Collection DX11 - High School of Hobart Town : ledger book

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High School of Hobart Town : ledger book


  • 1850-51 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1 leather bound folio

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

John Lillie (1806-1866), Presbyterian minister, was the fourth son of David Lillie, a Glasgow merchant. After some education at the University of Glasgow, he was licensed by the presbytery of that city. Soon afterwards he became tutor to the family of the Duke of Argyll at Ardencaple Castle, Dunbartonshire. The congregation of St Andrew's, Hobart Town, had asked the Church of Scotland to suggest a replacement for Archibald Macarthur. After some complication a committee nominated Lillie late in 1836. These moves coincided with colonial legislation to assist equally the Churches of England, Rome, and Scotland. On arrival at Hobart in September 1837, Lillie was recognized at once as Presbyterian leader by Lieutenant-Governor Sir John Franklin and by the church after brief delay. Not only did Lillie remain dominant during his frequent terms as moderator, but as an effective speaker and administrator he kept Tasmanian Presbyterianism united despite church disruption in Scotland (1843) and a querulous colonial society, a conspicuous success when contrasted with the confusion in contemporary New South Wales and in Tasmania in later years.
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Name of creator


Biographical history

George Washington Walker (1800-1859), Quaker, shopkeeper and humanitarian, was born on 19 March 1800 in London, the twenty-first child of John Walker (1726-1821) by his second wife, Elizabeth, née Ridley. Because of the death of his mother and the absence of his aged father engaged in the saddle trade in Paris, he was brought up by his grandmother in Newcastle. He was educated by a Wesleyan schoolmaster near Barnard Castle, and apprenticed in 1814 to a linen draper. Impressed by the probity and wisdom of his Quaker employers and James Backhouse of York, a leading Quaker minister, he left the Unitarian persuasion of his family in 1827 and became a member of the Society of Friends. The next year he formed the first Temperance Society in Newcastle.
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Biographical history

Sir Robert Officer (1800-1879), medical officer and politician, was born on 3 October 1800 near Dundee, Scotland, the son of Robert Officer, of Jacksbank, and his wife Isabella, née Kerr. In 1821 he obtained his diploma as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, London. As ship's surgeon in the Castle Forbes he arrived at Hobart Town in March 1822. By May he was a supernumerary assistant surgeon at 3s. a day. On 25 October 1823 at St David's Church he married Jemima, daughter of Myles Patterson of Hunterston on the Shannon River. In 1824 Officer was moved to New Norfolk, allotted a district 'seven miles [11 km] along the Derwent River', and given a forage allowance. By 1827 his district had increased to 'thirty five miles [56 km] through populous districts'; he also acted as surgeon to the military garrison and their families and had charge of the New Norfolk Hospital, of convicts on many public works and of the gaol where he attended all corporal punishments. For these duties his pay was increased to 7s. a day and he was promoted district surgeon and appointed a magistrate. In 1831 he was criticized for sending convicts from road-gangs to New Norfolk for treatment, thereby interfering with their discipline; his reply was that he had 'no desire to be known as a mere slave driver.
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Biographical history

Thomas Daniel Chapman (1815-1884), merchant and politician, was born at Bedford, England. At 14 he entered the service of the East India Co. and made several voyages to the Orient. In 1837 he settled in London and soon became a partner in the firm of John and Stephen Kennard, general merchants. In 1841 on their behalf he took emigrants and stores to Circular Head for the Van Diemen's Land Co. and then moved to Hobart Town to act as agent for the Kennards. In 1843 he married Katherine, daughter of John Swan, a Hobart shopkeeper. In 1847 he established at Hobart his own independent firm, T. D. Chapman & Co., importers and exporters; the main exports were wool, whale oil and timber, while the imports were groceries, hardware and clothing from England, sugar and corks from Mauritius and tea from Ceylon.
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Administrative 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.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Found with Bursar's ledgers transferred from Domain

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Leather bound folio ledger book dated 1850-1851. Accounts for tuition, textbooks (sometimes named), stationery and extras, each account headed by the name of the parent noting place of residence and whether a shareholder. At the back of the volume are quarterly abstracts of accounts and accounts of fees for evening classes in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy including a list of names of those attending

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


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single item

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

This material is made available for personal research and study purposes under the University of Tasmania Standard Copyright Licence. For any further use permission should be obtained from the copyright owners. For assistance please contact

When reusing this material, please cite the reference number and provide the following acknowledgement:
“Courtesy of the UTAS Library Special & Rare Collections”

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Related units of description

• See also H6 - High School of Hobart Town : reports of council and annual report -
• Other papers relating to the High School held by F.C. Wolfhagen were not received. These include some correspondence relating to the land grant, 1846-50, and a printed copy of the petition to the Legislative Council to allow the High School to vest the premises in the University of Tasmania, which includes a note of the history of the school. Other material is held by the Mitchell Library, Sydney, and Christ College Trust

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Dates of creation revision deletion

HE May 2018




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