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Cyril Allerton Glew (1891–1973)

by Owen F. Watts

This article was published:

Cyril Allerton Glew (1891-1973), headmaster, was born on 30 April 1891 at Brunswick, Melbourne, son of Victorian-born parents Edward Manning Glew, carpenter, and his wife Sarah Alicia, née Latimer. About 1900 the family moved to Subiaco, Perth. Cyril was educated at Perth Boys' School and encouraged by his headmaster Joseph Parsons to become a teacher. Appointed a monitor at the school in 1906, Glew entered Teachers' College, Claremont, in 1909 and was sent as an assistant to Bunbury State School in 1911. Within a year he was transferred to Worsley.

For some twenty years Glew's conduct and ability were intermittently criticized by headmasters, superintendents and inspectors who commented on his failure to prepare lessons, his 'feeble' control of his class, his inability to relate to students and the distractions of his extracurricular activities. Recommended for a transfer, on 12 April 1912 he was dispatched as head teacher to the school at Manjimup, a place where conditions were rough, and where his mother and incapacitated father joined him. In 1916 an inspector investigated complaints of Glew's irregular attendance at school, his poor discipline, and his all-night drinking and gambling sessions at the local hotel. The nickname 'Sticky', by which he was fondly known in later years, was recognized as indicative of a lack of respect. Although most parents supported him, he was disciplined, his salary was reduced one grade and he was transferred, first to Peringillup and then to Golden Ridge, near Kalgoorlie.

A small, spare, energetic and enthusiastic man who wore thick-rimmed spectacles, Glew married Clarice Alma Campbell, née McNamara (d.1948), a widow, on 20 December 1919 at St Matthew's Anglican Church, Boulder. After teaching at two other goldfields schools, he was appointed to Pemberton State School in 1927. There his career reached a turning-point. Although the Department of Education continued to question his involvement in community work, he planted pines on land granted to the school, examined the feasibility of introducing trout hatcheries in the district, helped to advance the establishment of a butter factory, and contributed to sporting clubs and welfare organizations. While head teacher of Cannington (1933-35) and of West Northam (1936-38), he studied part time at the University of Western Australia (B.A., 1937; Dip.Ed., 1939). He achieved some success in standardizing James McRae's intelligence tests for children.

Following a year at Albany in 1939, Glew became head teacher of Collie District High School in 1940. His love of learning and the humanities won praise and led to his appointment in 1944 as head of Perth Boys' School. He gave intellectual leadership, improved the library, encouraged the study and performance of music, supported the cadets and competitive sport, and filled the school with works of art. He initiated regular meetings of headmasters, furthered his involvement in youth organizations and won the respect of the business community. He knew the names of all his boys and followed their later careers with interest.

On 14 February 1951 Glew married Myrtle Amy Manson at St Margaret's Church, Nedlands. After retiring in 1956, he undertook voluntary rehabilitation work with prisoners. In 1964 he was appointed O.B.E. Survived by his wife, he died on 13 August 1973 at Nedlands and was cremated. J. K. Ewers regarded him as 'the finest headmaster I've worked under'.

Select Bibliography

  • J. K. Ewers, Perth Boys' School, 1847-1947 (Perth, 1947)
  • J. Williams, As It Was in The Beginning (Manjimup, WA, 1992)
  • University of Western Australia, Convocation News, Oct 1973
  • West Australian, 30 Oct 1933, 30 Sept 1948, 11 Apr 1956, 13 June 1964, 16 Aug 1973
  • Education Department (Western Australia), AN 45/5 Acc 1059/389/44 (State Records Office of Western Australia).

Citation details

Owen F. Watts, 'Glew, Cyril Allerton (1891–1973)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 24 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (Melbourne University Press), 1996

View the front pages for Volume 14

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