The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Harris, Rev. Richard Deodatus Poulett

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Harris, Rev. Richard Deodatus Poulett, son of Captain Charles Poulett Harris, of the 60th Rifles, was born at Cape Breton Island on Oct. 26th, 1817. The family traces descent in a direct line from Sir Amias Poulett, of Queen Elizabeth's time. Mr. Harris was educated by his father, and at Manchester Free Grammar School, and afterwards at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated as Twenty-fourth Wrangler in 1843. He was Principal of the Huddersfield College in 1844; took orders in 1846, and was classical master of Blackheath Proprietary School in 1849. In 1856, having received the appointment of Rector of the High School of Hobart Town, Mr. Harris went to Tasmania. During his Rectorship of the High School, which lasted twenty-eight years, he was a most successful head master, and trained a number of the most prominent Tasmanian public men. At the suggestion of Mr. Harris, the Tasmanian Parliament in 1858 passed an Act establishing a system of examinations on the plan of the Oxford and Cambridge local examinations, and founding two annual scholarships for Tasmanian youths of £200 per annum, tenable at any of the universities of the United Kingdom. The Tasmanian Council of Education and Scholarship Act had a most important effect in raising the standard of education in the colony. Mr. Harris was one of the original members of the Council of Education appointed by the Government in 1859. He remained a member until the absorption of the Council in the new Tasmanian University. He had long been a warm advocate of the establishment of a university in the colony, and on its foundation in 1890 he was unanimously elected first Warden of the Senate. Mr. Harris has a distinguished Masonic record. He has twice been First Principal of the Royal Arch Chapter in Tasmania. In June 1880 he was appointed District Master for Tasmania. In 1890, on the establishment of a Grand Lodge of Tasmania, Mr. Harris was installed first Grand Master, the Grand Masters of other colonies—Lord Carrington, Lord Kintore, Chief Justice Way, and other distinguished Masons—coming to Hobart to take part in his installation. In 1885 Mr. Harris resigned the Rectorship of the High School, and has since resided at Peppermint Bay, Dentrecasteaux Channel.