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No humbug: The life of pioneer educator Stuart Hawthorne MA

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ISBN 9781922109637. 446 pages, with 10 appendices, maps and index, 29 black & white photographs. Published by Boolarong Press 2013 .  230mm x 160mm.

Before his premature death in 1875 from hepatitis at age 42, Stuart Hawthorne MA had been the first Headmaster of Ipswich Grammar School in Queensland (1863 to 1868) and the third Rector of Otago Boys’ High School in New Zealand (1869 to 1874). He held these appointments at a time of great social upheaval, when new secular schools were breaking away from centuries-old religious domination and the narrow focus on ‘classics’ was being displaced by a wider range of new ‘liberal’ subjects.

Hawthorne was at the forefront of these changes but more than this, Hawthorne introduced a new way of looking at education, modelled on the ideas of Thomas Arnold of Rugby School. For Hawthorne, schooling was not just classroom lessons; rather, the whole student was to be educated through the way of life of the school.

A brilliant scholar at University of Sydney (1854 to 1863) and blessed with a warm and affable character, Hawthorne had the professional and personal qualities needed for success. Yet both his headmasterships had inglorious endings. This account looks at his life and the circumstances surrounding his years at his two schools, both of which today continue to deliver education in the way he had envisaged it.