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Thomas Pattison (1805-1899)

Thomas Pattison (1805-1899) Coach Painter and Founder of the Deaf and Dumb Institute, Sydney

While others discussed the need for a school for the education of deaf children in NSW[1] it was Thomas Pattison who took the initiative and opened in Sydney on October 22, 1860 what was to become a successful organisation.[2] Apart from his brief time founding and teaching for 6 years at what was initially called the Deaf and Dumb Institution (DDI) and was later to become the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC)[3] little is known about his life. This paper seeks to fill out some background and detail of Thomas Pattison’s life.

Pattison’s background and schooling

Pattison was born in Edinburgh on January 5, 1805 the second son and the fourth child of Thomas Pattison, a weaver and Elisabeth Lorn.  As an adult, Pattison was reported as being 5’ 6” tall and deaf, either from birth [4] or from early childhood.[5] He went to school at the Edinburgh Deaf and Dumb Institution (EDDI) spending time there under the instruction of Robert Kinniburgh with class mates such as Alexander Drysdale[6] and Joseph Turner[7]  who were later to have significant roles in the development of the education of the deaf in Scotland.

Thomas Pattison

Thomas Pattison

The amount of experience as a teacher that Pattison had before he came to NSW is unclear. A report at the end of the first year of operation of the DDI, said that Pattison ‘was an experienced teacher, who passed twenty three years of his life in the Edinburgh Deaf and Dumb school, as an assistant teacher’.[8] Another secondary source says that he had been educated at the Edinburgh Institution for the Deaf and that ‘he seems to have been a pupil for five years and then a “monitor” for two more years, leaving in 1820’.[9] As Pattison was fifteen in 1820 this would give a commencement date of his schooling as 1813 when he was 8 years of age. This view is supported by Walter who says that he was dismissed (i.e. finished his schooling)

in 1818, but he was still listed in the printed Annual Reports as a ‘Pupil under Tuition’ until 1820. Pupils were sometimes retained for monitorial duties, and Pattison carried out such duties between 1818 and 1820.[10]

Pattison himself, in his advertisements to set up his school in Sydney described himself only as ‘late Secretary and Treasurer of the Edinburgh Deaf and Dumb Benevolent Society’ (EDDBS)[11] and gives no indication as to any service as a teacher of the deaf. The only claim he ever made, apart from that of having been ‘founder and for six years Head Master of the Deaf and Dumb Institution, Pitt-street, Sydney’[12]  is his association with the EDDBS.

The EDDBS was a benevolent organisation formed on November 16, 1835 and existed ‘for relieving deaf and dumb persons when in distress; and supporting such indigent individuals among them as are, from age or infirmity, unable to earn a livelihood.’[13] Pattison was on the Committee of the EDDBS and its Secretary/ Treasurer for twenty three years from 1835 until 1858.[14] When in NSW, Pattison produced a booklet of his references and the only significant comment on his teaching experience prior to coming to NSW was by Turner who remarked that ‘to the best of my knowledge the manner in which he taught the young class for a good while at the Edinburgh Deaf and Dumb Institution gave our deceased Master Mr Kinniburgh great satisfaction.’[15] This appears to be a reference to his final two years of service at the EDDI as a ‘monitor’.

It would therefore seem that Thomas was not ‘an experienced teacher who had passed twenty three years of his life in the Edinburgh Deaf and Dumb School, as an assistant teacher’ and this statement appears to be a confusion with his role at the EDDBS where he served for twenty three years in an administrative role as Secretary/ Treasurer. While the Committee did initially use the impressive expression ‘Professor Pattison’ to refer to Thomas both in advertisements and in the minutes of the committee, the practice was discontinued after a month and it is possible that the misrepresentation of Thomas’ teaching experience was due to ignorance and confusion rather than deceit. The Committee does not seem to have understood the difference between the EDDBS and the EDDI. Alternatively the view of Walter may be correct that ‘the Board was guilty of a gross exaggeration in order to impress the public’. [16]

Pattison Family involvement in Scottish Deaf Education

Thomas was not the only member of the Pattison family to be involved in the education of the deaf. Thomas lived for some time with his brother Alexander and his family.[17] It would seem that one of Alexander’s daughters, Eliza (more formerly Elizabeth Lorn Pattison), may have learnt how to communicate with her uncle for she later worked with Alexander Drysdale, Thomas’ school friend, as a teacher at his Dundee Deaf and Dumb Institution (DDDI) from 1858[18] until her death in 1879,[19] though her duties were initially mainly as a teacher of the blind.[20]  However, the family connection between the Pattison family and the Drysdale family was even closer for Susan Drysdale (nee Dummond), Alexander Drysdale’s wife, and Ann Pattison (nee Leckie), Alexander Pattison’s wife and Eliza’s mother, were half-sisters.[21]

Pattison’s church involvement

In 1858 Thomas Pattison was farewelled from Edinburgh by some eighty of his deaf friends as it was said he was ‘about to emigrate to Australia’. In this account his profession is noted as a ‘coach-painter in Edinburgh’ and he is further described as an ‘elder of the Deaf and Dumb Church, and Secretary of the Deaf and Dumb Benevolent Society’. [22] During the evening he was presented with a copy of Kitto’s Illustrated Bible[23] and interestingly that ‘appropriate addresses were delivered by means of signs and the deaf and dumb alphabet’[24] indicating that Thomas was aware of, and probably used, both methods of manual communication.

