RIDLEY, William (1819-1878)


RIDLEY, William (1819-1878)
missionary to the aborigines and scholar
was born at Hartford End, Essex, England, on 14 September 1819. He was educated at King's College and London university where he graduated B.A. He was brought to Australia by Dr Lang (q.v.) and for a time taught languages at the Australian College. He entered the Presbyterian ministry and at various times was stationed at Balmain, Brisbane, Portland, and Manning River, spent three years as a missionary to the aborigines, and in 1856 published in pamphlet form Gurre Kamilaroi or Kamilaroi Sayings. In 1866 he published Kamilaroi Dippil, and Turrubul; Languages spoken by Australian Aborigines. He spent a few weeks among the aborigines in 1871 endeavouring to increase his knowledge of their languages and traditions, and in 1875 published a revised and enlarged edition of the 1866 volume under the title of Kamilaroi and Other Australian Languages. For many years he was a regular contributor to the Sydney newspapers including the Empire, the Evening News and the Town and Country Journal. He began studying Chinese in 1877 intending to take charge of the Chinese mission at Sydney, but died after an attack of paralysis, possibly the result of over work, on 26 September 1878. He was a modest, unselfish and able man, much liked both by the aborigines and by his many friends. He married Isabella Cotter who survived him with three sons and five daughters. In addition to the works already mentioned Ridley published as pamphlets, The Aborigines of Australia. A Lecture (1864), and Will Evil Last for ever? A Lecture (1872).
The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 September 1878; J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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