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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Read, Henry (1831–1888)

by J. Trevaskis

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (MUP), 1976

Henry Read (1831-1888), Anglican clergyman, professor of classics and medical practitioner, was born at Manchester, Lancashire, England, and baptized on 26 October 1831, son of William Read, tobacco manufacturer and later Anglican clergyman, and his wife Demeride, née Kaye. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School, Huddersfield College and St John's College, Cambridge (B.A., 1855; M.A., 1860), where he was three times an exhibitioner and seven times a prizeman; he also seems to have pursued some medical studies there.

On 3 June 1855 Read was ordained deacon by the bishop of Guiana, and was curate of St Philip's and classical tutor to Bishop's College, Georgetown, in 1855-58. At New Amsterdam, British Guiana, on 4 August 1859 he married Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Thomas Lawrence of Brecon, South Wales. In 1859-61 he was a Society for the Propagation of the Gospel missionary at All Saints, Berbice, and in 1862-64 curate of St Mary's, Antigua. He was appointed inspector of schools in British Guiana and St Kitts but ill health forced his return to England in 1866.

Next year Bishop Augustus Short appointed Read rector of Holy Trinity, Lyndoch, South Australia. He arrived in Adelaide in May 1867. Two years later he became rector of St Michael's, Mitcham, and in 1872 classics tutor to Union College. In 1874, while still rector, he was appointed first Hughes professor of classics and philology at the University of Adelaide where he was twice elected dean. In 1877 he published Modern Pronunciation of Latin and Greek as Adopted in Universities of Melbourne and Adelaide.

In June 1878, while his wife was visiting England, Read was required to resign his rectorship and his chair apparently because of a personal scandal; shortly afterwards he sailed with his family for Newcastle, New South Wales. Next year he graduated M.D. from the Medical College of the Pacific, University College, San Francisco. In 1883 he became a licentiate, and a licentiate in midwifery, of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, and of the Faculty of Physicians, Glasgow, and registered those qualifications later that year in Victoria where he lived for about two years. Soon after going to Brisbane he died of heart disease on 24 March 1888 survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter. He was buried in the Anglican section of Toowong cemetery.

Though an undistinguished holder of his chair, Read was able and courageous, and fluent in French, Italian and Spanish. Generous to his church at Mitcham he recovered well from his trouble at the University of Adelaide and it was a considerable achievement to obtain his medical qualifications in middle age.

Select Bibliography

  • St Michael's Church, Mitcham Jubilee Festival (Adel, 1902)
  • Illustrated Adelaide News, June 1875
  • Advertiser (Adelaide), 29 May, 3, 5 June 1878
  • Register (Adelaide), 3 June 1878
  • Brisbane Courier, 26 Mar 1888
  • Union College, Presbyterian Church records (State Records of South Australia).

Citation details

J. Trevaskis, 'Read, Henry (1831–1888)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1976, accessed online 24 November 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (MUP), 1976

View the front pages for Volume 6

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