This farewell meeting was most likely largely of a deaf community centred on the church associated with the EDDBS of which Pattison was, as an Elder, a leading member. Pattison served for twenty four years, from 1834 to 1858 as an Elder of a deaf and dumb Congregation in Edinburgh where Alexander Blackwood, a founder of the EDDBS, was the pastor. Pattison often preached and conducted divine services at the Church [25] as well in Dundee.[26]

This religious influence is clearly seen in the EDDBS as it conducted worship services twice on every Sunday at 11am and 2pm which is the same format that Pattison used when he commenced his work in Sydney.[27] Thomas also held, concurrently with his Eldership of the Deaf and Dumb Church, membership in the Free Church of Scotland. He was a member, until October 1853, of the Free Tollboth Church, Edinburgh, where the minister was Rev Dr William King Tweedie.[28] As he held such a membership in a hearing church is strongly suggestive that he held to an evangelical theology and churchmanship that came to prominence in Scotland in the 1840’s. Ann Goodlet (nee Panton) who was to be the leading member of the Ladies Committee of DDI was also probably a member of this congregation and it is possible that she knew Pattison.[29]

The Scottish community of which Pattison was part was formed on the basis of a shared deafness and a common commitment to the Christian faith. This Christian influence would also be clearly seen in the DDI in Sydney with its religious services for ‘mute adults’ and then later, when a public institution, hearing clergy and committed church members and office bearers would be prominent in the formation and promotion of deaf education in NSW. This Christian connection would be strongly maintained into the twentieth century by its Superintendent Samuel Watson.

Pattison in NSW

Pattison left Scotland in late 1858 to come to Australia arriving sometime in early 1859 when he was 54.[30] Why would a single deaf man in his 50’s, well respected and settled in the deaf community in Edinburgh, leave his homeland and travel to the colony of NSW? Pattison never gave a reason for his decision but it may be that his home and family situation had changed and he came to NSW to be closer to his remaining family.

Prior to coming to NSW Pattison was a coach painter and worked in the period 1839-1848 with his brother Alexander in their coach making company, Alexander Pattison and Co. During this time Thomas had also lived with his brother Alexander and wife Ann and children Thomas and Eliza.[31] After the failure of their coach making business Alexander and his young son Thomas came to the colony of NSW in 1849.[32] Alexander soon left the colony of NSW and headed to San Francisco[33] to be involved in the gold rush leaving his son Thomas with his brother, Robert Lorn Pattison who had been in the colony since 1837.[34] Sadly young Thomas was killed by a horse at his uncle Robert’s property at Morpeth in August 1849[35] and Alexander did not reach San Francisco as he died on board ship en route.[36] In 1858 the widowed Ann Pattison and her daughter Eliza joined their relatives Susan and Alexander Drysdale at the DDDI and Thomas Pattison left to come to NSW.

By the time of Thomas’ arrival his brother, Robert, who had also gone to San Francisco to seek his fortune had returned to NSW[37] but if Thomas he had hoped that his brother was in prosperous circumstances and able to assist him he would have been disappointed. Robert Pattison though unsuccessful in San Francisco in 1849 had been successful at the gold fields of Bendigo in 1852[38] but for a number of years prior to and after Thomas’ arrival Robert was in deep financial trouble. So significant were his financial troubles that a subscription list was circulated by friends to assist him in his plight.[39] Pattison, who was a ship’s captain, had entered with others the Hunter River trade in 1854 in opposition to the existing company but the venture was a failure.[40] The ‘Ben Bolt’ his ship was seized for debt, and Captain Pattison was in significant financial trouble. [41]

Pattison’s commencement of the DDI

After arriving in Australia sometime in early 1859 Thomas’ whereabouts and activities are unknown. At this time there was some agitation in the letters to the Editor of the Melbourne Argus by parents of deaf children seeking their education.[42] Fredrick Rose, an Englishman, who had been deaf since he was four, read the letters and offered to start a school.[43] In April 1859[44] he began to advertise this intention provided enough support could be assured and eventually eighteen months later in November 1860 he did begin a school. In NSW, Thomas Pattison by contrast simply commenced a school on October 22, 1860[45] just prior to the opening of the Melbourne school. He gave very little prior notice in the newspapers and thus by ‘opening three weeks ahead of the Victorian Institution became the site for the first school for the deaf in Australia.’[46] The Deaf and Dumb Institution was first conducted by him at 152 Liverpool Street, near South Head Road Sydney.[47] He also informed the public that a religious meeting of ‘Mute Adults’ would commence on Sunday the 28th with worship at 2pm and 6pm. The Institution opened on October 22 as planned, but by December Pattison needed to move the Institution to the corner of Castlereagh Street and Liverpool Street Sydney.[48] While this was initially a private work it did seek charitable support and by December 1860 was advertising for the financial support of the public through A.B. Johnstone, a deaf and dumb man, who acted collector of donations until replaced in October 1861.[49]

