Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events

On the Shoulders of Giants: Lecture 1 - Henry Carmichael

Henry Carmichael POSTPONED: Please contact SMSA on 02 9262 7300 regarding bookings

On the Shoulders of Giants: Creation of Learned Societies in NSW 

Henry Carmichael — Educational Progressive, Social Reformer, Secularist, Winegrower

Dr Lesley Scanlon
Vice-President, Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts

Date: Postponed
Venue: Tom Keneally Centre, Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney

This is the first in the four lecture series, On the Shoulders of Giants: Creation of Leaned Societies in Colonial NSW, presented jointly by the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts and the Royal Society of NSW. This series will broadly cover the history of the two institutions, their contributions to learning and adult education in the colony, and significant figures in both organisations whose impact is felt still today.

When Henry Carmichael arrived in Sydney in 1831 he was on a ‘mission of educational reform’. An indefatigable educational activist, he saw education as a means of developing individual habits of mind and the key to social reform. Carmichael’s progressive educational ideas and practices drew on the works of Jeremy Bentham, Pestalozzi, Lancaster and von Fellenberg. Dr Lesley Scanlon explores how Carmichael actualised these ideas at the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, the Normal Institution and the Porphyry Lyceum. His commitment to the ideal of liberal education is also evident in his advocacy of a national, secular education system and his championship of technical education. It is time to reappraise the work of this early educational thinker whose ideas remain relevant today.

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