ALLEN, William (C. 1790-1856)


ALLEN, William (C. 1790-1856)
joint founder of St Peter's College, Adelaide
was born probably before 1790. Entering the navy of the East India Company he afterwards transferred to the merchant service, and for about 25 years traded from India. About 1833 or 1834, when Allen was captain of a ship, the crew rose in mutiny and killed one of the mates. Allen knocked the leader down with an oar and practically quelled the mutiny single-handed. He came to Adelaide in the Buckinghamshire in March 1839 and bought land in the neighbourhood of Port Gawler. In 1845 he was a part proprietor of the Burra copper mine and, joining in the foundation of the South Australian Mining Association, subsequently became its chairman. He took an interest in the Church of England and in the words of Bishop Short (q.v.) became "the greatest temporal benefactor—next after the Baroness Burdett-Coutts—whom the diocese has yet been permitted to know". On 24 May 1849, when the foundation-stone of St Peter's College was laid, William Allen and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge were referred to as "being the Principal Founders". Allen's gifts to this school, one of the earliest public schools established in Australia, eventually reached £7000. His benefactions were not confined to institutions connected with his own denomination, and he was well known for his private charity. He died suddenly at Adelaide on 17 October 1856. Under his will £5000 was left to the diocese of Adelaide to be used in increasing the incomes of the clergy.
The South Australian Register, 18 October 1856; Ceremony of Laying the First Stone of the Collegiate School of St Peter's, Adelaide; F. T. Whitington, Augustus Short, First Bishop of Adelaide, p. 156.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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