HARRIS, Richard Deodatus Poulett (1817-1899)

HARRIS, Richard Deodatus Poulett (1817-1899)
was descended from Sir Amias Poulett, ambassador to France in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and afterwards keeper of Mary Queen of Scots. Harris was born on 26 October 1817 at Cape Breton Island, where his father, Captain Charles Poulett-Harris of the 60th Rifles, was stationed. Educated at the Manchester Free Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge, 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 College in 1844, and five years later was appointed classics master at the Blackheath proprietary school. He went to Tasmania about the end of 1856 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 died at Woodbridge, Tasmania, on 23 December 1899, and was survived by his wife, several daughters and a son.
P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; The Mercury, Hobart, 25 December 1899; The Launceston Examiner, 25 December 1899; Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1899.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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