Adelaide Educational Institution

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Adelaide Educational Institution was a privately run non-sectarian academy for boys in Adelaide founded in 1852 by John Lorenzo Young[1][2]

He avoided rote learning, punishment and religious instruction, but taught moral philosophy, physiology, political economy and mechanical drawing ... (and) surveying on field trips.[3]

The school closed when he retired in 1880. By this time Prince Alfred College had emerged as a strong alternative for sons of well-to-do Protestants.


In 1852 Young opened a school with two, then three pupils (Hubert Giles,[4] Caleb Peacock and John Partridge) in the "Peacock Chapel"[5] lent by Mr Peacock[4] in the rear of the (Congregational) Ebenezer Chapel in Ebenezer Place,[3] off the east end of Rundle Street. The two grew to seventeen at years end.[6] and he was advertising for evening classes in Geometry and Arithmetic, apply between 6 and 7pm at Stephens Place,[7] off the west end of Rundle Street. Fees for day students were 10 guineas (₤10/10/-) per annum, (payable quarterly in advance). Facilities were available for boarding.[8] His residence was also located on Stephens Place.[9] By December 1855 the school had 107 students,[6] perhaps close to 200 in 1857,[4] 130 in 1862,[10] 133 in 1868.

Next venue was the Congregational chapel in Freeman Street (now that section of Gawler Place between Pirie and Flinders Streets).[11]

In 1872 new premises were built at Parkside in Young Street, which had been named after the headmaster.[2]

Many of Young's pupils later attained positions of public and professional importance in the province and attested the value of the inspiration he had given. Ex-scholars included Caleb Peacock, William Bickford, Walter Samson, (Herschel) Babbage, Elias Solomon, W. P. Auld and Charles Kingston, premier and federationist. An Old Scholars' Association was formed and when the school closed in 1880 on Young's retirement, he was presented with 336 gold sovereigns and many grateful testimonials to his genial, sympathetic counselling.[2]

He is commemorated by scholarships at the University of Adelaide for research in political economy and for general research.[2]

E.S. Hughes recalled, in a letter to The Advertiser, a tableau of life during his time at the institution.

About that time I was at the late JL Young's – at Young's Lane, as it was then called – Parkside, as a boarder, and with three other strong Churchmen used to attend St Paul's Church, Flinders Street. Dear old Dean Russell, of blessed memory, wished us to be confirmed; and, as our parents agreed, we escaped from lessons two nights a week to attend classes. Consequently we had a good time going home afterwards, on some occasions climbing the posts and 'dousing the glim' as the sailors say, performing other boyish tricks, and arriving very late because of such 'awfully long classes'[12]

Education in early South Australia[edit]

(Taken from Geoffrey H. Manning's A Colonial Experience)[13]

From a welter of amateur establishments emerged two institutions, one of which did noble service to two generations, the other the germ of one of the colony's greatest denominational schools today. The first was John Lorenzo Young's Adelaide Educational Institute, which in its peregrinations from a room at the rear of Ebenezer Chapel (now built over by the East End Market), by way of Stephens Place and Gawler Place, to a final home at Young Street, Parkside, educated 1,500 young South Australians many of later distinction – Caleb Peacock, Adelaide's first native-born Mayor, Charles Cameron Kingston, the dominating figure on the colony's political horizon and Joseph Verco, doyen of our medical fraternity. The other institution was the crib in which St Peter's College was created.

John L Young[edit]

John Lorenzo Young (1826–1881) was a Londoner, the son of John Tonkin Young, a builder from Veryan, Cornwall.[14][15][16]

He received a non-sectarian education in Europe and England, with emphasis on mathematics and the newly developed sciences of geology, physics and chemistry. He worked in Cornwall on railway and mining construction then left for Adelaide in 1850.[3] on the ship "Panama", arriving on 31 October 1850. He joined the rush to the Victorian goldfields but soon returned.[15]

In 1851 he was appointed second master at the newly opened South Australian High School,[17] under Headmaster Charles Gregory Feinaigle (1817? – 10 March 1880), but the venture failed by the end of the year. The following year Young was persuaded by a group of Congregationalists to open his own school at the rear of the old chapel in Ebenezer Street off Rundle Street East, and soon moved to larger premises in Stephens Place.[15][18] His brother, Oliver Young, held classes for some time,[19] and acted as headmaster in 1860 while J. L. Young was away on recuperation leave.

