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Richard Hale Budd (1816–1909)

by A. M. Badcock and L. J. Blake

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Richard Hale Budd (1816-1909), by Johnstone, O'Shannessy & Co, c1880

Richard Hale Budd (1816-1909), by Johnstone, O'Shannessy & Co, c1880

La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria, H3765

Richard Hale Budd (1816-1909), educationist, was born on 6 March 1816 at Kensington, London, the eldest son of Rev. Henry Budd, M.A., 1801 (Cantab.), rector of White Roding, Essex, and his wife Jane, née Hale. He was educated at Rugby under Dr Arnold in 1832-34, and on 20 June 1834 admitted to St John's College, Cambridge (B.A., 1838; M.A., 1881). There he was a member of the Lady Margaret Boat Club, which in 1837 was head of the river; in that year he also rowed for the successful Cambridge crew against the Leander Club on the Thames.

Deterred from being called to the English Bar by early indications of deafness, he tutored in England and attended the training institution for teachers at Westminster where he qualified for the teacher's certificate before leaving on 30 June 1840 for Victoria in the Eagle. He arrived on 20 October and went into partnership with the Pohlman brothers in a sheep run near Kyneton. This venture failed and he had no funds to resume his pastoral interests until 1857 when he acquired an interest in Oaklands station, ten miles from Mount Gambier. In 1842 Budd had turned to private tutoring, and in 1843 had a school at Meadow Bank near Campbell Town, Tasmania. There on 13 June he married Elizabeth, daughter of J. L. Purves; they had four sons and four daughters.

He returned to Melbourne in March 1846 to open a classical school in Victoria Parade, but two years later accepted an invitation by the first Anglican bishop of Melbourne, Dr Charles Perry, to become headmaster of the Melbourne Diocesan Grammar School which was built at Eastern Hill on land belonging to St Peter's Church and opened on 11 April 1849. The object of the school was to give 'a sound scriptural and general education available to all persons without any distinction'. In answer to public criticism that Budd was not a clergyman, Perry maintained that a lay headmaster was best suited to the aims of the school. Budd received a salary of £300 to £500 depending on the fees collected. His eldest son, Henry Hale, who later became a barrister in Melbourne, was the first of the 176 boys enrolled at the school. Difficulty in recruiting suitable staff for both the classroom and the boarding establishment in the gold rush led to the closing of the school in December 1854.

Budd had become an inspector on 18 November 1854 under the Denominational Schools Board, being designated 'normal' inspector when it began examining and classifying teachers in 1856. In that year he inaugurated a system of teacher training at St James's Church of England School in opposition to the National Board's training system at the Model School; later under his guidance Stephen Dixon created the St James's and St Paul's Training Institution. Budd was acting-secretary of the Denominational Board from 11 July 1855 to 31 March 1856 and from 17 May 1859 and was appointed secretary on 31 March 1860. Despite demands from the Chief Secretary's Office in 1861 that salaries be curtailed to match those of the National Board, Budd as chief executive officer of the Denominational system retained his salary of £1000. At this stage three-quarters of the colony's school children were attending Denominational schools.

While directing the larger part of the dual system Budd was prominent in the detailed framing of Richard Heales's Common Schools Act of 1862, by which an attempt was made to co-ordinate education in Victoria under a single board; he was appointed inspector-general on 6 October 1862. From the outset the Common Schools Board was hampered in its operations by conflicting demands from churchmen and secularists, and by small rival schools that proliferated uneconomically without reaching more than 60 per cent of school-age children. But the 1862 Act did not entirely fail and the secular Education Act of 1872, which replaced the board by a Department of Education under ministerial control, was also opposed by churchmen of all complexions. Budd had little sympathy with the new order or its instigators; he too was replaced and on 1 January 1873 granted a pension of £500.

Budd conducted classes for teachers on Saturday mornings at St Paul's schoolrooms and next year founded a classical school for young ladies in the Independent Hall, Russell Street, later opening a branch school at Brighton. In 1886 he gave up the Melbourne school and until the end of 1899 conducted the school at Brighton. He died at his Brighton home, Rooding, on 27 March 1909 and was buried in the Brighton cemetery. Predeceased by his wife, he was survived by two unmarried daughters, Mary and Emma.

An enthusiast for the English public school tradition, Budd regarded the years after his retirement from government office as the happiest of his life. An early supporter of the Church of England in Victoria, he was a member of the first council of the diocese and church assembly, and for twenty years a lay reader in the Cheltenham and Mordialloc districts.

Select Bibliography

  • W. Bate, A History of Brighton (Melb, 1962)
  • Argus (Melbourne), 7 Mar 1906, 29 Mar 1909
  • Age (Melbourne), 29 Mar 1909
  • Weekly Times (Melbourne), 2 Apr 1909
  • Melbourne Diocesan Grammar, school records (Public Record Office Victoria)
  • Education Department records
  • Budd papers (Royal Historical Society of Victoria)
  • Kiddle papers (State Library of Victoria)
  • Budd family records (privately held).

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

A. M. Badcock and L. J. Blake, 'Budd, Richard Hale (1816–1909)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1969, accessed online 18 April 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, (Melbourne University Press), 1969

View the front pages for Volume 3

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Richard Hale Budd (1816-1909), by Johnstone, O'Shannessy & Co, c1880

Richard Hale Budd (1816-1909), by Johnstone, O'Shannessy & Co, c1880

La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria, H3765

Life Summary [details]


6 March, 1816
London, Middlesex, England


27 March, 1909 (aged 93)
Brighton, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cultural Heritage

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Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.