This new acquisition contains 55 letters sent to Reginald Heber Roe in Brisbane by his family and friends in England and South Africa.
Reginald Heber Roe (1850-1926) arrived in Brisbane as a young man, in 1876, to take the position of headmaster of Brisbane Grammar School. The school flourished under his leadership, producing graduates who became influential in the life of Queensland, such as J. D. Story, Brigadier-General Lachlan Wilson and many others.
In 1909 Roe became inspector-general of schools, retiring in 1919. In 1911 he became vice chancellor of the University of Queensland.
In 1879 Reginald Roe married Annie Maud Whish, daughter of Claudius Buchanan Whish. They had six children—four sons and two daughters: Mollie, Reginald Claude, William, Arthur Stanley, Toby (E. H. Roe) and Madge.
Most of the letters in this collection were written in 1924. Roe had planned a visit to England in 1925, so almost every letter has references to arrangements for the planned journey. Roe’s sister Jennie, sadly, did not get to see her brother again—she died in November 1924.
Sir Charles Arthur Roe (1842-1926), Reginald Roe’s older brother.
Sir Charles was Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court from 1895-1898. He lived at 1 Holywell, Oxford.
Charles writes about the approaching visit of their sister Jennie’s family from South Africa; boat races at Oxford; the sudden illness and death of A. L. Smith, Master of Balliol College; his niece Mollie’s visit and the illness of their sister Jennie [Harriet J. (Roe) Mullins].
William Farrer, Vicar of Bisham, Bisham Vicarage, Marlow, England (his letters date to 1916/17).
Balliol College Register, p.104, gives information about Farrer, Roe’s friend at Oxford: William Farrer was born in 1850 (the same year as Roe). He rowed 57 races for his college; was ordained in 1874 and became Vicar of Bisham in 1900. His hobbies were rowing and roses.
Farrer writes about his son Harold and about the war; his and Roe’s former acquintances from Oxford and about his rowing trips.
Edward Madgwick Roe (1837-1925), Roe’s older brother.
Edward writes about the war, the air raids over London and about his children Edward, Maud and Mabel.
Harriet Jane (Jennie) Mullins (1845-1924), Roe’s sister.
Jennie lived in Grahamstown, South Africa, having gone there as a missionary with her husband Robert J. Mullins, soon after their wedding in 1862.
Jennie writes about her family and about Roe’s planned visit to South Africa. Her last letter was dated 25 October 1924, several weeks before her death.
Sir Francis Anderson, ‘The Haven’, Hunters Hill, New South Wales.
Sir Francis Anderson was the inaugural professor of philosophy at Sydney University. Anderson writes about gardening, his retirement and about the sale of his house at Pittwater.
Morag Roe, ‘Meadow House’, Bury Old Road, Rochdale, England. Morag was the wife of Roe’s son Claude (Reginald Claude Roe). Morag writes about her daughter’s education.
William Roe (‘Willie’) (C. W. Roe), Roe’s son. Willie writes about his sister Mollie’s trip to England and about his attempts to recover a debt.
Richard B. Howard, Fiji.
Richard B. Howard was the author of the novella ‘Looloo: a story of overlanding in the sixties’ (1923). Howard writes about his family, Queensland politics and the Lamond family.
Reginald Claude Roe, Roe’s son, ‘Meadow House’, Bury Old Road, Rochdale, England. Claude, according to his brother A. Stanley Roe, was a ‘bright scholar. He won a Government University Scholarship, went to Oxford, won a Mathematical Scholarship at Balliol, and eventually joined a big Flannel firm in the north of England and ended his days there’ (A. Stanley Roe (1964), p. 15). Claude writes about Mollie’s visit to England in 1924; problems with his health; a bycicle trip with his relatives from South Africa (the Mullins family) and about his brother Toby (E. H. Roe).
Mollie Roe, Roe’s eldest child. Mollie, her brother A. Stanley Roe writes, was very intelligent, talented and independent (A. Stanley Roe (1964), p. 15). Her letters are particularly engaging. She writes about visiting her relatives in England, walks in the English countryside and about interesting birds that she and her brother Claude have seen.
Harry R. Reichel (Sir Henry Rudolf Reichel (1856-1931), a founder of the University of Wales. Reichel writes about politics, changes in the appearance of London, especially Regent Street, and about the death of A. L. Smith, Master of Balliol College.
Reginald Cuthbert Mullins (1873-1938), Jennie’s son, Roe’s nephew, ‘The Grotto’, Grahamstown, South Africa.
Cuthbert writes about his family; his mother’s illness and, in a letter dated 14 November, about her final moments.
‘Roe, Reginald Heber (1850-1926)’, by E. Clarke, Australian Dictionary of Biography http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/roe-reginald-heber-8253
From Balliol College to Brisbane Grammar: Reginald Roe, Headmaster B. G. S. 1876-1909, by Joan Priest (1993)
The Days are Long but the Years are Short, by A. Stanley Roe (1964)
‘Charles Arthur Roe’, by Mike Davies, WikiTree http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Roe-799
Balliol College Register, p. 104.
‘Edward Madgwick Roe’, by Mike Davies, WikiTree http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Roe-798
‘Jennie (Roe) Mullins’, by Mike Davies, WikiTree http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Roe-795
‘Anderson, Sir Francis (1858–1941)’, by W. M. O’Neil, Australian Dictionary of Biography http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/anderson-sir-francis-5015
‘R. B. Howard’, Austlit http://www.austlit.edu.au/austlit/page/A113048
Reichel, Sir Harry (Henry Rudolf) (1856 – 1931), Dictionary of Welsh Biography http://wbo.llgc.org.uk/en/s-REIC-HAR-1856.html
‘Reginald Cuthbert (Doc) Mullins’, by Mike Davies, WikiTree http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Mullins-1335
Veronika Farley – Librarian, John Oxley Library