Richard Deodatus Poulett Harris

Richard Deodatus Poulett Harris

Richard Deodatus Poulett Harris (26 October 181723 December 1899) was an educationalist in England and Tasmania.

Harris was descended from Sir Amias Poulett, English ambassador to France in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, and afterwards keeper of Mary Queen of Scots. Harris was born on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada, where his father, Captain Charles Poulett Harris of the 60th Rifles, was stationed. Educated from 1837 at the Manchester Free Grammar School and from 1839 Trinity College, Cambridge where he graduated B.A. with honours in 1843, and M.A. in 1852. He was ordained deacon in 1847 and priest in 1849 in the Church of England. He engaged in teaching and became a master at Huddersfield Technical College in 1844, and five years later was appointed classics master at the Blackheath preparatory school. In 1844 he married Catherine Prior Hall, with whom he had six children, including Georgiana Poulett Harris (Mrs. Ingle, 1845-1919), first headmistress of Christchurch Girls' High School in New Zealand.

After his wife's death in June 1856, Harris went to Tasmania to became headmaster of the Hobart high school, and filled the position with much ability, inspiring both respect and affection from his pupils. It was at his suggestion that an act was passed in 1858 founding a system of school examinations based on the Oxford and Cambridge local examinations, and also founding the Tasmanian scholarships of £200 a year tenable at English universities. He was one of the original members of the council of education founded in 1859, and long advocated the establishment of the University of Tasmania. He resigned from his headmastership in 1885 and lived in retirement near Hobart. When the university was founded in 1890 Harris was elected the first warden of the senate. He was also the first Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge in Tasmania [] . He died at Woodbridge, Tasmania, on 23 December 1899, and was survived by his second wife Eleanor (nee Milward), daughters Louisa Violet and Eleanor Mary, and a son. Louisa's younger twin, Lily, died from Tubercular Peritonitis in 1897, aged 23, having been a teacher at the Ladies' Grammar School and Kindergarten in Davey Street, Hobart that was run by her sisters. A memorial for her exists in the All Saints' Anglican Church in Macquarie Street, South Hobart.

Richard and his daughters Eleanor and Lily are buried in the same grave at Cornelian Bay Cemetery.


*Dictionary of Australian Biography|First=Richard Deodatus Poulett|Last=Harris|Link=
*E. L. French, ' [ Harris, Richard Deodatus Poulett (1817 - 1899)] ', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, MUP, 1972, pp 352-353.

External links

* [ Find a Grave memorial for Poulett-Harris' youngest daughter, Lily. Contains information about the family.]

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