The Junior Carsonians The Junior Carsonians (JCs) are the junior division of The Carse of Gowrie Sustainability Group who represent the 6 Carse Primary Schools, some 1000 pupils, who work collectively on various climate change, heritage and sustainability project.
2015-2016 The JCs focused on famous Carsonians who have, historically, implemented local and global change within subjects like science, society and agricultural methods. This work mainly focused on:
Researching the Life and Times of Patrick Matthew (1790-1874)
Although the Living Community project has been discontinued, the children of the six Carse primary schools schools have carried on meeting and investigating this topic. They have been very ably supported, on a voluntary basis by Astrid Leeson. Her enthusiasm and detective work enabled the JCs to uncover more information about Patrick Matthew. Staff, in each of the schools have also encouraged and supported the children to gain as much as possible from finding out about this important Carsonian. Over the course of the year they have used a range of different research skills to find out more about Patrick Matthew. This has included
On line research
Examining primary sources in the form of letters written by Patrick Matthew
Looking at documents, articles and maps contemporary to Patrick Matthew’s lifespan during a visit to the Archive section of AK Bell Library
Hearing about the descendants of Patrick Matthew in New Zealand, Germany and the USA
Participating in a presentation of their work with Dr Mike Sutton, a leading expert on Patrick Matthew. They got to hear about Dr Sutton’s work and the evidence he has uncovered about Patrick Matthew and Charles Darwin.
Asking searching questions, discussing and coming to conclusions
The Junior Carsonians from each school have undertaken research on different aspect of Patrick’s life. In sharing this information they have built up a picture of this esteemed horticulturalist and writer. They presented their findings to each other during their meetings and used a wide range of ways to do this including models, time lines, posters and a book.
They learned that
He propagated Giant Redwoods in Scotland. Inchture PS have four of these magnificent trees in their school playground. There is an avenue of Redwoods adjacent to the school.
He held very clear and firm views about a wide range of topics including the rights of children, their education and the design of the school buildings they should be educated in.
He went to Germany and purchased land which was taken over and worked by his son Alexander.
Three of his sons - John, Charles and James went to America. John did not return
Charles and James Matthew travelled to New Zealand set up their fruit and tree nurseries in the Matakana area on the North Island. The fruit and tree stock was sent in barrels from the Carse to New Zealand.
Patrick Matthew predicted the collapse of the Tay Rail Bridge. This occurred 10 years after he wrote the letter stating his concerns about the location of the bridge.
He is buried in Errol Graveyard in an as yet unmarked grave.
In 1831 he published his first book - On Naval Timber and Arboriculture. It was in this book that used the term ‘natural process of selection’. This was some 30 years before the work of Charles Darwin was published.
He also wrote and published a second book called Emigration Fields, which was to encourage people to go to New Zealand, Australia, Canada and USA.
The conclusion was that Patrick Matthew was an important and largely unrecognised famous Carsonian who left a big legacy to the area. Over the course of the next session the JCs will be continuing their research about life in the Carse. The exact topics have yet to be agreed.
Coral Bell (Secretary) Carse of Gowrie Sustainability Group