Augustus Short and Education

Augustus Short attended Westminster School, The Collegiate School of St Peter at Westminster in London from 1811–1820.

For his final four years at the School he won, by academic competition, a prestigious scholarship as a King’s Scholar, a scholarship first created by Queen Elizabeth I.

He later reminisced, “I now more fully realise than ever before the great advantage offered by the royal foundation of St Peter’s College, Westminster, to the sons of professional men who have to make their own way in the world. By successful competition when ‘standing out’ for college, I had gained the first rung of the ladder of life.”

In 1820, he was again successful in winning a scholarship to attend Christ Church Oxford for his undergraduate degree. Here, he obtained a Firsts in Classics and later became a member of teaching start.

Thanks to the advantages afforded to him through scholarships, Short became an enthusiast for education and eventually the key founder of the University of Adelaide in 1874.

Augustus Short was a lifelong enthusiast for education. He realised the impact of education in transforming his own life and initiating opportunities.

Writing and speaking of the sophistication of living and breaking down of barriers that education encouraged, he believed in the fellowship of education at every level.

Education was a shared enterprise where people learned from each other, valued knowledge for its own sake and for the practical and moral good it could bring to individuals and society.

This was the crux of Short’s educational vision: education as a means of social mobility, the value of personal achievement in education and the critical role of education in the modern, more democratic society that was emerging in the 19th century.

Short embraced the notion of the secular, non-sectarian university; a university serving the public for the mutual benefit and interdependence of society and university. To Short we are indebted for the campaign to secure the splendid North Terrace site: a modern university belonged in the midst of the professional, commercial and legislative heart of the city.

By The Venerable Michael Whiting, Archdeacon Emeritus, Anglican Diocese of Adelaide

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