Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Hodge, Charles Reynolds (1857–1946)

by V. A. Edgeloe

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

Charles Reynolds Hodge (1857-1946), by Thelma Duryea

Charles Reynolds Hodge (1857-1946), by Thelma Duryea

State Library of South Australia, SLSA: B 7129

Charles Reynolds Hodge (1857-1946), university administrator, was born on 20 September 1857 at Geelong, Victoria, eldest son of Cornish parents Rev. Charles Hodge, Bible Christian minister, and his wife Martha, née Reynolds. In 1861 the family moved to South Australia where Charles senior joined the Congregational ministry. Hodge was educated at Encounter Bay Public School and Rev. James Hotham's private school, Port Elliott. On 24 March 1880 at Kent Town he married Emily Annie Daws. A decade of commercial employment, including work as a draper, preceded his appointment in August 1884 as clerk to the registrar of the University of Adelaide. During the absence of J. W. Tyas he acted as registrar briefly in 1889 and in 1891-92 with such competence that when the registrarship became vacant in February 1892 the council appointed him to the position without competition.

When Hodge became a university clerk in 1884 the law course was in its second year, arrangements were nearing completion for degree courses in medicine and music to begin in 1885, the staff totalled 10 and the students 152. In 1923, Hodge's last year as registrar, the total staff was 119 and the student body 2010. Additions to the academic work of the university during his registrarship included engineering, commerce and dentistry and the opening of the Elder Conservatorium of Music; active discussions were proceeding for the opening of the Waite Agricultural Research Institute. Hodge published a guide to the university in 1899. In his commemoration address on 12 December 1923, when Hodge was on pre-retirement leave, the chancellor Sir George Murray referred to him as 'an able, trustworthy and loyal officer' who held his colleagues' 'admiration, gratitude and affection'. A former student (Sir) Walter Crocker later wrote approvingly of him as 'a good registrar'. However, Hodge's ability was not that of the innovator and it was his successor F. W. Eardley who made several noteworthy administrative advances.

Hodge was an executive member of the South Australian Literary Societies' Union in 1888-1901 and winner of prizes for humorous elocution (1885) and a novelette (1890). He was an active member of the Shakespeare Society and the Australian Natives' Association and reputedly the author of a number of ephemeral short stories published in the daily press under the name 'U-no'. In 1900 he published an undistinguished novel 'That Codicil': an Australian Story of Treachery and Triumph as a revised version of his Express serial 'Olive Temple'.

Hodge was a deacon of the Rose Park Congregational Church for thirteen years, an executive member of the Congregational Union for five years, a delegate to the assembly of the Congregational Union of Australia and New Zealand in 1913, and secretary of the committee organizing the denomination's centenary celebrations in South Australia in 1939. He was also a justice of the peace.

On retirement Hodge moved to Victor Harbor and for the next seven years devoted himself to compiling a history of Encounter Bay. He published several historical sketches and in 1932 Encounter Bay: Miniature Naples of Australia. He died at Victor Harbor on 27 April 1946. His wife had died in 1935 and he was survived by six of his seven daughters.

Select Bibliography

  • J. J. Pascoe (ed), History of Adelaide and Vicinity (Adel, 1901)
  • P. Depasquale, A Critical History of South Australian Literature, 1836-1930 With Subjectively Annotated Bibliographies (Adel, 1978)
  • Journal of the Historical Society of South Australia, no 3 (1977)
  • Register (Adelaide), 13 Dec 1923, 4 Mar 1924
  • Advertiser (Adelaide), 29 Apr 1946
  • South Australia Literary Societies' Union records (State Records of South Australia)
  • Congregational Union of South Australia records (State Records of South Australia)
  • University of Adelaide records.

Citation details

V. A. Edgeloe, 'Hodge, Charles Reynolds (1857–1946)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.online.anu.edu.au/biography/hodge-charles-reynolds-6694/text11547, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 11 December 2017.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

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