History Behind Our Name Wentworth Institute
We would like to share the story of why we named our educational organization Wentworth Institute. We are named after a man who was an explorer, journalist, pioneer, writer, lawyer, innovator and notably an educator. William Charles Wentworth (1790–1872) became one of the most important figures in Australia’s history, and particularly in Sydney’s history.
William Charles Wentworth – ‘A lifetime of achievements’
William Charles Wentworth grew up in Sydney, and returned to England at the age of thirteen where he was educated. He arrived back in New South Wales at the age of twenty in 1815 the year that most people would declare was the beginning of his ‘lifetime of achievements.’
Wentworth was a landowner and sheep grazier who had an adventurous spirit and a desire to discover new pastures; this led him at the young age of twenty three in 1818 to undertake the first inland exploration in New South Wales, the crossing over the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. He completed the difficult but successful exploration alongside his fellow explorers Gregory Blaxland and William Lawson.
Wentworth returned to England in 1822 and studied at Cambridge University, studied law and became a Barrister. In the years 1824-1827 he became involved in politics and became a political activist. He wrote a book, which had a big impact on migration in Australia; it referred to the subject of immigration and ‘why people should come to live in Australia, rather than America’. In the same year he argued for freedom of the press and founded Australia’s first newspaper called ‘The Australian’. He remained co-owner of the Australian from 1824 until 1827.
William Charles Wentworth also played a major part in the Australian political system. He was 64 when he moved to have changes made to the Constitution Bill and this contributed to Australia having responsible government. He also argued for trial by jury and a formal process of appeal, which were laws that hadn’t previously existed in the Australian penal system.
William Charles Wentworth not only played a huge part in the political landscape of Australia but also became involved in Education. Between the years (1848-1854) he reformed education in New South Wales, he established primary school education in NSW, and most importantly he established the first Colonial University in the British Empire in 1848-49.
Wentworth had a full and adventurous life, he changed lives as well as influencing laws, politics and notably the educational systems in Australia. We hope our students can learn from William Charles Wentworth’s creativity, adventure, bravery, commitment to education and the pursuit of excellence. We hope that they will fully participate in the quality education that the Wentworth Institute has to offer.