The sequence of events leading up to Pattison commencing a class for the education of the deaf and the subsequent formation of DDI is not altogether clear. But at its outset the private school and then the DDI seems to have been largely the work of Pattison with the assistance of the Lentz family and with the encouragement of the Minister and Wardens of St Andrews Temporary Cathedral. According to Pattison he founded the school for the Deaf and Dumb in Sydney (DDI) as a private institution with ‘my trusty friends Mr George Lentz and his daughters kindly assisting me.’[50] The Lentz daughters, who were hearing and who assisted as teachers, were Charlotte who began when she was only 15 and then later for a short period of time, Edith, who was 17 when she commenced teaching.[51] The Lentz family interest in the education of the deaf arose from their own family where three of the family were deaf.[52]

The Rev George King was also prominent in the history of the DDI as a public institution but Walter says that the part played by him in the foundation of the private institution prior to October 1861 is obscure. She points out that besides Pattison and Lentz there were ‘two others’ mentioned in its commencement as a private institution but that it is unknown who they were but one may have been King.[53] It would seem that one was King for he, in 1880, when reminiscing about the formation of the Institute explicitly says of the period October 1860-October 1861 that the school was under the ‘management of Mr Pattison … Mr Lentz acted as Treasurer, and Mr Edwin Wilson as secretary, and myself as president.’[54] It would appear, however, that it was Frederick Robinson a Warden of St Andrews who first alerted King and his fellow wardens to the issue of the education of the deaf for it is said of Frederick Robinson that at St Andrews he met George Lentz

 who had several deaf and dumb children, and whose constant grievance was that there was not any institution for the instruction of deaf mutes. Mr Robinson was at once alive to the importance of having such an institution, and he brought the matter under the notice of his brother churchwardens, and the Rev George King.[55]

Having alerted the leadership of St Andrews to the issue Robinson and Henry Selby ‘canvassed the city to discover the number of those so afflicted’.[56] It may well be that the juxtaposition of these two notices in the Sydney Morning Herald of October 20, 1860 (opposite), one announcing the commencement of a Deaf and Dumb Institution and the other the commencement of a defence fund for George King by the Churchwardens was not accidental as they probably emanated from the same source. How Pattison became involved is unclear but it would seem that he either knew the Lentz family, and/or attended St Andrews or came to notice through the survey of Robinson and Selby. However he entered the picture he was vital and central to the commencement of the work.

After the foundation of the school as a private institution in period October 1860 – October 1861 a move was made to turn it into a public institution. A group of ‘gentleman … initiated this undertaking in a more practical way’ and ‘they were the Rev George King MA[57], Mr H Selby, Mr E S Wilson, Mr G A F Lentz and Mr F R Robinson’.[58]  All were associated with St Andrews Temporary Cathedral, King as the minister, Selby and Robinson as Church Wardens and Lentz and Wilson as members. King became the chairman of the DDI, Selby the treasurer, Wilson the secretary and Lentz and Robinson committee members. The DDI soon moved to new premises in Dungate House at 368 Castlereagh Street [59] but the Institute would soon strike trouble and Pattison would within 6 years of its commencement be dismissed and the Institute would have an unstable history for some time until the appointment of Samuel Watson in 1872.

Pattison’s Dispute at DDI

Pattison was to describe his parting from the DDI as due to a ‘misunderstanding’[60]  but the DDI Committee did not see it that way and there had been difficulties in relationships between the staff and the committee early in the life of the DDI. Charlotte Lentz, who though hearing was acquainted with deaf communication as she had deaf siblings, had been appointed assistant teacher to Pattison in October 1861.[61] In December 1862 Lentz had her salary increased but she was not content with the level of payment for her services[62] and by May 1863 had resigned her position to be married to Edwin Wilson the secretary of the DDI,[63] and she was replaced by her sister Edith Lentz.[64]

Mrs Cole was the Matron and there was clearly tension over the role and authority of the Matron and that of the teachers.  An anonymous letter of complaint about the Matron was received by the Ladies Visiting Committee. Children were questioned by the DDI Committee with the Misses Thompson[65] present to interpret. The result of the interview was that the children were instructed ‘to obey Matron in everything’. It would appear that Lentz and Pattison were also present during this interview and informed the Committee that as a result ‘It was their intention to leave the school in consequence of feeling themselves degraded in the eyes of the Matron, by the manner in which the examination of the children had been carried on’.[66]

The following day Lentz and Pattison did not come the school. Pattison was later interviewed by the committee as to his absence and he indicated to them that he was ‘not settled without having Miss Lentz’ but he agreed to return to teaching the next day with or without Miss Lentz. He also indicated that if Miss Lentz decided not to return permanently he would open another school with the assistance of his friends, presumably a reference to the Lentz family. Edith Lentz was required to apologise to the Committee for her conduct and it was said that ‘the matter dropped’. Perhaps this was a statement of hope rather than fact for neither Lentz nor Pattison were satisfied. Pattison was clearly unhappy with the work and role of Mrs Cole the Matron and he was equally convinced of his need of the assistance of Miss Lentz.[67]

