John Gerard Anderson

John Gerard Anderson

Name: John Gerard Anderson

Epoch: Late 19th Century (the \'Long Nineteenth Century\')

Grouping Field: Humanities (Ideas Formatted as Ideas) and Social Science (Models)

Location Grouping: Individual\'s Work Location

Map Coordinates: 27°28\'18.9\"S 153°01\'25.0\"E

Years At Location: 1878-1904

One Historical Setting: Mr. John Gerard Anderson, Department of Public Instruction, Treasury Building, Brisbane City (1878)

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Appointed to the Board of General Education in 1862, John Anderson became head of the Department of Public Instruction in 1878-1904. He was also a member of the 1891 royal commission for the establishment of a university for Queensland.

Impact On Brisbane Society

John Anderson, in the establishment of the Department of Public Instruction, was said to be cautious, conservative and autocratic. His style of leadership and policies led to the department being ‘arbitrary, capricious, and often unfeeling manner’, according to the report of the royal commission on the civil service in 1887. The Education Act of 1875 was a radical departure from the former ‘religious’ heuristics, conceived as ‘secular’, a directly-organised education system from the state. In its ‘presentism’, no one really understood the radical departure except as a replacement for the failings in the old model. In such cases, the tendency of the leadership, and the society, will fall back on familiar patterns, unable to readjust to new problems.


Rupert Goodman, ‘Anderson, John Gerard (1836–1911)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1969, accessed online 29 December 2019.

Watson, Tom; Logan, Greg. (ed.) Soldiers of the service: Some Early Queensland Educators and their Schools, History of Queensland Education Society, AEBIS Publishing, Brisbane Qld, 1992.

Image Citation

John G. Anderson []