High School of Hobart Town

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Corporate body

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High School of Hobart Town

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Dates of existence

1848-1885

History

The High School of Hobart Town was founded in 1848 by a group of gentleman connected with the Presbyterian and free churches including Rev. Dr. John Lillie, Minister of St. Andrews Church, Chairman of the Council, T.D. Chapman, who succeeded Lillie as Chairman of the Council of Shareholders, R.W. Nutt, Henry Hopkins, G.W. Walker, R. Officer and W. Robertson, who acted as treasurer. The shareholders were granted five acres on the Government Domain and A. Dawson drew up a plan for the building in 1848. Messrs. Cleghorn and Anderson tendered to build it for £3600 by November lJ349 and this was accepted. Money was raised by the original shares of £25 each, further shares and subscriptions raised in Tasmania and London, encouraged by the distribution of a prospectus and lithographic copies of Dawson's drawing of the proposed building (see Pro Hbt/112). Any shareholder subscribing £100 was entitled to educate one boy free of the annual tuition fee of £12 (for an example of a share certificate see R. 7/2). The object of the institution, as originally described, was 'the instruction of youth in the higher brances of learning, as taught in superior classical and mathematical schools in England', the ultimate object being 'to confer on Australian youth the inestimable advantages of an European University'. The school opened in 1850 and 56 boys were enrolled in the first quarter. The number had increased to 81 at the beginning of 1851. By 1859 boarders were being taken and a junior department had been started. The High School Council had in 1849 requested the Council of University College, London, to recommend a Head classical Master as Rector, at 400 a year, and a Mathematics master. A Mr. Eccleston was appointed but he died suddenly and Rev. Dr. John Lillie was appointed hon. Rector. George Brien M.A. was then appointed Classical Master and - Dobson as Mathematical Master, both receiving £400 a year, and Rev. Lillie remained Rector. In 1857 Rev. R.D. Paulett Harris was appointed Rector and remained until 1885, leasing the school from the shareholders from 1862. In 1885 the rights to the school were handed over to the Christ College Trust and the school became Christ College, surprisingly as J.P. Gell the first Warden of Christ's College originally opposed the foundation of the High School. The Christ College School in fact merged with the Hutchins School and in 1892 the High School building was sold to the new University of Tasmania. (See reports 1849, 1851, 1859 (H.8) and Wood's Almanack 1849 p. 108.

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