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On the Shoulders of Giants: Henry Carmichael with Dr Lesley


Thu 19 Mar 2020, 6:00pm–7:30pm

Where: Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Central & CBD, New South Wales

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • SMSA and Royal Society Members: $15.00
  • Guests and General Entry: $20.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Listed by: adminwfy

"On the Shoulders of Giants" surveys the history of the two oldest Learned Societies in NSW, the Royal Society of New South Wales and the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, broadly covering each institution's contribution to learning and adult education in the colony and significant figures in both organisations whose legacy 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 will explore how Carmichael actualised these ideas at the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, the Normal Institution and the Porphyry Lyceum. Carmichael's 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. Sadly, on his death in 1862 the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts merely noted, "The committee have heard with regret of the death of Rev. H. Carmichael."

It is time to reappraise the work of this early educational thinker whose ideas remain relevant today.