant percentage that lived in dire poverty, not an uncommon circumstance in Irishtown.
In Prowse’s Road (named after the butcher, Charles Prowse and now misspelt as Prouses) lived the Speechley family, with, like many others, 12 children; today this would be considered a very large brood.
John Speechley was a miner; at one time he worked as a tributer in the Hercules Mine at Long Gully.
Mr Speechley enrolled his 11th child, Stanley, at the school.
Later in life, when Stanley had reached adulthood and married, he and his wife opted for a smaller family, and had only two children.
There were other Speechley relatives – E, S and WG who in the 1930s and 1940s worked in mines such as the Central Napoleon, North Deborah, Central Deborah, Deborah, Deborah Consolidated, Monument Hill and Nell Gwynne Reefs located in Golden Gully.
WG Speechley moved to Wonthaggi to work in the state coal mines.
Another miner, August Vlaeminck, who at one time lived in Bannister Street and later moved to Hargreaves Street, enrolled his son, John B Vlaeminck, at the North Bendigo State School.
Following a visit to the Vlaeminck household by the Catholic priest from St Kilian’s, August and his wife were induced to send young John to St Kilian’s School in Havelock Street.
When Helen Thompson, a dressmaker of Arnold Street, enrolled her daughter, Coral, at the school, it was not to be for long.
Mrs Thompson had been living with her children while her husband had been working in the silver/lead mines of Broken Hill.
When Mr Thompson’s employment was secure and he had found a place to reside, young Coral moved with her mother to join him and continue her schooling at Broken Hill.
A widow, Mrs EJ Corrie of Norfolk Street, acted as a guardian for a young girl named Lilian Edlin.
Mrs Corrie’s circumstances were so poor that she did not have sufficient food for them.
As the child, Lilian wandered the streets looking for scraps to eat she was arrested and subsequently sent to a neglected-child home.
The neglected-child homes were similar to the earlier industrial schools, where young girls and boys did some basic schooling and also worked, so that as soon as they were old enough they could be placed in employment.
On the corner of Mitchell Street and the Hargreaves Mall is the well-known Bendigo business that still carries the name Collier.
At one time the boot shop owner was Horatio D Collier; his two children were on the roll at the North Bendigo school.
Son Horatio David Collier was the first to be enrolled, followed three years later by his younger sibling Maisie.
Maisie was to transfer to St Kilian’s and Horatio David to the Central School (Camp Hill). The Collier family lived in McCrae Street.
The boots illustrated were for adults, those for children were about two- thirds the price, yet there were numerous parents who could not afford to buy any footwear for their children.