Dogs, Disobedience and Disruption: St Paul’s College 1868-91

Alan Atkinson

Abstract


Founded in 1856, the fortunes of St Paul’s College were to begin with tightly tied to the fortunes of its University. With the University it languished, in terms of numbers, until the 1880s, and yet even before that point a distinct student culture – a young man’s culture – had begun very obviously to emerge. As students began at last to accumulate, from about 1882, we see a heightened self-confidence, a sense of solidarity, an ability to shape collective life and a willingness to defy authority, at both College and University level. Much of it echoed the contemporaneous culture of the larrikin. At the same time, the student community, again at both College and University, entered into a highly creative period, establishing methods of self-government which were to last into the next century and beyond. This paper will focus on the College, but with the University as a very necessary context.