ROE, Reginald Heber (1850-1926)


ROE, Reginald Heber (1850-1926)
headmaster Brisbane Grammar School
son of J. B. Roe, was born at Blandford, Dorset, England, on 3 August 1850. He was educated at Christ's hospital school, London, was head Grecian in 1869, and won a scholarship which took him to Balliol College, Oxford. He rowed in the college eight and graduated B.A. in 1875 and M.A. in 1876, with first-class honours in the final mathematics, and second-class honours in the final classics, schools. He was a private tutor at Oxford for a short period, and in 1876 was appointed headmaster of the Brisbane Grammar School. This school had been founded in 1869 and had only a small number of pupils, but during Roe's reign of 33 years he gave it the standing of a great public school. He was a good administrator and built up an excellent staff; he was thoroughly interested in the problems of education, and, an athlete himself, realized the importance of games and the help they could give in the development of character. He associated himself with the movement for the foundation of a university in Queensland, and in 1890 gave an address on "A University as a Part of National Life". He was for a period president of the university extension movement, and, when the university was established in 1910, became its first vice-chancellor and held this position until 1916. He was an early member of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, was on its publication committee, and at the meeting held at Christchurch in January 1891, was president of the literature and fine arts section. His presidential address is printed in the Report of that meeting. He visited England in 1901 and made a report to the Queensland department of public instruction on state inspection as applied to secondary schools. In 1909 he resigned from Brisbane Grammar School to become inspector general of schools and chief educational adviser to the Queensland government, and finally retired in 1919. He died at Brisbane on 21 September 1926. He married in 1879 Annie Maud, daughter of Captain C. B. Whish, who survived him with four sons and two daughters. His third son, Dr Arthur Stanley Roe, was the first Queensland Rhodes scholar.
Roe was a good swimmer, oarsman and lawn tennis player, and has been called the father of lawn tennis in Queensland. He at different periods was president of the three associations governing these sports. As an educationist he was a combination of learning and sound common-sense, interested in ideals and all things intended for the improvement of mankind. He did valuable work as educational adviser to the government and as vice-chancellor in the difficult early days of the university, but his greatest influence was as the head of a great school, admired and beloved by all who had been associated with him.
E . Hilbard, The Balliol College Register, 1832-1914; The Brisbane Courier, 22 September 1926; Calendar of the University of Queensland, 1928, p. 306.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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