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1 October 1874 William Townsend

1 October 1874          William Townsend

The South Australian Institute of the Blind and Deaf and Dumb which opened on
1 October 1874 was the idea of William Townsend and was the first school in South Australia and the third in Australia to cater for the needs of these people. William Townsend arrived in South Australia on 2 August 1853 and after working at several jobs became an auctioneer and some time later was able to set up his own business. He was a Member of Parliament for Onkaparinga, Mayor of Adelaide for two terms and Mayor of Unley in 1878. He was also a lay preacher of the Congregational Church and a philanthropist. The School for the Blind and Deaf and Dumb was one of his major concerns and was at first held in an old hotel, the Grace Darling, at Brighton. In November 1876 the foundation stone of Townsend House was laid by his daughter, Jean. The House was officially opened by Justice Samuel Way, who was serving as Administrator of the colony at the time, on 22 June 1876.

George Loyau, The Representative Men of South Australia, Howell, Adelaide, 1883, p.251.

Tags: Grace Darling, Townsend William