Into this tense situation Lentz raised complaints about the non-payment of her salary and she was in turn accused of telling the children that Ellis Robinson, the newly appointed secretary of the committee, was a bad person. On the point of being dismissed, Lentz resigned and the committee resolved not to allow the Lentz family to have anything further to do with DDI.[68] Pattison had previously indicated to the committee that he was soon to marry[69] and proposed, probably in part in order to rid himself of difficult relationship with Mrs Cole, that the soon to be Mrs Pattison be made the Matron.[70] The Committee, who had their own issues with Mrs Cole saw this as a solution to its problems and dismissed Mrs Cole and appointed Mrs Pattison and agreed to have Thomas as the sole teacher. Thus Mr and Mrs Pattison were to have, from this point on, sole charge of the management of the DDI.[71]

It soon became apparent that Mrs Pattison was a poor manager of the domestic side of the DDI and after six months of frequent complaint by the Ladies Visiting Committee Mrs Pattison was directly asked if, in the light of her experience, she ‘was competent to manage the institution’. The committee was not happy and it was Mrs Pattison who was the focus of their complaint.[72] Later that year the Pattisons were relieved of the positions of Master and Matron and Thomas was engaged as a teacher on a 9am-4pm basis.[73] Matters seemed now, to the male governing Committee, to have settled down until about a year later a letter was received by the Committee from the Ladies Visiting Committee with various complaints about Mr Pattison. The matters were considered by the Committee beyond remediation for at the same meeting, after reading the letter, they resolved that an ‘advertisement be inserted in the daily papers for a competent teacher for the D & D Institution’ [74] and Pattison’s services were no longer required. There is no record of the content of the letter but the use of the word ‘competent’ in the advertisement may have been an implied criticism of Pattison as a teacher.

Later that year a newspaper article on the DDI said that Pattison’s departure was due ‘chiefly, if not wholly, the result only, of some personal disagreements’.[75] It expressed the view that in order to avoid such problems the ‘head of such an establishment should be a person who can both hear and speak’. In support of this view it pointed to the arrangement in Melbourne where such problems did not arise.  Here Mr Rose, the superintendent of the Victorian institute and a deaf mute, was assisted by those who had all their faculties and therefore such problems did not arise. It also suggested that when Pattison had the assistance of Charlotte Lentz such problems did not arise. [76] This argument lacked logic and a factual basis. Logically the same model as Melbourne would have given a deaf person as superintendent with hearing assistants and not vice versa as the article suggested. Factually it was inaccurate for when Pattison had the assistance of Lentz there were still some difficulties. The Ladies Committee, with Ann Goodlet as secretary seems to have found the work of Mrs Pattison and later that of Thomas to be unsatisfactory. Perhaps the interests of the Institute would have been better served had the Ladies Committee and the main Committee been able to obtain the services of a member who could communicate with Thomas Pattison in a more direct manner.

Pattison’s Life after the DDI

After Pattison left the DDI he and his wife sought to start a new school for the deaf in Sydney. He advertised for four boarders at fees of £25 per annum.[77] Charlotte Lentz now Mrs Wilson, who was the first of the Lentz sisters to assist Pattison, also began to advertise that she was available to educate the deaf and dumb. She did so she said ‘at the solicitation of several influential families’ and informed the public that ‘from her great experience in the management of the deaf and dumb, parents may rely on their children receiving every care and attention.’[78] That Charlotte, whose husband Edwin Sydney Wilson was a member of the DDI from 1861-1866 and Secretary from 1861-1863, should so advertise was clearly a vote of no confidence in the DDI.[79] The tension in the organisation was picked up in a newspaper report in October of that year saying that ‘the committee appears to have become disorganised partly owing to some disagreements… and partly because of some of the gentlemen are unable, for various reasons, to attend’.[80] It is not known how long Wilson and Pattison persevered with their own schools for the deaf and dumb but they do not appear to have been a success.

Walter says that Pattison then went to New Zealand for six months where he returned to his trade as a coach painter.  He then proceeded to Victoria where he opened a shop and worked again for a coach builder until 1886. He was, says Walter, an inmate of the Benevolent Asylum for four years, then for the remaining years of his life he was financially supported by members of his family and looked after by deaf friends.[81] Unfortunately Walter does not indicate her source for this outline of Thomas’ last 32 years of life.  Pattison and his school was no longer listed in the Sands Directory for Sydney after 1867 and it would appear that it is then that he left the state after being in New South Wales for eight years.[82] He did make a new life in Victoria[83] but his wife, Martha probably went to live with her daughter in Grafton. It would seem that when Thomas no longer had a steady income Martha and he parted for though Thomas was to be in Victoria for another 30 years Martha did not join him there.[84] Things did not go smoothly for Thomas in Melbourne for in 1873 he wrote from Melbourne to the Chief Secretary in NSW seeking a pension for his work in setting up the DDI. He claimed that he could not get any work as a coach painter and that he was indigent. Strangely he had first written to the Newcastle Town Council to request a pension and was referred by it to the NSW government.[85] Perhaps his writing to the Newcastle Town Council was in the mistaken belief that his brother Robert who was employed by the council in a minor role and was well respected in the community would be able to exert some influence. [86] The Council advised him to write to the Chief Secretary who, on receipt of the letter, refused his request.[87]

