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Ernest Ewart Unwin (1881–1944)

The death occurred suddenly at Hobart yesterday of Mr Ernest Ewart Unwin, headmaster of the Friends' School and a well-known figure in public life. Born at Folkestone, Kent, Mr Unwin was aged 63 years.

During his 21 years' residence in Tasmania, Mr Unwin was closely identified with the educational, cultural, and religious life of the community. He was educated at the Friends' School, Saffron Walden, England, and the University of Leeds, where he obtained an open senior scholarship and the degrees of BSc and MSc. His teaching experience in England included four years on the biological staff of the University of Leeds, eight years at two large Friends' schools in Yorkshire, and 11 years as house master at the Friends' Public School at Leighton Park, Reading. He was the author of three books, and a large number of pamphlets and articles, mainly educational and biological. Several of his papers were published by the Linnean and Entomological Societies of London.

In 1923 he was invited by the governors of the Friends' School, Hobart, to become headmaster. Under his guidance the school made considerable progress and a big scheme for building additions and alterations was undertaken.

Mr Unwin was a member of the Rotary Club and a past president, a former member of the University Council, president of the State Council of Churches in 1928 and 1935, a past president of the Free Kindergarten Association, a member of the council of the Royal Society and a former vice president, and Area Commissioner of Toc H for Tasmania. He was vice-patron of the Art Society and a member of the council since 1939, as well as a successful exhibitor for many years in water colours. He was one of the founders of the Hobart Repertory Theatre Society and a member of the original committee, and for the past two years was vice-president and chairman of the executive committee.

He had been president of the Tasmanian section of the New Education Fellowship since its inception in 1937, and a meeting of the organisation at which he was to have presided last night was postponed as a mark of respect. Mr Unwin was also an elder of the Society of Friends, a trustee of the Tasmanian Museum and Botanical Gardens, and a member of the Tutors' Advisory Committee of the WEA.

Mr Unwin married in 1910 Miss Ursula Thorp, who survives him. There is one son. Mr Paul Unwin, an officer of the Forestry Dept., stationed in Launceston, and a daughter Mrs James Buchanan, who was recently married in England.

At the Hobart Workers' Educational Association class last night Major Couche, the president, referred to the death of Mr Unwin as a severe loss to the organisation.

Cremation will take place tomorrow morning.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Unwin, Ernest Ewart (1881–1944)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


13 July, 1881
Folkestone, Kent, England


20 September, 1944 (aged 63)
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Cultural Heritage

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Religious Influence

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