Doris Raysmith

Doris Raysmith

Outstanding student at Newcastle High School 1907-1911


Doris Rachel Raysmith was born in Newcastle on 2 April 1894. Her father was a Hunter Street Jeweller. She enrolled at Newcastle High School in 1907, in its second year of operation. She was an exceptional scholar, winning scholarships, prizes and a medal for female dux of fourth year in 1910.

In the Training College examinations in her fifth and final year, she was bracketed with a Sydney candidate for first in the State. Doris went on to gain a BA from Sydney University in 1915 and to marry Julian Blanchard in 1919. Doris died on 30 December 1990 in Ringwood, Victoria.Raysmith Jewellery

We are indebted to her daughter Margaret Fox (nee Blanchard) for donating this memorabilia of her mother to the NGHS Ex-Students’ Union, who in turn donated it to the Caesar Smith Collection. The documents provide an excellent insight into secondary school education in the early parts of the 20th century.

1907 - 1

Doris sat exams on 6, 7 December 1906, resulting in her being informed, on 29 January 1907, that she had been awarded a State School Scholarship entitling her, till 31/12/1909, to ‘free education up to that date, and to a purchase grant for text books not exceeding one pound ten shillings (£1 10s.) per annum’, subject to satisfactory reports on her conduct and progress.

So this bursary was to cover her Junior School Years.

1907 - 2

On 12 March 1907 she received a list of her marks obtained at the December 1906 examination.  

Her average mark was 71%.


This letter of 21 December 1909 contains a list of the marks Doris received when she sat for an examination in October as a ‘Candidate for a Probationary Student Scholarship’.

So this bursary was to cover her Senior School Years. Her average mark was 79%.

1910 - 1

This letter in February 1910 is to Doris’ parents to inform them that, due to the results of her exam in October 1909, Doris is ‘eligible for admission to a District School as a Probationary Student holding a Two-Year Scholarship'.

In effect this was a scholarship to cover her 4th and 5th years at NHS.

At the District School (‘the Public High School, Newcastle’), ‘she will receive a course of preparatory instruction and training, on the completion of which she may compete for entrance to the Training College’ (see elaboration at the bottom of this page).

The Scholarship entitled her to ‘free eduction for the first and second years, a grant of such text-books as the Minister may deem necessary, and an allowance, during the second year, of £12 if she resides at home, or £25 if she has to board away from home’.

Since the Training College was in Sydney, the £25 applied. Interestingly, her parents were reminded that their ‘daughter may be withdrawn from her Probationary Student Course to be appointed as a Pupil Teacher should the Minister so determine’.

1910 - 2

This Certificate, dated 11 December 1910, lists Doris' results in seven subjects at the ’Senior Public Examination’, sat in November 1910.

The first edition of the NHS magazine, the Novocastrian, reviewing 1910, notes: 'For the Senior, 12 candidates sat and all passed - 7 obtaining full matriculation passes.

Honours at matriculation were gained by Miss Doris Raysmith in French and Mathematics.’

1910 - 3
1910 - 3

This is the medal received for being Female Dux in 1910 (presumably for Fourth Year, as the Dux of the School for 1910 was shared by C L Firkin and R J Howie) together with a (tarnished) silver school badge.

1911 - 1
1911 - 2

This letter of 6 December 1911 gives the marks obtained by Doris in the examination she sat 'in September last, as a candidate for admission to the Training College'.

This, then, was her final year NHS examination.

Her average mark was 82%. 

Doris highly distinguished herself in this examination, and brought great credit to the school, by being bracketed with a candidate from Sydney as first among the female candidates for the whole State.

1911 - 2
1911 - 2

This letter of 9 December 1911 is addressed to Doris at the 'Superior Public School, Cooks Hill, Newcastle West’ (NHS).

As a result of her exam results in September 1911 she was awarded ‘an “A” Scholarship at the Teachers’ College’, conditional only on her being  found physically fit.

At school, Doris won Mr Walker’s Prize for the pupil taking greatest interest in the welfare of the school. She also shared, with two other ladies, Mr Finney’s Prize for best translations from Latin and French into English.


The 1912 edition of The Novocastrian Magazine states: 'The Training College pass was 17 scholarships out of 22 sent up.

In this examination Miss Doris Raysmith highly distinguished herself and brought great credit to the school by being bracketed with a candidate from Sydney as first among the female candidates for the whole State.’

‘At the prize distribution … Mr. Walker’s prize for pupil taking greatest interest in the welfare of the school - Miss Doris Raysmith. Mr. Finney’s prizes for best translations from Latin and French into English, Misses Raysmith, Saunders and Bellamy.’

Sydney University archives show that Doris was enrolled as a first year undergraduate in the Faculty of Arts in 1912.


Now at the Teachers’ College, this memo informed Doris that she passed in 'Blackboard & Brushwork’ in the examinations sat in December 1912.

Web research has shown that she also passed in Maths I and Philosophy I, both with Distinction, and in English I and Geology I, at Sydney University, where she was enrolled in the Faculty of Arts.

Doris was also shown as the Recording Secretary for the Sydney University Christian Union.

In her exams in December 1913 Doris gained a Credit in Maths II and a Pass in English II.

She was then the Vice President of the Sydney University Christian Union.

1914 - 1
1914 - 1

This document gave the ‘Results of Examinations’ for the Three Years’ Course, 1912-1913-1914, at the Teachers’ Training College.

It is clear that the subjects include those for which she was awarded a BA from Sydney University.

University records show that Doris gained Passes in both Maths III and Philosophy III.

1914 - 2
1914 -2

This is a bronze medal ‘Awarded to Doris Raysmith, Teachers College Sydney 1914’.

1915 -1

This is a Memo to Doris, ‘Ex-Student of the Training College', with her address given as ‘District School, Armidale’, where she was apparently working as a teacher. It tells her that her work ‘while holding a Third Year Scholarship in connection with the Training College are deemed sufficiently satisfactory for Class IIA', provided she passes the Education (Method Paper) before the end of that year. To qualify for Class 1B, after gaining IIA, she would need to pass the Departmental examination in Education.

1915 -2
BA Syd Uni

Bachelor of Arts Degree from University of Sydney


This 'Certificate of Classification’ from the Department of Public Instruction, dated 4 April 1916, certified that Doris passed her examinations in the following subjects: English, Mathematics, Education, History, Geography, Blackboard Drawing, Brushwork, Philosophy, Geology, Hygeine and Latin.

This placed her in Class II, Section A from 1 January 1916.

* Sydney Training College was established in 1906 with Alexander Mackie appointed Principal in November of the same year. Mackie firmly believed that the college could aspire to a partnership with the University of Sydney.
Prior to that there was a pupil-teacher system in New South Wales, followed by two training colleges, Hurlstone Residential College for women and Fort Street for men. Public dissatisfaction with the pupil-teacher system led to the establishment of a non-residential, co-educational training college in part of Blackfriars primary school on Parramatta Road (now Broadway). In 1905 men moved from Fort Street to Blackfriars, and in 1906 women moved from Hurlstone College to Blackfriars.
In the first year there were 189 students (of these, 178 were serving teachers). Mackie was appointed Lecturer in Education at the University (while continuing as Principal of the Teachers College) in 1909. In 1910 he also became Professor of Education and Principal of the Teachers College (positions held also by his successor, Christopher R. McRae). In the same year the University Senate approved a Diploma in Education, taught jointly by the University and the Teachers College.