In 1861 he built the large two-storey "Young House" in Parkside, which was used both as his private residence and as a student boarding house. He then commissioned architects Wright and Hamilton to design and oversee building of a schoolhouse next door. (Edmund Wright had designed many prominent Adelaide buildings including the Town Hall).[20] In 1871 he was able to relinquish the Freeman Street premises.

John retired in 1880 and closed the school, with the intention of joining his wife and large family who were visiting brother Oliver and his father in Veryan, in Cornwall. On his retirement, a testimonial was held 17 December 1880 by his old scholars, and he was presentated with a purse of sovereigns.[21] His 16-room residence, with schoolhouse and various other houses on Young Street,[22] after several auction attempts in February 1881, was eventually purchased by Alfred Allen Simpson (who coincidently had also purchased the Gawler Place school property).[11] The two Parkside buildings, at 61-71 Young Street, were sold by Alfred A., Fred N. and Violet Laura Simpson to Mr. C. O. A. Lapidge in 1922.[20] "Young House" has since been demolished but the heritage-listed schoolhouse still stands.

He embarked on the steamer John Elder in 1881 to visit England (where his father was still living), his family having preceded him, but died on 26 July 1881 while crossing the Red Sea. He was buried at sea.[15] Martha returned to Adelaide, at first living in Kent Town then settled in Glenelg.[23] She died 6 April 1887 aged 57.[24]

Fred W. Sims, formerly Deputy Registrar of Companies in the Supreme Court, wrote in The Advertiser:

I could tell you quite a lot about John L. Young's school— 'dear old Johnny', as we used to call him ... Mr. Young possessed, among his other fine qualities, the saving grace of humor. It is recorded that his first two pupils were Caleb Peacock and John Partridge. He remarked at the time that, whether be met with success or not as a schoolmaster, he would anyway die "game".[25]

Classes and curriculum[edit]

In its first stage of the school's history, Junior (or Third) Class consisted of boys from 7 to 10 years, Science being a chief subject with (although a non-sectarian school) a little religious insight. A small but significant number of students were Orthodox Jews (e.g. Solomon family). No homework was set.

In the Second Class, homework was encouraged and after five hours of schoolwork the more industrious students would voluntarily turn in up to four long essays a week.

In Senior or First Class, subjects covered included political economy, history, .[26]


Other academics at the Institution included:

  • Thomas Boutflower Bennett (1808- 14 September 1894), nicknamed "Tiger",[27] helped run the school, taught English and bookkeeping, later at St. Peter's College. His headstone in Moonta cemetery mentions SPC but not AEI.[28] His son J. W. O. Bennett was killed on the Goyder expedition of 1869.
  • Thomas Caterer (around 1854) went on to found the notable Norwood Grammar School
  • John Howard Clark taught occasionally
  • Rev. F. W. Cox drawing 1864, 1866
  • Edward Dewhirst was classics master for a time.[29]
  • C. J. Fox taught junior Latin 1870, then all levels
  • Henry Greffrath taught French and German from beginning 1852 to mid-1863 then St. Peter's College (overlap?). Left for Jena, Germany in 1864.
  • Theodore Hack may have been a teacher
  • Wilton Hack succeeded Charles Hill as drawing teacher 1868[30] W. Hack also taught drawing at Norwood Grammar and St. Peters College.
  • A teacher named Harrison, called "Cocky" by students (as was Oliver Young); described as young and pimply, was sacked for drunkenness at a June prizegiving, possibly 1856.[31]
  • Charles Hill taught drawing[32]
  • P. T. Hill taught writing and arithmetic NOT drawing[30]
  • G. R. Irwine (d. 7 October 1871)[33] taught Latin, Greek and English.
  • Dr Carl Heinrich Loessel (Lössel) taught French, German in 1863, 1864 ([34] is interesting)
  • Adolph Emile Marval taught French 1866, also at St Peters College. Mme. Caroline Emma Marval opened a Ladies' College.
  • F. H. Needham R.N. taught mathematics, Latin 1861
  • G. Needham (1805 – 19 March 1894)[35] (no relation though both taught Latin – [31]) Which Needham was called "Pat"?[29]
  • Hamilton Charles Palmer (died 1880), lawyer arrived from England c. 1857, based in Kapunda, brother of Charles Edwin Palmer (Glenelg Congregational minister), wrote newspaper articles as "Templar", Classics master 1861.[36] Boys made fun of him.[29]
  • J. R. P. Parsons Classics master, later principal, Adelaide High School
  • Rev. Canon Poole (Frederic Slaney Poole) taught advanced Latin 1870
  • H. von Schleinitz taught French, German 1865 to 1873 (also at St Peter's College, Norwood Grammar).
Educated at universities of Leipzig and "Greisewalde" (perhaps Greifswald).[37]
He arrived in Adelaide on the "Pauline" from Bremen on 9 December 1849.
In 1851 he founded a German School in Freeman Street.[38] Teachers at his school included Messrs Hansen, Klette and Nootnagel. He left in 1852.[39]
For several years he was clerk to C. Schilling, landbroker of Gawler Place.[40]
1864 he was with St Peter's College and offering private tuition at his North Terrace (east) home.[41]
1874 he's replaced by Jung at SPC.[42] Then no mention to 1876 when he's advertising for anything anywhere.
  • James Shakespeare later a professional organist
  • Rev. Thomas Smellie (pronounced "smiley") Presbyterian minister arrived Adelaide 1861, registered to grant marriage licences 1862, taught Latin at AEI from 1863 to 1866 and at Leslie's school Alberton 1864. Founded Gawler Academy 1868 returned to Britain 1872
  • Uren[43]
  • Oliver Young (J. L. Young's brother) taught drawing, ran the school in 1860 during his brother's absence. Oliver, whom the students called "Cocky", though not to his face, suffered from a deformed back.[44] He returned to Cornwall in 1866,[45] and never married.[46]


