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William Henry Bragg and The University of Adelaide

Family & Social Life

W.H. Bragg, Gwendoline Bragg, Professor Bensley, Professor George Cockburn Henderson E.C. Stirling at Stirling's "St. Vigeans" home, undated.W.H. Bragg arrived in Adelaide in 1886 as an inexperienced and unsophisticated young man of 23.

On his first day, Bragg was invited to supper at the home of Charles Todd, the South Australian Government Astronomer, Postmaster-General and Superintendent of Telegraphs. Bragg delighted in the cheerful social atmosphere of the Todd family, and over the following months became particularly fond of Gwendoline, one of Todd’s four daughters.

They became engaged in January 1888, married at St Luke’s in Whitmore Square and rented the North Adelaide home of the silversmith, Henry Steiner, where their two sons were born (William Lawrence in 1890 and Robert Charles in 1892).

After returning from study leave in England in 1899, the Braggs built a new two story family home on the corner of East Tce and Carrington St (later to become the Public Schools Club). Bragg’s daughter, Gwendolen Mary, was born there in 1907.

Adelaide was crucial to W.H. Bragg’s development as a mature individual, family man and public figure. Gwendoline introduced him to Adelaide’s young society, and comforted, encouraged and calmed her often anxious husband.

After attending Queen’s College and St Peter’s college, the gifted but socially immature W.L. Lawrence enrolled at the University of Adelaide in 1906 at the age of 15, many of his classes being taught by his father. He graduated in 1908 with a first class honours in mathematics but did not concentrate on physics until his later years at Trinity College, Cambridge.


  1. William Lawrence Bragg, Jessie Todd, Robert Charles Bragg, William Henry Bragg, Gwendoline Bragg and "Tom" the dog, undated.
  2. William Henry Bragg, Gwendoline Bragg, Professor Bensley, Professor George Cockburn Henderson and Professor E.C. Stirling at Stirling's "St. Vigeans" home, undated.
  3. Gwendoline Bragg, ca. 1885
  4. William Henry Bragg in 1886 when he was appointed to the University of Adelaide.
  5. Picnic (possibly) for Post Office staff in the Adelaide Hills. Charles Todd standing in centre, son-in-law W.H. Bragg and daughter Gwendoline seated in centre of the picnic spread, ca. 1886-1888.
  6. Montacue picnic. From left: Professor Edward Stirling, Archibald Watson and W.H. Bragg, 1887.
  7. W.H. Bragg at picnic at One Tree Hill. Bragg at centre left facing camera. ca. 1889.
  8. W.H. Bragg, Gwendoline Bragg, William Lawrence Bragg and Robert Charles Bragg on the steps of their East Tce house, ca. 1902.
  9. William Lawrence Bragg while an undergraduate student at the University of Adelaide, 1906.
  10. Robert Charles Bragg, W.H. Bragg and Gwendoline Bragg shortly before their departure from Adelaide, ca. 1908-1909.
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