While it would seem that the deaf community did care for him it is difficult to ascertain if his family really did financially support him. Robert Pattison, his only relative in Australia died in 1877 and was himself in considerable financial difficulty in the last years of his life but perhaps Robert’s sons and Thomas’ nephews, Robert and Henry assisted him. Thomas’ wife died in 1881 in Grafton, NSW at the home of her daughter. Her death notice in the newspaper recorded that she was the relict of Lieutenant J R Moore but made no mention of her marriage to Thomas, who was still alive. This seems, therefore, to indicate that there was not a close relationship between Thomas and his wife’s family. When Thomas died his death notice said that he died at the age of 94 and 3 months which was precise and correct but seems to be one of the few facts that his Melbourne host, David Piper, who was himself deaf knew about him.[88] Though Thomas had previously been married his wife’s name and his family connections seem to have been unknown to his Melbourne friends and his death certificate sadly has in a number of its columns the repetitious word ‘unknown’.[89] Pattison died in Melbourne on April 6, 1899.[90]

To Thomas Pattison should go the credit as the one who, with the assistance of George Lentz an interested parent of children who were deaf and the support of the Wardens of St Andrews, took the initiative to open a school for children who were deaf. Thereby he began the process that would result in an organisation, to be later known as the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, which is dedicated to empowering those with disabilities to lead fulfilling lives.

© Dr Paul F Cooper,  Christ College, June 2014


The appropriate way to cite this article is as follows:

Paul F Cooper. Thomas Pattison (1805-1899) Coach Painter and Founder of the Deaf and Dumb Institute, Sydney. Philanthropy and Philanthropists in Australian Colonial History, August 27, 2014. Available at https://phinaucohi.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/thomas-pattison-1805-1899/


Primary Sources

Newspapers

Australian Town and Country Journal, (Sydney, NSW)

Dundee Courier, (Dundee, Scotland)

Goulburn Herald, (Goulburn, NSW)

Illawarra Mercury, (Wollongong, NSW)

Launceston Examiner, (Launceston, Tas)

Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, (Maitland, NSW)

Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), (Sydney, NSW)

The Argus, (Melbourne, Vic)

The Empire, (Sydney, NSW)

The Leeds Mercury, (Leeds, England),

The Newcastle Chronicle, (Newcastle, NSW)

The Royal Cornwall Gazette, Falmouth Packet, and General Advertiser, (Truro, England),

The Telegraph, St Kilda, Prahran and South Yarra Guardian, (Melbourne, Vic)

Other

Alexander Blackwood, July 26, 1858, Certificates of Mr Thomas Pattison, [1/2223. Letter no. 73/5661] Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence, NSW State Records.

Alexander Drysdale, February 18, 1861, Certificates of Mr Thomas Pattison, [1/2223. Letter no. 73/5661] Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence, NSW State Records.

Beatrice Panton to Ann Panton, April 11, 1854. Panton Letters (unpublished) Edited Paul F Cooper [Ferguson Library; Presbyterian Church of Australia in the State of NSW]

Deaf and Dumb Institution Minutes.

Digby Everard (Ed), ‘Frederick R Robinson’, Australian Men of Mark 1889, Vol 2 Archive Books Australia CD Version, 218-222.

George Nicholson, Elder and Session Clerk, Free Tollbooth Church Edinburgh, February 14, 1861, Certificates of Mr Thomas Pattison. [1/2223. Letter no. 73/5661] Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence, NSW State Records.

J. C. Blackwell February 16, 1861, Certificates of Mr Thomas Pattison. [1/2223. Letter no. 73/5661] Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence, NSW State Records.

Joseph Turner, January 21, 1861, Certificates of Mr Thomas Pattison, [1/2223. Letter no. 73/5661] Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence, NSW State Records.

Scottish Census 1841, 1861 & 1871

Thomas Pattison to Chief Secretary New South Wales, July 9, 1873. [1/2223. Letter no. 73/5661] Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence, NSW State Records.

Victorian Register Births, Deaths and Marriages death certificate entry for Thomas Pattison dated April 6, 1899.

Secondary Sources

Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine No XVI July 1818 vol III, 426; Report of Institution for the Education of Deaf and Dumb Children 1827 (Edinburgh: Printed for Institution, by J. Richie, 1827); http://books.google.com.au/books?id=LF8EAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA128&dq=joseph+turner++deaf&hl=en&sa=X&ei=NhHvUszHEofIlAXsw4CIAg&ved=0CDUQ6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=joseph%20turner%20%20deaf&f=false [accessed online 3 February 2014].

Boyce, Anthony J and Pamela Bruce, Loyal and True, the life and times of Alexander Drysdale (1812-1880) (Winsford, Cheshire: Deafprint Winsford, 2011).

Cable, K.J.  and Hazel King, ‘King, George (1813–1899)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/king-george-3952/text6229, published in hardcopy 1974, [accessed online 20 March 2014].