  • 1852 School opened in Ebenezer Place with two students Caleb Peacock and John Partridge, soon joined by G. T. and T. L. Cottrell, John Waterman and Richard Mahoney.[15]
  • 1853 Moved to "Stephens Place" schoolroom at rear of Freeman Street Congregational chapel [47]
  • 1860 JL Young in poor health, on leave in England. Oliver Young acting head for the year.[48]
  • 1861 J L Young returns, buys 2 acres in Parkside. T. B. Bennett joins staff.
  • 1865 Old Scholars' Association dinner[49]
  • 1866 Oliver Young returns to England
Old Scholars' Association dinner[50]
  • 1867 Congregational Church moves to Stow Hall, AEI takes over Freeman Street chapel.[51]
First Old Scholars' dinner[52]
Old Scholars' AGM[53]
  • 1868 Pupil numbers down to 133.
  • 1869 "The Star" first (and last?) issue.[54]
Old Scholars' dinner[55]
  • 1870 Old Scholars dinner[56]
Old Scholars' annual meeting scheduled for 24 June postponed to following week due to poor attendance.[57]
  • 1871 All teaching now at Young Street, Parkside.[20] T. B. Bennett resigns.
Old Scholars' dinner [58] poor attendance
  • 1872 Old Scholars' dinner [58] 12 attendees
  • 1880 Presentation to Thomas Bennett [59] >30 attendees
  • 1880 School closed
  • 1881 JL Young died
  • 1887 Mrs Young died[43]
  • 1896 funeral of Caleb Peacock[60]
  • 1897 Stephens Place buildings demolished [31] (a beaut reminiscence)
  • 1912 Reunion[44] It was at this reunion that Peter Wood moved that a JLYoung scholarship be established.
  • 1913 Second reunion
  • 1914 Third reunion[61]
  • 1915 Fourth reunion[62]
  • 1916 Fifth reunion[63]
  • 1917 Sixth reunion
  • 1918 Seventh reunion
Function for Eden Herschel Babbage 21 May 1918[64]
  • 1919 Eighth reunion[65]
  • 1920 Ninth reunion[66]
  • 1921 Tenth reunion[67]
  • 1922
  • 1923
  • 1924
  • 1925 reunion[68][69]


Around 1912 a group of old scholars felt it appropriate to establish a memorial for J L Young, and from 1912 held a series of annual reunion dinners to raise funds for the memorial.

Notable students[edit]

Heroes of the SS Gothenburg wreck
Robert Brazil, John Cleland & James Fitzgerald, 1875.

A remarkable number of Young's alumni became leading figures in Adelaide's businesses and public service. The following is sourced from Old Scholars reunions and other sources e.g. List of mayors and lord mayors of Adelaide

An academic certificate awarded to Charles Kingston from the Adelaide Educational Institution

"and hundreds of others scattered throughout the land".
(Somewhere it says he educated 1,500 young men – in 28 years, that's about 100 per annum (estimated mean 2 years per student), @ 10 guineas per annum.)

