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Tribute to
The Revd C O L Riley

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Naomi Lam Diocesan Archivist

We were recently donated a hand painted illuminated certificate of tribute to The Revd C O L Riley MA by St George’s College at UWA.

The tribute was from the organist and choir of St Mary’s Lancaster to Riley on his appointment as rector to the Parish of St Paul’s, Preston in 1885. The Revd C O L Riley went on to become Bishop of Perth from 1885 and then Archbishop of Perth from 1914.

Each of the heraldic crests which surround the certificate represent significant associations for Riley. These include the Parish of St Paul’s Preston, The Virgin Mary, Born of Lancaster,

St Paul the Apostle, Caius College Cambridge and the Diocese of Manchester.

The certificate was donated to St George’s College with a collection of memorabilia by the family of Archbishop Riley.

Archbishop Riley had long supported the establishment of a local University and College. In his 1909 charge to Synod, he stated ‘Every young man and young woman ought to have the chance of developing to the full, the mental faculties. This cannot be so until we have a university within reach’ (Proceedings in Thirteenth Synod, 1909).

He further states that ‘our clergy college does magnificent work, and has turned out good men, still it cannot do everything. With a university in our midst, we might after time, insist on all our Clergy having a degree. We cannot expect our Clergy to be leaders of thought, unless they have a liberal education, so as to be able to enter into the lives and understand the thoughts of other people’ (Proceedings in Thirteenth Synod, 1909).

With the establishment of the University of Western Australia, Archbishop Riley sought to build a residential college. His dream was realised with the bequest of Sir Winthrop Hackett which provided the Anglican Church with funds to purchase a site for the college and for the construction and furnishing (Willis-Johnson, Brian, 1981).

‘Practically ever since I began to agitate for the founding of a University, I looked forward to having a College, for I believe that a non-residential University only fulfills half its proper functions’ (Proceedings in Nineteenth Synod, 1926).

Archbishop Riley laid the foundation stone for the college chapel on 8 March 1928. He died 15 months later just prior to the completion of the St George’s College (Willis-Johnson, Brian, 1981).

Alexander, Fred (1957). Four Bishops and their See Perth Western Australia 1857-1957, University of Western Australia Press 1957 Diocese Perth Synod (1909).
Proceedings in Thirteenth Synod (Third Session) of the Diocese of Perth
. Anglican Diocese Perth Archives 2011/00039/009 Diocese Perth Synod (1926).
Proceedings in Nineteenth Synod (Second Session) of the Diocese of Perth
. Anglican Diocese Perth Archives, 2011/00039/027
Wills-Johnson, Brian.(1981). St George’s College The First Fifty years 1931-1981, The Georgians
Diocesan Archives The Revd C O L Riley Tribute Illuminated certificate
Published in Messenger May 2024

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