Cooper, Paul F. George Augustus Frederick Lentz. (unpublished paper, 2014)

Cooper, Paul F. Sherrington Alexander Gilder. (unpublished paper, 2014)

Crickmore, Barbara Lee. An Historical Perspective on the Academic Education of Deaf Children in New South Wales 1860s-1990s (PhD, University of Newcastle, 2000), 34.

Goold, W. J. ‘Captain Robert Lorn Pattison’, The Voice of the North, October 10, 1930.

New Edinburgh Almanac and National Repository, 1857 and 1853.

Walter, Jean. The History of the New South Wales Schools for Deaf and for Blind Children. (1860-1960) unpublished paper [1961] Renwick Library RIDBC North Rocks NSW.

Woodford, Doreen E. Thomas Pattison, in Peter W Jackson and Raymond Lee, Deaf Lives, deaf people in history (Feltham: British Deaf History Society, 2001).

 Endnotes

[1] Paul F Cooper, Sherrington Alexander Gilder (unpublished paper) 2014.

[2] SMH, October 15, 1860.

[3] The current name of this organisation is the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) and this more appropriate name has evolved over time. The organisation in 1860 was called the Deaf and Dumb Institution and in 1869 it became the Deaf and Dumb and Blind Institution. In 1954 the Queen conferred the title Royal upon the Institution and the name was changed to The Royal New South Wales Institution for Deaf and Blind Children with the word ‘dumb’ being deleted.  In 1973 there was a further name change with “Institution” being replaced by “Institute” thus gaining its present name the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children. For the period of this study the organisation was called the Deaf and Dumb Institution and that terminology is used.

[4] Goulburn Herald, April 13, 1861; Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW) August 27, 1861.

[5] Perhaps the latter statement is the more reliable information as it appears in a document that Pattison himself was content to circulate. “It pleased providence to deprive Mr Pattison, while yet a child, of the organs of speech and hearing” J. C. Blackwell February 16, 1861, Certificates of Mr Thomas Pattison. (Sydney: Grocott, 1861).

[6] Anthony J Boyce and Pamela Bruce, Loyal and True, the life and times of Alexander Drysdale (1812-1880) (Winsford, Cheshire: Deafprint Winsford, 2011).

[7] It was Joseph Turner, who eight years Thomas’ senior, was appointed as an assistant master at the EDDI in 1818 and remained so at least until 1829. Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine No XVI July 1818 vol III, 426; Report of Institution for the Education of Deaf and Dumb Children 1827 (Edinburgh: Printed for Institution, by J. Richie, 1827); Joseph Turner, Robert Gould and James Bain are listed as the Assistant Teachers in 1827-29. http://books.google.com.au/books?id=LF8EAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA128&dq=joseph+turner++deaf&hl=en&sa=X&ei=NhHvUszHEofIlAXsw4CIAg&ved=0CDUQ6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=joseph%20turner%20%20deaf&f=false [accessed 3/2/2014] Joseph Turner went to America and the 1851

Scottish Census has Joseph and his wife Jane running a deaf school in their home in Dumfries and shows children born in America from 1831 – 1841 with a child born in Dumfries in 1848.

[8] SMH, October 21, 1862.

[9] Doreen E Woodford, Thomas Pattison, 143-144 in Peter W Jackson and Raymond Lee, Deaf Lives, deaf people in history (Feltham: British Deaf History Society, 2001). This work does give a slightly different time frame but that given by Walter is more likely to be correct. Regretfully the Woodford article does not indicate its sources.

[10] This information is from ‘The Edinburgh Institution’s written book of admission and dismissal’, Jean Walter, The History of the New South Wales Schools for Deaf and for Blind Children. (1860-1960) unpublished paper [1961] Renwick Library RIDBC North Rocks NSW, 9.

[11] SMH, October 15, 1860.

[12] SMH, July 17, 1866.

[13] New Edinburgh Almanac and National Repository, 1853.

[14] Alexander Blackwood, July 26, 1858, Certificates of Mr Thomas Pattison says 23 years and Alexander Drysdale, July 26, 1858, Certificates of Mr Thomas Pattison says 22 years. Also see entries in the New Edinburgh Almanac and National Repository, 1857 and 1853.

[15] Joseph Turner, January 21, 1861, Certificates of Mr Thomas Pattison.

[16] Walter, The History of the New South Wales Schools for Deaf and for Blind Children, 10.

[17] 1841 Scottish Census shows them living at 21 Norton Place, South Leith. By 1851 Thomas had moved to Queens Place, Greenside.

[18] Anthony J Boyce and Pamela Bruce, Loyal and True, 65.

[19] The 1861 & 1871 Scottish Census and the Death Certificate of Ann Pattison (nee Leckie) shows Ann, the wife of Alexander Pattison and Eliza’s mother, as having the same address as the DDDI in the years of 1861, 1871 and 1878. Anthony J Boyce and Pamela Bruce, Loyal and True, the life and times of Alexander Drysdale (1812-1880), 89.

