Collection A1 - Asten Collection

Identity area

Reference code



Asten Collection


  • 1936-1967 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

1 file

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Wilfred Asten (1915-1970) acting headmaster of the Friend School 1949-1951. Born in North-West England, Wilfred Asten moved to Tasmania in 1939 where he taught at the Burnie High School and later was appointed Vice-Principal of the Hobart Teachers’ College. Wilfred joined the teaching staff of The Friends’ School in 1947 and stayed as a member of the leadership team for 23 years. Wilfred had four children (Hilary, David, Jennifer and Michael) with his wife Dorothy, whom he met in England. Wilfred was awarded an MBE in recognition of his services to the United Nations Association. His love of geography and enthusiasm for teaching and cricket left an imprint on the thousands of students he met over his many years teaching.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Earnest Ewart Unwin (1881-1944) was Headmaster of Friends' School 1924-1944. Unwin was Quaker educationist, was born on 13 July 1881 at Folkestone, Kent, England, son of Uriah John Unwin, bricklayer, and his wife Sophia Jane, née Martin. He was educated at the Quaker schools of Saffron Walden and Ackworth, and graduated (B.Sc., 1901) at the University of Leeds. He taught at Ackworth in 1901-04, became a lecturer in science at the University of Leeds, gained his M.Sc. in 1908 and from 1908 to 1912 taught at Bootham School, York. On 7 April 1910 he married Ursula Dymond Thorp at The Friends' Meeting House, Carlton Hill, Leeds. In 1912 Unwin became senior science master at the Quaker school, Leighton Park, Reading; his first book, Pond Problems (Cambridge, 1914), was a science textbook for schools. As a conscientious objector during World War I, he was given leave to teach and published two more books, As a Man Thinketh (London, 1919) and Religion and Biology (London, 1922).

In 1923 Unwin answered what he felt was a 'call to service' in Australia by accepting the headmastership of the co-educational Friends' School in Hobart, a position which he was to hold until his death. The years 1923-44 witnessed major growth in the school. Unwin embarked on an ambitious rebuilding plan in which he enlisted substantial financial support from English Quakers. He brought a new dynamic of educational leadership to his school and to education in Tasmania, introducing new subjects of art, physiology and botany to the senior school curriculum, and giving priority to science in his building plans. A gifted water-colour artist and teacher of art, he was also a pioneer in the field of educational broadcasting. For more information see

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Deposited by Mrs W. Asten, 8 October 1970

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Collection consists of speeches and educational enquiries.

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Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Available for research

Conditions governing reproduction

This material is made available for personal research and study purposes under the University of Tasmania Standard Copyright Licence. For any further use permission should be obtained from the copyright owners. For assistance please contact

When reusing this material, please cite the reference number and provide the following acknowledgement:
“Courtesy of the UTAS Library Special & Rare Collections”

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Dates of creation revision deletion

CE September 2018




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