Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Cape, William Timothy

CAPE, WILLIAM TIMOTHY (1806–1863), Australian colonist, born at Walworth, Surrey, 25 Oct. 1806, was eldest son of William Cape of Ireby, Cumberland. He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School under Dr. Bellamy, with a view to entering the church, and showed great proficiency in his studies. The elder Cape was resident manager of the bank of Brown, Cobb, & Co., Lombard Street, but on the breaking up of Brown's bank he decided to emigrate. Having obtained letters from Lord Bathurst to Sir Thomas Brisbane, the governor, William Cape, accompanied by his son, sailed for Van Diemen's Land in 1821, and after a nine months' voyage reached Hobart Town. In 1822 they removed to Sydney, where the father established a private school, the ‘Sydney Academy.’ In course of time he became principal of the Sydney public school, with his son as assistant-master, and on the resignation of the father, in 1829, the son became head-master—Archdeacon Scott, a friend of the family, being king's visitor. In 1830, however, he reopened the private school in Sydney, but when the high school called ‘Sydney College’ was founded in 1835, he transferred his private pupils to it, and was elected head-master. He held this office up to 1842, when he founded a new private school at Paddington, Sydney. In 1855 he decided to give up scholastic life. In 1859 he became member for the constituency of Wollombi. His experience advanced him to the position of commissioner of national education, and about the same time he became a magistrate. He was also elected fellow of St. Paul's College within the university of Sydney, and helped on the Sydney School of Arts.

In 1855 he made a visit to England, and the next year returned to New South Wales. In 1860 he again visited his native country with the younger branches of his family, in order to collect educational information, and died of small-pox at Warwick Street, Pimlico, 14 June 1863. His funeral at Brompton was attended by almost all the colonists then in London. His old pupils erected a tablet to his memory in St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney.

[Heaton's Australian Dictionary, p. 33; Barton's Lit. of New South Wales, p. 80; Gent. Mag. 1863, i. 114.]

J. W.-G.