Item 1 - The founding of the University of Tasmania

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The founding of the University of Tasmania


  • 1940 (Creation)

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4 page document

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With by far the longest tenure of all 31 UTAS Vice-Chancellors and Chancellors, William Joshua Tilley Stops was a home-grown administrator. Born in 1879, he attended the first lectures held at the University of Tasmania in 1894, when there were 13 students and three lecturers. He graduated in Law in 1896 and worked in partnership with Herbert Nicholls, later Chief Justice. Together they edited ‘Nicholls and Stops law Reports, 1897 -1904’ and ‘The Tasmanian Law Reports, 1905 -1917’.
As a prominent graduate and an enthusiast for the University, in 1900 Stops was elected to University Council, and remained a member for 47 years. In 1914 he was made Vice-Chancellor. He had no office in the University and did not seek an active role there; staff never took problems to him and the active day-to-day organiser was the competent registrar, JHR Cruickshank. But Stops worked hard as chairman of the University Council, and another member recalled lengthy meetings at Stops’ house over finances. Students neither liked nor disliked him, though they sent him up in Commemoration Day processions as ‘Willie Jostle’em Tillhe Stops’.
In 1933 Stops was made Chancellor, though there was some feeling that his position was not senior enough for this elevation. However, he was successful, and was a firm believer that the University should move to a larger site at Sandy Bay. When he retired in 1944, the University comprised 300 students, 12 professors and 19 lecturers - enormous (though expected) development over 50 years. Stops died in 1956.
Vice-Chancellor 27.10.1914 – 02.02.1933 and Chancellor 02.02.1933 – 25.02.1944

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Article copied from the Bulletin of the Tasmanian Institute for Educational Research, entitled
“The founding of the University of Tasmania”, an address given by the Chancellor of the University,
William Joshua Tilley Stops, Esq. LL.B. on the fiftieth anniversary of the first meeting of the University Council, on the 19 February 1940.

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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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