Old Scholars Association[edit]

(First A.G.M.)[101] held 15 Dec 1863 at Mr. J. L. Young's school room, Stephens-place; Mr. E. Cheetham occupied the chair. Satisfactory reports were received with reference to the success of the association. Annual prize awarded to Edward Neale Wigg. Elected: C. Peacock, President; M. L. Clark, Treasurer; Joseph Coulls, Secretary; and E. Cheetham, Walter Samson, Wm. Bickford, A. K. Whitby, and G. Cottrell.

Prizegivings and Examinations[edit]

J. L. Young held twice-yearly public demonstrations, mostly held in White's Rooms, which showcased the boys' accomplishments to parents and the public. A report was published as news in the newspapers immediately after, and always in glowing terms, the copy being provided by the school. Any flaws in the operation of the school and the training of eager young minds were only hinted at in retrospect – by pronouncements on the great strides made in the current year.

There were so many other schools that copied his example that the newspapers soon recognised these reports for what they were – advertisements – and charged by the column-inch. No longer were the speeches by the headmaster and the visiting dignitary quoted verbatim and, sadly for the historian, the only students named were the recipients of prizes.


The school fielded a (soccer) football team and two cricket teams.

The first school Sports Day was held in November 1874. Prizes included silver pencil cases and gold shirt studs.[102]

Other Adelaide private schools of the period[edit]

This list is by no means exhaustive. Many schools changed location, identity and management. And there were many women of culture and attainment, particularly widows (such as Caroline Carleton), who subsisted on their earnings as tutors.

