The Hartley Prize

John Anderson Hartley

Photo courtesy of State Library of South Australia PRG-280-1-4-510

John Anderson Hartley was Inspector-General of Schools, Headmaster of Prince Alfred College (1871-1875) and a member and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide from 1893 until his death in 1896.

Appointed to the executive council of the Adelaide University Committee in October 1872 and to the first Council of the University in November, he worked on the committee preparing a scheme for professorships and lectureships. In June 1877 he was appointed to the first senate. He was active on the Council and defended its prerogatives against senate attempts to acquire greater powers. On the finance, education and library committees and on the faculties of arts and science his influence was important in framing regulations and statutes. The public examination system introduced in 1886 was largely his inspiration, ending the domination of classical studies and binding the secondary schools more closely to the university.

His ability, character and devotion to the cause of education was much admired as well as his unselfish energy and zeal with which he performed all he undertook.

On 8 September 1896, while riding home from his office on his newly-acquired bicycle, he collided with a horse ridden by a butcher's boy. He died from head injuries, survived by his wife and an adopted daughter, Muriel.

Members of the University, the SA Public School Teachers' Union, the Committee and Old Scholars' of Prince Alfred College, and representatives of the general public formed a Committee for the purpose of raising the necessary funds for a memorial at the University.

The Hartley Memorial Fund Committee felt that he deserved a lasting monument and one that was especially appropriate was to raise funds for the establishment of scholarships at the University.

Today, the Hartley Prize is valued at $1,000 and is awarded to the commencing student at the University with the highest overall ATAR score (or equivalent) who has accepted a place in any degree in the Faculty of Arts.

Further reading: John Anderson Hartley - Australian Dictionary of Biography
The Hartley Prize Rules