Collection DX6 - William W. Perkins

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William W. Perkins


  • 1860-1861 (Creation)

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1 type one box

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Name of creator


Administrative history

The Tasmanian Council of Education was established in 1859 to hold university entrance examinations ‘in imitation of the Oxford and Cambridge annual local examinations’. The TCE awarded scholarships for higher school education, an Associate of Arts award (equivalent to matriculation) and two annual scholarships for study at a British university. Its elaborate seal, bearing an open book, a star and a rose, was designed by Bishop of Tasmania F.R. Nixon. When the University of Tasmania was established in 1890 it took over the functions of the TCE

Name of creator


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.

Name of creator


Biographical history

William Watchorn Perkins, born on 23 May 1843, was one of 10 children born to John and Emmely Perkins (nee Watchorn). John was a draper and importer and began the emporium, Perkins and Watchorn, in Liverpool Street, Hobart.
William Watchorn Perkins became a solicitor and was articled to Samuel Westbrook. William was admitted to the bar in 1866 and soon after left for New Zealand. There he practiced as a solicitor and married Jane Eliza Winter in 1870. William and Jane had 8 children born in New Zealand.
The family returned to Tasmania in 1884 and Williams established the firm Perkins and Dear. A further 5 children were born between 1885 and 1893.
William purchased approximately 16 acres of land in Lower Sandy Bay from Sarah and Theresa Hogan on 22 May 1884.
That year he also commissioned architect Henry Hunter to build a house, which he named 'Mawhera'.
William served in many organisations - the Central Board of Health, Queenborough Board of Health and as one of the Commissioners of Fisheries. He became a Member of the Legislative Council in 1899, a position he held until his death in Melbourne on 19 January 1903.
From: Parliament of Tasmania web site; Mercury, 20 January 1903; Wills of William and Jane Perkins &

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gift of Miss J. Perkins (via History Department)

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Collection consists of one Associate of Arts degree awarded to William W Perkins and two prizebooks awarded by Hobart High School to D Barcley

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Conditions governing access

No restrictions

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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Publication note

Tasmanian Archives: William Watchorn Perkins and Family; Agency number NG231 -

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Dates of creation revision deletion

PP September 2018




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