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Social – Schools:

For the education of workers' children there were schools in the Kammergutorten, which the communities shared with the Salzamt. The schoolmaster was usually paid by the parents themselves, but the office paid the school fees for poor workers.


The first school on Bad Ischler Boden was probably in the "Freien Markt Lauffen", where a schoolmaster Hyronimus Seifelder is said to have worked as early as 1519. It is known that in 1550 there was a schoolmaster in Ischl. The first schoolhouse was built by the municipality in Markt Ischl in 1560 and in Lauffen in 1567.


For the boys who had outgrown school, acceptance into the imperial service or into the manufacturing service was the rule; on the Salzbergen in Hallstatt and Ischl, the son usually followed his father in the same branch of service. If the boy had learned a trade, the office paid the fee or apprenticeship fee to the master craftsman.


Up to the last quarter of the 18th century, the school system in the Kammergut had not undergone any significant improvement compared to before, only the number of schools had increased. In 1767 there were schools in Laufen, Ischl, Ebensee, Obertraun and St. Agatha in addition to Hallstatt and Goisern.

The schoolmasters were poorly paid, but they and their widows were commissionable. Their knowledge was very limited, so apart from Christianity, which was the main subject of the lesson, they could only teach the children little. After all, the majority of the schoolmasters came from the clerkship and their widow was allowed to continue the lessons. The schoolmasters were also always appointed in agreement with the religious commission and the missionary superior.


In 1769, in addition to the parish schoolmaster, who was paid by the Salzamt, Ischl also had a market and religious schoolmaster, who taught independently of the former and also taught Christians in the neighboring parishes.


On December 6, 1774, the great school reform took place under Maria Theresia.


So-called trivial schools should be set up in every parish. How the first trivial schools were designed can be read in Abbot Johann Ignaz Felbiger’s “Core and Method Book”:

“The children gather at school before 8 a.m. and go to church in pairs, modestly. After Holy Mass they also go back to school. There they pray, the names are read out.  

From ¾ 9 to ½ 10 the little students learn to know and spell the letters.                            

From ½ 10 to ½ 11 the catechism is read.                                                                            

  ½ 11 is prayed, the students are dismissed except for the arithmetic students, who are instructed and practiced in arithmetic until ½ 12.”


The schools in the Kammergutorten were continued from 1774 onwards as trivial schools according to a uniform curriculum drawn up by the government and were only managed by certified teachers. The schoolmasters had to travel to Linz to acquire the teaching method, take a course at the local normal school and, after completing it, take an exam.


The trivial school in Ischl only required a single classroom, separate from the schoolmaster's apartment, with a step for the teacher and an easel with 2 black boards.


So that the older children would not be completely deprived of housework, half-day classes were introduced, in which the children only had to attend in the mornings.


From then on, religious instruction was no longer taken care of by the schoolmaster, but by the catechist twice a week.


Well-to-do parents had to pay the school fees of 1 guilder a year themselves, the poorer workers were paid by the Salzamt, and very poor children were also provided with school books. The maintenance costs of the public trivial school fell to the state.


The trivial school was followed by the also public secondary or normal school with higher learning goals, to which the trivial students could transfer after the second grade.


In 1782 Ischl got a new school building for the old rooms that had become inadequate. In 1816 the number of students had already risen to over 400, so a third classroom and a second assistant became necessary.


In 1782 Ischl got a new school building on the left bank of the Traun near the main bridge, but it was immediately overcrowded. To relieve the strain, the first school class was set up in Pfandl in 1791 in the “Zum Pfandl” inn.


In 1816 there was a teacher with two teaching assistants and 400 (!) students in Ischl.


The filling of vacant teaching positions in the public elementary schools was based on the proposal of the nursing offices by the episcopal consistory, which appointed a school supervisor for each deanery.


The schoolmasters at the trivial school were permanently employed. The teachers at the trivial schools were placed on an equal footing with the civil service and the clergy.


If the number of pupils became too large for one teacher, the authorities provided him with assistant teachers with a lower salary. Although the catechist did not receive a special salary, he was given a remuneration for giving religious instruction.


A considerable amount of extra work arose for the teaching staff from the imperial decree that came into force at the beginning of 1817, according to which repeat lessons on Sundays and public holidays were to be introduced for young people aged 12 to 15 who had outgrown school. Applicants for the saltworks service had to provide proof of having attended a repeat school.


A great benefit for the growing female youth was the founding of knitting schools in Gmunden, Ebensee, Ischl, Hallstatt, Aussee and Altaussee, which enjoyed special support from the Court Chamber. She paid the tuition fees, sometimes also honored the teachers and gave the schools the firewood. The knitting schools, run by handicraft teachers, were also regularly attended by girls from the salt pans.


The trivial school in Ischl with the three teachers' rooms was already too small in 1819 and the connection of a fourth room had become necessary. However, the number of school children continued to rise. In 1825, a teacher and three assistants taught 420 children in two school classes, each with two departments. The prescribed maximum number of 80 students in one room was therefore considerably exceeded and the procurement of a fifth classroom could no longer be postponed.


In 1839 the emperor approved the amount of 11,086 guilders for the renovation, which was also to include the fifth classroom. Until then, the school was housed in the old, completely inadequate rooms, the building was badly preserved, and the storey height was far too low. Since the number of schoolchildren had grown to 460 in 1832, each of the four department classes held over a hundred students, and the teachers reluctantly went into the overcrowded and unhealthy rooms due to the fumes. For the rental of the absolutely necessary fifth classroom in some private house, Dr. Wirer agreed to dispute the interest.


dr Wirer had also taken on the young women of the market and in 1832 in Ischl set up and maintained the first handicraft school in the Kammergut entirely at his own expense. As early as the following year, a hundred girls enjoyed free lessons there. dr Wirer also bought the raw materials needed for the spinning school and used the school's products only for the benefit of the children, he clothed the poorest and gave presents to the hard-working.


The small village school in Pfandl near Ischl also needed an extension in 1835, and the school-friendly residents of the up-and-coming town had asked for it.


The soup facilities in Hallstatt and Ebensee, established in 1845 and open during the winter months, were a beneficial welfare institution for the school children of the salt workers.


On May 14, 1869, the "Reichs Volksschulgesetz" was passed.

"Every elementary school is a public institution and as such is accessible to young people regardless of their religious affiliation." Among other things, compulsory schooling for eight years was introduced, collections of teaching materials and school libraries were established.     

The school system then took an enormous upswing.


Sources used:

Carl Schraml "The Upper Austrian salt works from the beginning of the 16th to the middle of the 18th century", Vienna 1932

Carl Schraml "The Upper Austrian Salt Works from 1750 to the time after the French Wars", Vienna 1934

Carl Schraml "The Upper Austrian Salt Works from 1818 to the end of the Salt Office in 1850", Vienna 1936

Ischl home club "Bad Ischl home book 2004", Bad Ischl 2004

FX Mannert "Of Ischl and the people of Ischl...", Bad Ischl 2012

FX Mannert "From Ischl and the people of Ischl... 2.0", Bad Ischl 2016

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