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Hoadley, Charles Archibald Brookes (1887–1947)

by John Lack

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

Charles Archibald Brookes Hoadley (1887-1947), by Frank Hurley

Charles Archibald Brookes Hoadley (1887-1947), by Frank Hurley

State Library of New South Wales, Home and Away - 36098

Charles Archibald Brookes Hoadley (1887-1947), explorer, educationist and scout leader, was born on 1 March 1887 at Burwood, Victoria, tenth of fourteen children of Abel Hoadley, and his wife Susannah Ann, née Barrett. He was educated at Toorak Grammar School and from 1900 at Wesley College. By 1911 he had completed degrees in mining engineering and science at the University of Melbourne, and two years employment followed with Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd at Port Pirie, South Australia.

Late in 1912 he joined the Australasian Antarctic Exploration Expedition led by (Sir) Douglas Mawson, spending a year as geologist to the western base party which covered more than 800 miles (1287 km) in Queen Mary Land. Hoadley was one of the group which undertook a 300-mile (483 km) trip into Kaiser Wilhelm II Land. He examined Haswell Island and Gaussberg, collected specimens, and later praised the geological work of Drygalski, leader of the German Antarctic Expedition (1901-03). Hoadley did not return to the Antarctic, but in 1916 he offered his services to the Ross Sea landing party, projected as part of the Aurora relief expedition to rescue (Sir) Ernest Shackleton's men.

Upon his return to Australia in 1913 Hoadley took his M.Sc. and was awarded the Caroline Kay scholarship in geology. In 1914 he had a government research scholarship to undertake the analysis of rocks gathered in the Antarctic, but shortly he was appointed senior lecturer at the Ballarat School of Mines and Industry. January 1916 saw his appointment as the first principal of Footscray Technical School. Hoadley instructed in geology, metallurgy, science and surveying, kept abreast of developments in industry by engaging (1921-22) with a local engineering firm, and practised leather craft and metal-work in his spare time. He proselytized for technical education among district parents in press articles and public addresses. Footscray became the largest diploma teaching school in the State system.

In 1921 he joined the Boy Scout Association and became scoutmaster of the reformed 1st Footscray troop. While investigating technical education in the United States of America and Europe in 1924, he completed a course at Gilwell, England, and in 1925 he helped to organize the earliest Gilwell courses in Australia. Appointed commissioner for scouter training, he was active in the creation and development of Gilwell Park at Gembrook, Victoria. As chief commissioner of Victoria in 1928-37 he reorganized the district and county workings of the association and was credited with infusing a new spirit and purpose into scouting. On 21 May 1932 at Holy Trinity, Kew, Hoadley married Rita Cadle McComb, a nurse. Marriage and ill health curtailed his scouting activities in the 1930s but he was warden of Gilwell Park from 1937, chairman of the State executive committee from 1944, and president of the federal council of the Boy Scouts' Association from 1946.

In 1929 he visited England as commissioner in charge of the Australian jamboree contingent, and attended for the Education Department a world conference on adult education at Cambridge. Hoadley returned much impressed by the community leadership displayed by men of influence in English towns. A Freemason from 1915, he became foundation deputy worshipful master of the Baden-Powell Lodge in 1930, and a member of Melbourne Rotary in 1932. He was also an active member of local societies and the Church of England.

At the time of his death from coronary thrombosis at his Footscray home on 27 February 1947 Hoadley was the suburb's most respected figure, widely revered for his warm friendship, inspiring leadership and outstanding community service. His ashes were interred beneath the altar in the chapel at Gilwell Park. His wife and their two sons survived him. He is commemorated by the Hoadley Memorial Lodge (1951), a memorial hall at Gilwell Park (1955), a bust erected by the Footscray Rotary Club, and the physical education centre at the Footscray Institute of Technology. He was awarded the King's Polar Medal (1915) and the Order of the Silver Wolf (1931) and was appointed C.B.E. (1936). Cape Hoadley in Antarctica is named after him.

Select Bibliography

  • The Story of Gilwell in Victoria (Melb, 1963)
  • Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914, Under the Leadership of Sir D. Mawson, Scientific Reports, series A, 1, 1916
  • Victorian Scout, 15 Mar 1947, 16 Aug 1948
  • Independent (Footscray), 22 Jan 1916
  • Footscray Advertiser, 15 Mar 1947, 16 Aug 1948
  • Argus (Melbourne), 25 Sept 1928, 17 Jan 1930, 14 July 1937
  • Herald (Melbourne), 27 Sept 1947
  • records, (East Melbourne Masonic Centre, and Mawson Institute for Antarctic Research, University of Adelaide, and University of Melbourne Archives).

Citation details

John Lack, 'Hoadley, Charles Archibald Brookes (1887–1947)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hoadley-charles-archibald-brookes-6688/text11535, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 29 November 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

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