Colin Thomas Turton Wood

  • ISAAC WOOD 1780-1823.


    In 1808 Isaac Wood had a business in the Main Street of Wexford Ireland, opposite church, it was a copper, pewter, brass warehouse.

    The following files have been taken from the "Freemans Journal" a publication in Ireland around 1800.

    The place and description of "The Sydney Academy"  from The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser Saturday 29 December 1821

    Isaac had a copper, pewter, brass warehouse in Wexford and also was a watch repairer and was also reported to be a teacher.

    He started a school in Sydney

    He called the school “THE SYDNEY ACADEMY” & was first situated at Parramatta and moved to Sydney at 96 Pitt st. Sydney, it opened it’s doors in Sydney on the 3rd of July 1815. The school taught :- “English Grammar, writing {in all different hands in practice}, Arithmetic, Book-keeping, Geography & the use of globes & Mathematics.

    On the 29th of July he first accepted borders.    An evening school was started in March 1816.

    The school was so much of a success it soon had to move to larger premises, so in August 1816 he moved to 53 Phillip st. on the corner of Hunter st.

    The terms of the tuition were these:- “Instructions in any or all of the following branches per annum with board.





                                             Spelling & Reading                   8 Shillings                                                                                                        Adding & Arithmetic                 2 Shillings

                                             Book-keeping                          2 Shillings

                                             English Grammar                      2 Shillings

                                             Geography & the use of Globes2 Shillings

                                             Elementary Maths                     2 Shillings


    In July 1817 he” engaged a classical assistant to prepare students for entrance to universities in Great Britain.”

    The following are the times the students were occupied in their studies, & the subjects covered in October 1817.

    “English, Latin, Italian, French, Spanish, from 6-8 A.M.

    Spelling, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, from 10am -2pm with the exception of the classical scholars who “shall retire from studies at noon & renew from 3-5pm.

    In August 1818 dancing was first taught at “The Academy” by a dancing teacher assisted by Mrs Wood. The ad in “The Sydney Gazette” read “to engage a person perfectly qualified to teach pupils in that graceful accomplishment which is considered so necessary to the acquirement of a becoming demeanor.”

    In August 1819 the academy became too small for the students it had, so Mr Wood decided to build his own building. His other two addresses were buildings already standing. This time he would have one that “suited his requirements.”

    On the 18th December he moved to a" spacious schoolhouse in Macquarie St. contigous to the government domain.”

    On the 1st of July 1820 the Academy first accepted girl students, but only from 12-2 pm.

    On the 31st March 1821 “Mr Wood suffered the death of his wife Elizabeth." (this may have been her second name or did not use this name as she was always referred to as Felicia.)

    On the 25th August 1821 he was granted some land at Seven Hills.

    Despite the death of his wife the Academy grew. On the 22nd December 1821 medals were first given to his students Gold, Silver, & Bronze. Pictures of medals front and back

    On the 20th February 1823 the death of Mr Isaac Wood is recorded in the Sydney Gazette :- “On Friday afternoon the 14th February last, at his residence at Macquarie St. Sydney, Mr Isaac Wood, the founder of that praise-worthy seminary The Sydney Academy. Mr Wood had been in a declining state of health many months past; he seemed to have allowed the death of his affectionate wife, which occurred 22 months before, continually to harass his mind, superadded to the intense application the rising youth were ever in the habit of receiving, for years, from a kind & paternal master, combined with the affliction of a gradually decaying leg, hastened the termination of his valuable life. .Since the last vacation only, he has been confined to his bed. About three weeks since every symptom of recovery was manifested, & the Academy was reopened; but alas! on Thursday afternoon last, he was conveyed to his bed, much debilitated with the little exertion involuntary called forthwile in the school-room, & the next afternoon his bed-chamber became the chamber of his death! His affectionate & faithful services the colony much required, but providence saw fit to remove him from a scene of sore probation, to reward his servant with the fadeless boon. Mr Wood leaves four orphans, two sons & two daughters, the eldest of whom is but a mere child. The Academy, it seems, the executors are still desirous of still able carrying on; we therefore cordially hope, that every support will be given the institution for

    the sake of the pretty orphans

    The Academy remained open & was taken over by Mr James Bradley on 6th March 1823.

    The executors of Isaac Wood attempted to carry on the school, & Henry Wrensford was selected to act, with William Cape in its superintendence.” Mr Cape carried on the school which eventually became "Sydney Grammar," one of the best schools in Australia.

