John Burdett Wittenoom

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John Burdett Wittenoom
Born October 24, 1788
Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, England
Died January 23, 1855
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Nationality English
Occupation Clergyman
Relatives Frank Wittenoom (grandson)
Edward Wittenoom (grandson)

John Burdett Wittenoom (24 October 1788 – 23 January 1855) was a colonial clergyman who was the second Anglican clergyman to perform religious services in the Swan River Colony, Australia, soon after its establishment in 1829.


Early life[edit]

John Burdett Wittenoom was born in England at Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire.


He took up teaching in England. Shortly after his first wife's death, he decided to emigrate to Western Australia arriving on the Wanstead in January 1830 with his mother, sister and four sons.

He singlehandedly conducted services alternately every Sunday at Perth, Guildford and Fremantle until 1836.

In later years, he ran a grammar school and pursued his interest in education. In 1847, he was appointed to the colony's first education committee and was the inaugural chairman for eight years after it became the Board of Education. After his death in 1855, his second wife and daughter took charge of the government girls' school.

Personal life[edit]

His first wife died when they were still living in England. Together, they had five sons, including John Burdett, Henry, Frederick Dirck, and Charles. In 1839, he remarried in Australia. His daughter Mary was the mother of Edith Cowan, while another daughter, Augusta, married Thomas Burges (a member of parliament). The progeny of Wittenoom's fifth son, Charles Wittenoom, became notable individuals in the history of Western Australia.


He died on January 23, 1855. A tablet in his memory is in St George's Cathedral, Perth.

See also[edit]