John Anderson Hartley
John Anderson Hartley was born on 27 August 1844 at Old Brentford, Middlesex, England, the eldest son of Rev. John Hartley, Wesleyan minister, and his wife Sarah, née Anderson. He was educated in 1853-60 at Woodhouse Grove School near Bradford, Yorkshire, and taught there in 1860-67 before graduating from the University of London (B.A., 1868; B.Sc., 1870). He became second master at the Methodist College, Belfast, and in 1870 married Elizabeth Annie Green, sister-in-law of his headmaster, Rev. Robert Crooke, LL.D. In that year he was appointed headmaster of Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, where he arrived on 20 January 1871. The college had opened in 1869 and he was its second headmaster. Under him it became firmly established, its first students matriculating at the University of Melbourne in 1872. He achieved a major change in the college's management when the position of resident governor was abolished in 1875 and full authority over the school was vested in the headmaster.
In May 1871 Hartley was appointed to the Central Board of Education which administered the public schools of the colony. His interest and initiative were soon recognized; his repute survived his resignation from the board after dispute with the government and on 16 March 1874, after reappointment, he was elected chairman. Many of his recommendations were incorporated in the 1875 Education Act. Appointed president of the Council of Education on 1 December 1875, Hartley resigned his headmastership. The abolition of the council in 1878 centralized the administration of the Education Department further with Hartley as inspector-general of schools. Aided by the optimism generated by prosperity, he acted vigorously to create an efficient and centralized school system under his close direction. His autocratic methods aroused opposition and in 1881-83 a royal commission inquired into his administration. Exonerated and unrepentant, Hartley denied effective powers to the boards of advice set up to provide local participation in the administration of the department.
Hartley was a founder of the University of Adelaide. Appointed to the executive council of the Adelaide University Committee in October 1872 and to the first council of the university in November, he worked on the committee preparing a scheme for professorships and lectureships. In June 1877 he was appointed to the first senate. He was active on the council and defended its prerogatives against senate attempts to acquire greater powers. On the finance, education and library committees and on the faculties of arts and science his influence was important in framing regulations and statutes. The public examination system introduced in 1886 was largely his inspiration, ending the domination of classical studies and binding the secondary schools more closely to the university. He served as vice-chancellor in 1893-96.
Over the years he held many other positions. In 1895 he was appointed to the first council of Roseworthy Agricultural College.
On 8 September 1896, while riding home from his office on his newly-acquired bicycle, he collided with a horse ridden by a butcher's boy. He died from head injuries on the 15th, survived by his wife and an adopted daughter, Muriel.
Biographical SourceAdapted from The Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972.
University Union - Professor William Henry Bragg and Mr John Anderson Hartley - Re erection of Building
John Anderson Hartley - Inspector General of Schools - List of 9 Training College Students to attend Physics EC
John Anderson Hartley - Inspector General of Schools - Concerning Admittance of Training College Students to Physics Examination
John Anderson Hartley - Inspector General of Schools - Applies for Training College Students to be Admitted to Higher Public Exam in Physics November 1894
John Anderson Hartley - The Inspector General of Schools - Adelaide - Chemistry deposit fees for students from the Training College