Fellows of Senate

Professor Thomas John Butler

An early graduate of the University of Sydney (BA 1876), Professor Thomas John Butler was a Fellow of Senate of the University from 1888 to 1913.


BA Sydney
Fellow of Senate 1888-1913

His early days

Thomas John Butler was born on 4 June 1857 at Windsor, New South Wales, second son of Patrick Butler, draper, and his wife Honorah, née Ryan. He was educated at the local Roman Catholic school and at Lyndhurst College, Glebe, in 1869-73 under Rev Norbert Quirk.

His student days at the University of Sydney

In 1873 he won a scholarship to the University of Sydney. At St John's College 1874-75, he won the Lithgow, (Daniel) Cooper and Deas Thomson scholarships and graduated BA in 1876 with first-class honours and prizes in classics and natural science and the gold medal in each.

His career

In 1880 he was appointed lecturer in classics at the University of Sydney, a position he held until 1891 when he became Professor of Latin, the first graduate of the University to hold a chair. he held this position until 1920 when he retired due to ill health.

He was an able teacher and was active in university life: president of the union and of the dramatic society, and vice-president of the sports union and of the boat club.

He was a trustee of the Public Library of New South Wales from 1899, and was a prominent member of the Athenaeum Club, Sydney.

When he retired in 1920 he was given the title of Emeritus Professor.

He died at his home at Greenwich on 19 February 1937 aged 79.

Professor Thomas Butler in 1893

Professor Thomas Butler in 1893, photo from the 'Illustrated Sydney News', 23 September 1893.

Professor Butler c1910

Professor Butler c1910, photo G3_224_2107, University of Sydney Archives.

Professor Butler in 1920

Professor Butler in 1920 when he resigned as Professor of Latin, photo G3_224_0389, University of Sydney Archives.

His membership of Senate

Between 1888 and 1913 Butler was a Fellow of Senate. He was the first member of the teaching staff of the University elected by the graduates to a position on the governing body.

From the Australian Dictionary of Biography