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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Ringrose, Edward Colin Davenport (1899–1957)

by John Laverty

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 16, (MUP), 2002

Edward Colin Davenport Ringrose (1899-1957), educationist, was born on 30 June 1899 at Herberton, Queensland, seventh child of London-born parents Robert Colin Ringrose, barrister, and his wife Lydia Isabella, née Emery. Educated at Townsville and Brisbane Grammar schools, Ted won an open scholarship to the University of Queensland (B.Sc., 1920; B.A., 1926). While teaching at Rockhampton (1920-24) and Ipswich Grammar schools (1925 and 1927) and Brisbane Boys' College (1926), he continued his studies as an external student of the University of Melbourne (Dip.Ed., 1927; B.Ed., 1936). At Ipswich on 27 July 1928 he married with Methodist forms Sylvia Daphne Pratt. From that year he lectured at the Teachers' Training College, Brisbane. He was president of the State Secondary School Teachers' Association (1932-33 and 1935-36) and of the Queensland Teachers' Union (1936-37).

In 1937 Ringrose was appointed lecturer in education and experimental psychology in the department of philosophy, University of Queensland. Although the university refused to release him for military service in 1942, he served as a part-time senior psychologist (1943-45) in the Department of Labour and National Service. He played a central role in the expansion of the university's education programme by developing courses for students who wanted to obtain diplomas and certificates in education, and for those who chose to pursue bachelor's and master's degrees. Promoted associate-professor in 1946, he was appointed dean of the new faculty of education in 1949 and director of external studies in 1950.

In a period of rapid growth in external studies, Ringrose oversaw wide-ranging reforms, including the establishment of a board of external studies, the appointment of academics with appropriate teaching skills, the continued development of the Thatcher Library and vacation schools, the introduction of study circles and centres in regional areas, and the publication of a handbook. Under his direction, courses were made available to armed services personnel, and to residents in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, the South-West Pacific and South-East Asia. Ringrose was a member (1947-57) of the university senate, an associate-member (1950-57) of the professorial board, chairman of the board of external studies (1949-57) and the library committee (1951-56), and a member of the John Darnell fine-arts committee. Tall, with angular features and a commanding presence, he was intelligent, enthusiastic and thorough, with a capacity for clear thinking and a breadth of outlook and understanding. His organizing ability and leadership qualities enabled him to work well in a team and to harness the talents of others.

Ringrose was chairman of the State branch of the National Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis in Australia (1956-57) and the education committee of the Crèche and Kindergarten Association of Queensland (1945-57). In addition, he was a member of the Queensland Marriage Guidance Council. A keen gardener and fisherman, he also enjoyed tennis and bushwalking. He died of cancer on 1 May 1957 at Beerwah Private Hospital, Brisbane, and was cremated; his wife and their son survived him. The Ringrose libraries, in Queensland's provincial cities and towns, were named after him.

Select Bibliography

  • R. D. Kitchen, Men of Vision (Brisb, 1985)
  • M. I. Thomis, A Place of Light and Learning (Brisb, 1985)
  • University of Queensland Archives.

Citation details

John Laverty, 'Ringrose, Edward Colin Davenport (1899–1957)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2002, accessed online 29 October 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 16, (MUP), 2002

View the front pages for Volume 16

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