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John Griffiths (1831–1909)

Mr. John Griffiths, a well-known educational identity in the early days of South Australia, died on Wednesday at his residence, Hackney road, in the seventy-ninth year of his age. Born in North Wales, his parents went out to Cuba as planters during his infancy. At the time of the emancipation of slaves the servants in their plantation declined to take their freedom, preferring to serve their old master. The family was wellnigh exterminated in different Cuban revolutionary outbreaks. Mr. John Griffiths chose a naval career. Educated in the first instance at the West Point Naval College, United States, he afterwards joined the British Navy, and visited many ports in various parts of the world, as well as every one of the West Indian Islands. He came to South Australia nearly 60 years ago, and married Miss Phoebe Buck, a daughter of one of the pioneers, who had arrived in South Australia by the Rapid in 1836. Mr. Griffiths settled first at the Semaphore, and conducted a private school in the old Wesleyan Hall, which has been superseded by Messrs. W. & T. Rhodes's warehouse at Port Adelaide. He was an early master under the Education Department, and was in charge of the Norwood School, on the Parade, where the Baptist Sunday School now stands. Afterward he had a State school in Franklin street, then went to Norton's Summit School, and wound up his educational career, with 19 years in charge of the Walkerville School. For a number of years since his retirement the deceased gentleman has had the curatorship of the exhibitions of the South Australian Society of Arts. It was while engaged in this duty, about a month, ago that the paralytic seizure occurred which resulted in his death. Mr. Griffiths has left a widow, three sons—Messrs. Llewellyn, John, and Ainslie Griffiths—and two daughters—Mrs. Edward Willett, of Warrnambool (Victoria), and Mrs. Wallace Baker, of Hackney.

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Citation details

'Griffiths, John (1831–1909)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 2 March 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


11 March, 1831
Welshpool, Powys, Wales


9 June, 1909 (aged 78)
Hackney, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

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