In 1927 the University received approximately £55,000 from a public benefactor, Mr Robert John Gledden (1855 – 1927).(1)
As far as it is known, he had no previous contact with the University prior to his death.
Gledden had moved to Australia in about 1890 and was licensed as a surveyor in Queensland.
"He came to Perth in about the beginning of 1892, and after practising for a few months as a surveyor was asked by W. Marmion, then the Minister of Lands, to take charge of mining surveys at Coolgardie. He made a preliminary survey there and about a year later laid out the site of Kalgoorlie.
"He retired in 1900 and spent much time travelling with his wife before settling at Caulfield, near Melbourne. After his wife died in about 1921, he continued to travel but kept his interest in Western Australia and spent a good deal of his time here. He was a good businessman and made money largely out of investing in land in Western Australia. He died in Perth on 5 November 1927."
With no heirs, Mr Gledden’s will provided that the whole of his residue estate should go to the University of Western Australia in trust to provide scholarships beginning 10 years after his death.(2) He stipulated that this income should be used ‘for the promotion and encouragement of education at such University to provide for scholarships in applied science, more particularly relating to surveying or mining or cognate subjects’. He also expressed the hope that ‘one at least of such scholarships will be a travelling scholarship.’.(3)
The bequest initially provided for two annual travelling science fellowships of £750. They were named the Robert Gledden and Maude Gledden Travellling Fellowships in honour of himself and his wife. The first Gledden Fellowship was awarded in 1939. It would not be awarded again until 1945 due to the advent of World War II.
In keeping with Gledden’s wishes as stated in his will, today the Gledden Trust is administered under Statute No 22: Gledden Trust and is able to offer:
Information on how to apply can be found at University Scholarships.
(1) Old General File 1632(1) folio 69
(2) Old General File 1632(1) folio 69
(3) Publications Unit. (1999). University of Western Australia Calendar 1999. Perth: The University of Western Australia. pp C50