  • Adelaide Collegiate School in North Adelaide, run by Thomas Field. Incorporated into Queen's School 1892.
  • Adelaide Model School (Alexander Clark) not strictly private school, run by Council of Education
  • Albert House Academy – see Haire's Academy
  • Alix House Academy, 100 South Terrace run by Eliza Hill (died October 1918), wife of Charles Hill, artist (died September 1915)
  • Mrs. Bell's school[32]
  • Billiatt's Grammar School at St. Leonards, Glenelg[103]
  • Bowden Day Schools (Methodist?) (Mr & Mrs Lawton)
  • Brougham School, Gilles Street ca. 1869 (Thomas Stevens Burgan, died 3 July 1858, succeeded by son Thomas Burgan,[104] also at Fellenberg Commercial School)
  • School run by W. A. Cawthorne on what was later Page Street, Adelaide,[5] became Victoria Square Academy.
  • Christ Church School run by James Bath, later Secretary to the Central Board of Education
  • Church of England Collegiate School see St. Peter's Collegiate School
  • Classical Academy run by T. Q. Stow[105]
  • Classical and Commercial School for Young Gentlemen run J. McGowan, Grenfell-street, near Gawler-place[105]
  • Classical and English School run by the Rev. Ralph Drummond on Angas Street
  • Classical, Mathematical and Commercial Academy, North Adelaide. Rev. J. B. Titherington and E. W. Wickes 1847–
  • Collegiate and Commercial Institute, Victoria Square 1860 see Haire's academy
  • Commercial School, Port Adelaide (Henry Nootnagel)[106] later language master St Peter's College, later Prince Alfred College.
  • Commercial School run by Mr. Hutchins in Hindley Street[105]
  • Mr Dollison's school, Port Adelaide.
  • Fellenberg Commercial School, Pulteney Street 1859–1861; Hindmarsh Square 1861–1866. Run by John Martin who moved to Melbourne, succeeded by James Morecott Holder ( – 1 November 1887) 1865–1866.
  • German School, Freeman St (von Schleinitz, then Hansen) 1851-52
  • German School, Wakefield Street, run by Theodor Niehuus[107] and Adolph Leschen.
  • Glenelg Educational Institution (M. Mitchell)
  • Glenelg Grammar (1868) Frederick Isaac Caterer (c. 1840 – c. 24 August 1892)
  • Gouger Street Academy, James Hosking (c. 1822–1888)
  • Grote Street Model School (coeducational – many female students prominent in Adelaide University examinations 1878)[108]
  • Haire's Academy, Albert House, Victoria Square then Collegiate Institute, Whitmore House, Whitmore Square between Gilbert Street and South Terrace.[5] (Francis Haire, died insolvent? ca. 1875)
  • Hill House School (E. W. Wickes, later G. W. Moore)
  • School run by Miss Hillier (later Mrs Taylor) North Terrace.[5]
  • Mrs. Hillier's school, Brighton (Mr. John Hillier was on Register staff)
  • Mr Howard's Academy
  • Infant School, run by Mrs. Gawler in Morphett Street[105]
  • James Jolly (died 3 November 1881)'s school in Waymouth Street (he later ran the Board of Education school at Encounter Bay then Port Elliot)
  • Mr King's Academy, Port Adelaide
  • St Leonards Grammar, Glenelg (W. K. Smart)
  • Mr Leslie's School
  • Mr McLaughlin's Public School, Port Adelaide
  • Maesbury House School, Kensington, conducted by Septimus Webster c. 1857
  • Mr. Martin's School, Pirie Street. 1852–1857, run by John Martin (c. 1814 – 9 July 1876), see also Fellenberg School above.
  • Martin's Grammar School, Port Adelaide, conducted by Allen Martin (12 August 1844 – 13 July 1924) 1870–1876 then as a State school 1877–1900.[109]
  • Miss Martin's School. Founded by Annie Montgomerie Martin. Second headmistress was Caroline Clark
  • North Adelaide Classical and Commercial Academy (1847– ) John Berjew
  • North Adelaide Educational Institution (aka Nesbit & Drews')(1869- )
  • North Adelaide Grammar (John Whinham) (1804?-13 March 1886) and son Robert (died 24 October 1884) later called Whinham College.
  • North Adelaide Seminar (1847– )
  • Norwood Grammar School (Thomas Caterer) 1861 became South Australian Commercial College 1881
  • Port Adelaide Grammar (A. Martin)
  • Mr Potter's School
  • Prince Alfred College (J. A. Hartley)
  • Princes street School (T. Cater?) (founded by James Cater, taken over by Department the following year)[110]
  • Pulteney Street School (1848)[111] (W. Moore) became Pulteney Grammar
  • Pulteney Street Central Schools (coeducational) 1847[112] (same as above?)
  • Queen's School, later Queen's College, 149 Barton Tce, North Adelaide (1892–1949) was founded by J.H. Lindon and E.L. Heinemann, both ex-St. Peter's College, taking over the building (and the bulk of the students) of Thomas Field's Adelaide Collegiate School.[113]
  • Queenstown Commercial School
  • Miss Roland's school on Tavistock Street[32]
  • Rundle Street Grammar (R.C. Mitton and W.J. Anderson) in Stephens Place from 1866 to 1872
  • St. Peter's Collegiate School (previously Church of England Collegiate School)
  • Semaphore Collegiate School
  • Mr. Shepherdson's school in the Parklands, later kept by Mr Oldham for the South Australian School Society of London[105]
  • Stepney College
  • Miss Tilney's school, Grote Street, later Franklin Street at Captain Finnis's house.
  • Tranmere School, run by David Wylie[114] brother-in-law of William Scott MHR
  • Union College (religious training)[115]
  • Victoria Square Academy – W. A. Cawthorne's school on west side of the Square.
  • Way College – a Bible Christian college on Park Terrace, North Unley, named for Rev. James Way; W. G. Torr principal
  • Wesleyan Day School, run by Mr. La Vence, in Franklin Street Wesleyan Chapel.[105]
  • Whinham College – see North Adelaide College
  • Wickes and Titherington opened a school at Jeffcott Street 1847[116]
  • Mrs. Woodcocks Christ Church school room[32]
  • Young Ladies' School, run by Mrs. McGowan on Grenfell Street[105]
  • Young Ladies' Seminary, run by Mrs. Yates at Tavistock Buildings on Rundle Street[105]
  • Young Ladies' Seminary, run by Miss Williams on North Terrace[105]
  • Young Ladies' Seminary, run by Mrs. Quick on Stephens Place[105]
  • Young Ladies' Seminary, by Mrs. Chatfield on Cragie Place[105] (off Gouger Street near Victoria Square)


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Further reading[edit]

  • Chessell, Diana Adelaide's Dissenting Headmaster — John Lorenzo Young and his Premier Private School 2014; Wakefield Press, Kent Town, South Australia. ISBN 978 1 74305 240 2