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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Woolley, Rev. John

< The Dictionary of Australasian Biography

Woolley, Rev. John, D.C.L. Oxon., was the son of George Woolley, M.D., of London, and Charlotte his wife, daughter of W. Gall, of Lewes, Sussex. He was born at Petersfield, Hampshire, on Feb. 28th, 1816, and entered the London University in 1830, after completing his school studies. Here he passed through the curriculum with extraordinary success, and won a first prize in logic. Proceeding to Oxford in 1832, he gained an open scholarship at Exeter College, and wrote a small work on logic. At Oxford he became the friend of Dean Stanley, who was a contemporary Fellow of University College. In 1842 he was appointed head-master of King Edward VI.'s Grammar School at Hereford, and in July 1842 he married Mary Margaret, daughter of Major Turner, of the 13th Light Dragoons. He was afterwards elected head-master of the Northern Church of England School at Rossall, Lancashire; and in 1846 he was appointed head of the University at Corfu. The Greek priests petitioning against the appointment of an English clergyman, he resigned, and was succeeded by Sir George Bowen. In 1849 he was head-master of Norwich Grammar School, and in Jan. 1852 he was appointed principal of the Sydney University. Arriving in the colony in June 1852, he discharged the additional duties of Professor of Classics and Logic in the University until 1865, when he visited England. Whilst on his return passage he was lost in the London, which foundered in the Bay of Biscay, meeting death with calmness and courage. On Jan. 11th, 1866, £2000 was raised by subscription as a tribute of respect to his memory, and presented to his widow. Dr. Woolley delivered the inaugural oration at the opening of the Sydney University in August 1852, and was one of the original masters of the Sydney Grammar School, to the organisation of which he devoted much time and labour. He was also the first to propound a scheme, which since his death has been developed for connecting the primary schools of the colony with the University.