Watch and Explore | St Mary’s School: The Only School In The World’s Most Isolated Inhabited Island “Tristan Da Cunha”

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St Mary's School Tristan Du Cuhna

Tristan Da Cunha is one of a set of islands in the South Atlantic, which are the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world. The nearest populated land mass is the island of St. Helena, 745 miles away. To further understand the magnitude of the islands’ isolation, the nearest city is Cape Town, the capital of South Africa, which is 1,511 miles west. St Mary’s School (above photograph) is located on Tristan’s only permanently inhabited locale, known as Edinburgh of the Seven Seas. Discovered by Portuguese sailors in 1506, the islands have been a British territory since 1816.

During the island’s early colonial history, several of William Glass’ (Scottish Corporal and Settler that established the Tristan Da Cunha settlement) children were sent to England and Cape Town for schooling. Occasional visitors were also asked to help teach island children. The first teacher – Benjamin Pankhurst, arrived in 1830 for two years. Rev Taylor, Tristan’s first minister, began a school, originally in William Glass’ home, then in the largest Tristan house, built by Andrew Hagan which served as both church and school until 1923. This house, still a Hagan home, was one of the last remaining houses thatched with New Zealand Flag. During World War II an expanded school was provided by the Naval Station and a new school house was built.

St Mary’s School opened in 1975. It has five classrooms, a library, a hall with stage, a computer suite, a cookery room, and a craft/science room. St Mary’s School educates Tristan children between the ages of three and sixteen.

Photographs Of St Mary’s School:

Photographs of the island, Tristan Du Cunha:

Prince Andrew School, St. Helena Island:

While not Tristan Du Cunha, St. Helena island is the nearest populated land mass and is used as reference since not only does it neighbor the island but also carries many similarities: same education, goverment, ethnicity of people, etc.

The BBC meets pupils at Prince Andrew School on the tiny British colony of St Helena in the South Atlantic.