[20] Eliza’ mother also lived at the DDDI but her role is unknown. The 1861 & 1871 Scottish Census and the Death Certificate of Ann Pattison (nee Leckie) shows Ann, the wife of Alexander Pattison and Eliza’s mother, as having the same address as the DDDI in the years of 1861, 1871 and 1878.

[21] The relationship is a little uncertain but it would seem that Susan Drysdale nee Drummond and Ann Pattison nee Leckie were half-sisters, as their mother Janet MacLachlan was married first to John Leckie and then to Duncan Drysdale. Susan Drysdale’s mother is listed as Janet in both the 1841 Scottish Census and in her marriage to Duncan Drummond on May 30, 1818 [OPR Marriages 36/00 0020 0157 Callander]. However, on Susan Drummond’s death certificate her mother is referred to not as Janet but as Catherine MacLachlan. This information, supplied by Susan’s sister in law, is probably in error as there are clear indications the informant was not well informed on Susan’s family details. The death certificate does not contain Susan’s father’s given name and has his profession listed incorrectly as a schoolmaster whereas in the 1841 Census and on Susan’s marriage notice he is listed at a merchant. An alternative construction of the relationship which takes Susan Drummond’s death certificate at face value is supplied by Anthony J Boyce and Pamela Bruce, Loyal and True, the life and times of Alexander Drysdale (1812-1880), 99. This construction does not, however, make Eliza Pattison (Elizabeth Lorn Pattison) Susan Drysdale’s niece as claimed but a second cousin. Eliza is only Susan’s niece if the construction suggested by this paper is correct.

[22] The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, England), October 23, 1858; The Royal Cornwall Gazette, Falmouth Packet, and General Advertiser (Truro, England), November 5, 1858. Another farewell was given to him at Dundee, Dundee Courier, September 15, 1858 in Boyce and Bruce, Loyal and True, 64.

[23] Dr J Kitto, a medical doctor, was deaf and wrote a number of works on biblical literature; the ‘Pictorial Bible’, ‘History of Palestine’ and ‘An Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature’. Launceston Examiner, (TAS) April 26, 1851.

[24] The Royal Cornwall Gazette, Falmouth Packet, and General Advertiser (Truro, England), November 5, 1858.

[25] Alexander Blackwood, July 26, 1858, Certificates of Mr Thomas Pattison. See also the list of church members in Boyce and Bruce, Loyal and True, 27.

[26] Dundee Courier, September 15, 1858 in Boyce and Bruce, Loyal and True, 64. Alexander Drysdale, February 18, 1861, Certificates of Mr Thomas Pattison.

[27] The Empire, December 10, 1860.

[28] George Nicholson, Elder and Session Clerk, Free Tollbooth Church Edinburgh, February 14, 1861, Certificates of Mr Thomas Pattison. It was in 1853 that the church moved premises and Thomas discontinued his membership.

[29] Beatrice Panton to Ann Panton, April 11, 1854.

[30] The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, England), October 23, 1858; The Royal Cornwall Gazette, Falmouth Packet, and General Advertiser (Truro, England), November 5, 1858.

[31] 1841 Scottish Census – South Leith 21 Norton Place.

[32] They arrived on the Quintin Leitch on May 12, 1849. SMH, May 14, 1849.

[33] Pattison left on the Spec July 27, 1849.

[34] Australian Town and Country Journal, October 20, 1877.

[35] The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, August 22, 1849. Robert Lorn Pattison had lived in NSW since 1837.

[36] Alexander died on board on November 7, 1849 of a second paralytic stroke having been ill since leaving Sydney. Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, March 2, 1850.

[37] Possibly also a cousin, Michael Carmichael, had also come to live in NSW. Australian Town and Country Journal, October 20, 1877.

[38] W. J. Goold, ‘Captain Robert Lorn Pattison’, The Voice of the North, October 10, 1930.

[39] The Empire, March 13, 1862.

[40] SMH, June 24, 1854.

[41] SMH, December 21, 1855 there was claim against Pattison for £371 19s 2d. He was eventually proven to have debts of £476 and his assets were sold to cover them. The Empire, March 1, 1856.

[42] The Argus, February 14, 1859; February 16, 1859;

[43] The Argus, February 24, 1859.

[44] The Argus, April 28, 1859.

[45] SMH, October 15, 1860.

[46] Barbara Lee Crickmore, An Historical Perspective on the Academic Education of Deaf Children in New South Wales 1860s-1990s (PhD, University of Newcastle, 2000), 34.

[47] SMH, October 15, 1860.

[48] The Empire, December 10, 1860. No reason was given for the move.

[49] The Empire, December 4, 1860; SMH, April 9, 1862.

[50] Thomas Pattison to Chief Secretary New South Wales, July 9, 1873 [1/2223. Letter no. 73/5661] Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence, NSW State Records.

[51] Charlotte Margaret Lentz (1845-1921) see Charlotte Margaret Wilson, Death Certificate NSW Births Deaths and Marriages and Edith Alice Lentz (1846-1904).

[52] See Paul F Cooper, George Augustus Frederick Lentz (unpublished, 2014) for further detail concerning the Lentz family.

