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Sir Charles Henry Goode (1827–1922)

by A. C. Hill

This article was published:

Charles Henry Goode (1827-1922), by unknown photographer

Charles Henry Goode (1827-1922), by unknown photographer

State Library of South Australia, SLSA: B 11258

Sir Charles Henry Goode (1827-1922), merchant and philanthropist, was born on 29 May 1827 at Hinton, Herefordshire, England, son of Samuel Goode. He left school at 10 to help his father and at 12 was apprenticed to a draper. In 1849 he migrated to South Australia where he opened a shop at North Adelaide and peddled goods first on foot and later by cart. Joined by Thomas Good the business grew rapidly. When Good retired Charles and his brothers Samuel and Matthew opened a warehouse in Adelaide. Charles went to London in 1859 to establish a buying department and returned to Adelaide in 1863. In March 1865 he was elected for East Torrens to the House of Assembly but resigned in November 1866 because of cotton shortages caused by the American civil war. He then directed the business in England for twelve years; after his return the partnership with his brothers was dissolved in 1882 and Goode took W. H. Durrant, his London manager, and W. H. Tite, an Adelaide business associate, as his partners. When Tite retired the firm of Goode, Durrant carried on for many years until it merged with D. & W. Murray. Goode remained a director but had other interests: he had become a justice of the peace in 1866 and was a director of a bank, an insurance society, several manufacturing concerns and the South Australian Advertiser.

Best known as a philanthropist Goode had studied social welfare in England and brought knowledge as well as enthusiasm to social work in Adelaide. A staunch Baptist he conducted a men's Bible class at Flinders Street Church for thirty-two years. He also helped to found the Young Men's Christian Association in Adelaide and was secretary of its first committee in 1851; when it was re-established in 1879 he gave long service as its president. He was prominent in founding the Royal Institution for the Blind in 1884, and its only president until 1922. He was a founder of the Adult Deaf and Dumb Mission and of the Adelaide Children's Hospital, serving for years on its board. He was also chairman of the James Brown trust set up to care for sick and crippled children and for sufferers from tuberculosis. In 1898 he published a series of letters to young people as A Visit to Japan and Notes by the Way. In January 1912 he was knighted. He not only signed cheques for good causes but gave his services generously and his public philanthropy did not make him unsympathetic to individual claims. According to the Mail, 'His name was a synonym for charitable deeds. Despite all the wonderful work done in this respect, his efforts stand right out, and every member of the community is proud to acknowledge the excellence of this prince of philanthropists'.

Goode was twice married: first, on 6 August 1856 at Christchurch, North Adelaide, to Mary Harriet Good, sister of his first partner, and second, on 16 December 1900 to a widow, Helen Augusta Lloyd, née Smith, He had no children but was a good stepfather to the two daughters of his second wife. He died on 5 February 1922, leaving an estate of £32,000.

A portrait in oils is in the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Select Bibliography

  • H. P. (Padgham), 32 Years: Being Reminiscences of the Flinders Street (Adelaide) Baptist Young Men's Bible Class, During the Thirty-Two Years of Mr. C.H. Goode's Presidency, 1879-1911 (Adel, 1911)
  • Honorary Magistrate, June 1909
  • North Adelaide Baptist Church minutes
  • records held by Goode, Durrant & Murray (Australia) Ltd.

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

A. C. Hill, 'Goode, Sir Charles Henry (1827–1922)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 13 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (Melbourne University Press), 1972

View the front pages for Volume 4

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Charles Henry Goode (1827-1922), by unknown photographer

Charles Henry Goode (1827-1922), by unknown photographer

State Library of South Australia, SLSA: B 11258

Life Summary [details]


29 May, 1827
Hinton, Herefordshire, England


5 February, 1922 (aged 94)
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

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