This paper critically examines the role of Charles Riley, Bishop of Perth, in the foundation of the University of Western Australia in 1913. Riley advocated a modern university devoted to applied science, which would also include a humanities/arts component that would be able to deliver a liberal education. It goes on to explore what a ‘liberal education’ meant to Riley in connection with a theological education for clergy. It argues that Riley, and his successor Archbishop Le Fanu, desired a theological education for clergy connected with the university as productive of such a liberal education. Such an education would enable clergy to be leaders in society, capable of understanding modern issues in the context of faith, and able, by virtue of their education, to engage sympathetically with people of diverse backgrounds and views.
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