[53] Jean Walter, The History of the New South Wales Schools for Deaf and for Blind Children, 11.

[54] SMH, October 19, 1880

[55] Everard Digby (Ed), Frederick R Robinson, Australian Men of Mark 1889, Vol 2 Archive Books Australia CD Version, 220.

[56] Frederick R Robinson, Australian Men of Mark 1889, 222.

[57] K. J. Cable and Hazel King, ‘King, George (1813–1899)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/king-george-3952/text6229, published in hardcopy 1974, accessed online 20 March 2014.

[58] SMH, October 22, 1866. F.R. Robinson’s son Ellis joined the IDD Committee in 1863 and was its secretary from 1863 – 1904.

[59] SMH, Nov 13, 1861.

[60] Thomas Pattison to Chief Secretary New South Wales, July 9, 1873

[61] DDI Minutes, October 21, 1861.

[62] DDI Minutes, December 2, 1862.

[63] They were married by the Rev. George King on May 27, 1863. SMH, June 3, 1863.

[64] DDI Minutes, May 4, 1863.

[65] Their identity is uncertain but they may well be the hearing daughters of Mr and Mrs William Thompson who brought Sherrington Alexander Gilder to the colony. See Paul F Cooper, Sherrington Alexander Gilder (unpublished paper) 2014.

[66] DDI Minutes, September 14, 1863.

[67] DDI Minutes, September 15, 1863.

[68] DDI Minutes, December 14, 1863.

[69] He married Martha Moore (nee Allen) 1806-1881, her four children were all adults by the time of her marriage to Thomas November 24, 1863. SMH, December 21, 1863. She had been widowed for 6 years as her husband died in 1857.  SMH, October 13, 1857

[70] DDI Minutes, November 5, 1863.

[71] DDI Minutes, December 14, 1863.

[72] DDI Minutes, June 14, 1863.

[73] DDI Minutes, October 4, 1864.

[74] DDI Minutes, February 6, 1866.

[75] SMH, October 29, 1866.

[76] SMH, October 29, 1866.

[77] Maitland Mercury and Hunter River Advertiser, July 19, 1866.

[78] SMH, February 28, 1866.

[79] Wilson had resigned from the DDI in February 1866. DDI Minutes, February 8, 1866.

[80] SMH, October 26, 1866.

[81] Jean Walter, The History of the New South Wales Schools for Deaf and for Blind Children, 11. Walter’s source seems to be a ‘hand written biography’ of Pattison’s life which was held by the RIDBC (Walter page 10 footnote 56 and page 12). A search has failed to find the document.

[82] This is the period of time that he lived in NSW that is  specified on his death certificate. Victorian Register Births, Deaths and Marriages death certificate entry for Thomas Pattison dated April 6, 1899.

[83] It is uncertain how long Thomas was in Victoria. His death certificate says 40 years but his cannot be correct for that is length of time he was in Australia. Taking from this figure the 8 years he was in NSW this gives a period some 32 years for his residence in Victoria. This figure fits well with his arrival in Australia in 1859 and death in 1899. Victorian Register Births, Deaths and Marriages death certificate entry for Thomas Pattison dated April 6, 1899.

[84] Martha Pattison Death Certificate NSW Birth, Deaths and Marriages 25 November 1881.

[85] Thomas Pattison to Chief Secretary New South Wales, July 9, 1873.

[86] Robert Lorn Pattison was for seven years custodian of the Newcastle Court-house probably from about 1864-1871. After that he was Assistant Clerk of the Newcastle Markets until December 31, 1875. The Newcastle Chronicle, December 7, 1875. Whilst in the last-named capacity he, on the June 16, 1875 met with a serious accident, in consequence of being knocked down by the engine of the A. A. Company, at the Newcastle Darby-street crossing. He remained infirm as a result of that accident until the day of his death on October 10, 1877.  Australian Town and Country Journal, October 20, 1877.

[87] Thomas Pattison to Chief Secretary New South Wales, July 9, 1873.

[88] The Telegraph, St Kilda, Prahran and South Yarra Guardian, December 21, 1878.

[89] Victorian Register Births, Deaths and Marriages death certificate entry for Thomas Pattison dated April 6, 1899.

[90] The Argus, April 7, 1899.

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3 Comments

  1. […] Thomas Pattison[1] is rightly credited with commencing a work that was to become the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC).[2] George Augustus Frederick Lentz and his family, however, assisted Pattison in starting this work and their contribution, though of short duration, was significant. George was born to John and Elizabeth Lentz in London in 1797[3] and he became a musical instrument maker, a harpist and also played in a band.[4] He kept up his musical activities all of his life and was thought by his family to have been a good musician having received a gold watch from King George IV for ‘his performances before him’.[5] From George’s history, if he had a gold watch from his time in England, he most likely stole it for George was a thief and a conman. […]

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  2. […] Thomas Pattison, with the support of the Lentz family and the support and encouragement of the minster and wardens […]

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  3. […] Watson did not, however, take over the DDBI from its deaf founder Thomas Pattison but followed some five years after Pattison was discharged in 1866. Sherrington A. Gilder, a hearing […]

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