Who Was W.W. Hughes?

A friend recently sent a picture of this plaque from the front of Walter Watson Hughes’ family home in the town of Pittenween, a fishing village on the east coast of Scotland:

W. W. Hughes is rightly regarded as the figure that provided the financial impetus behind that flurry of activity that led to the formal establishment of the University of Adelaide by Act of Parliament in November 1874.  A statue of Hughes looking dignified and somewhat forbidding is prominently placed in front of the University’s Mitchell building:

1906 Hughes statue unveiling. From UAA Series 1151, Item 125.

In 2006 there was an impressive centenary re-enactment of the original 1906 unveiling of the statue. Descendants of the original donors of the statue, Hughes’ nephews J.J. & W.H. Duncan, were present:

2006 centenary program.

And more recently a reanimated version of Hughes has been seen handing out balloons at University Open Days:

From University publication the Adelaidean, August 2009.

But who was Walter Watson Hughes, how did he make his fortune and why was he so central to the founding of the University? Read more  here.


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One Response

  1. Venton Cook says:

    Very good to have this background on W W Hughes, the pioneers were community minded but feisty. Thanks Andrew