    I don’t know anymore about him except that he was born in 1780 &  died in 1823 at the age of 43. His burial certificate tells very little only that the burial service was performed at St Phillips Sydney & he was buried on 23rd February 1823. Further research has found that he was buried in the cemetery at Devonshire St Sydney. Most of the cemetery was moved to Rookwood when Central railway was built in 1901. His grave was put in the pioneer’s section at Botany cemetery it had the following inscription on it:-

    Felicia Wood wife of Isaac Wood of Macquarie St Academy died 30th March, 1821, aged 26 years leaving a husband & children - also Mr Isaac Wood died 23 2 1823 aged 43 years Also Eliza Jane Wood granddaughter of the above died 16th Dec 1837 aged 8 months 2 days.

    The grave has since been removed from the pioneers section of Botany cemetery because of deterioration.

    They had four children

                                                         William Henry   1813

                                                         Eliza                 1817

                                                         Joseph          1819

                                                         Louisa              1822 (this must be

                                                         the year she was baptized)


    According to the census of 1828 William Henry was living with a F.E. Forbes in Liverpool. Eliza was boarding with a Jas. Smith in Parramatta. Joseph was in an orphanage in Cabramatta. Louisa was in an orphanage in Parramatta.

    All items in “ “ were taken from the pages of the “SYDNEY GAZETTE” first published in 1806.


    An extract from a booklet put out by the Royal Australian Historical Society in 1950 entitled “Public Education in New South Wales before 1848”  by Vernon W E Goodin reads as follows:

    Another school Mistress    Was Felicia Sims. She had opened her school for “young ladies and young gentlemen” in 1811 (she was only 17) . She married Wood on September -15, 1815.  Mr Wood had commenced  his school in Parramatta in 1813. He removed to Sydney and opened the Sydney Academy in 1815.  The school proved remarkably successful. Both worked will a will. Evening school, boarders, dancing tuition were developments. The Woods prospered and built for themselves a commodious school in Macquarie Street. The reputation of the Sydney Academy continued to increase. In the Sydney Gazette of November 25, 1820, appeared an article, “Schools of the Colony.” In it one of the schools selected for special praise was the Sydney Academy: “ . . . and as a boarding school, Mr. Wood lays strong claim to the remark; the house is well fitted-up, and every pains bestowed upon the health and morals of the children. “

    Then the clouds gathered and all was gloomy. Felicia Wood was buried on April 2, 1821, at the early age of twenty-seven. Mr Wood never recovered from the shock  His love for his school died within him. A broken man, he penned a memorial to the Governor on September 3, 1821. He mourned he was now left with four small children “to deplore the loss of a dutiful, Affectionate & Valuable Wife, & a tender, & anxious mother “ He wished to give up his school; he asked for a further land grant" the better to enable him to make provision for his little ones" Provision for his little ones”; or else, perhaps, when it fell vacant, a situation under Government.

    He received his land grant, but continued his school a little longer. On February 14, 1823, he followed his wife to the grave. The Sydney Gazette wrote a glowing tribute to his work. The executors of Isaac Wood attempted to carry the school, and Henry Wrensford was selected to act, with Mr William Cape in its superintendence.


    The following are a couple of letters he wrote to Govenor Macquarie  (these letters are on file in the archives at the rocks Sydney.) The first on October 7th 1816.

    To His excellency Lachlin Macquarie Esquire Captain General Govenor Commander in chief in and over His Majesty’s Territory of New South Wales and it’s dependencies.

    The Petition of Isaac Wood

    a school master.


    That humbly herewith.

    That your petitioner arrived in this colony on the ship “Archduke Charles” in the month of February 1813 under sentence of transportation for 7 years. Five of which is now nearly expired.

    That your Excellency was pleased at the last general musters to order petitioners name to be entered as ticket-of-leave, but he not wishing to be troublesome, did not make any application to that effect since.

    Petitioner being desirous to appear at the ensuing muster, in that manner his Excellency has been pleased to direct in his late general orders, humbly solicits from his Excellency such indulgence as in duty bound will ever pray.

    Sydney Academy October 7th 1816.

    (This was signed in flowing script Isaac Wood.)



    To his Excellency Lachlin Macquarie Esquire, Captain General and Commander in Chief in and over His Majesty's territory of New South Wales and it’s dependencies.

    The Petition of Isaac Wood.

    Most Humbly and Respectfully herewith.


    That your petitioner has resided in this colony for 8 years past was married, and is now left with four small children to deplore the loss of a dutiful, affectionate, and valuable wife, and a tender and anxious mother.

    From the number of schools in Sydney petitioner his present forte of life to be very fluctuating, so much so, that he is very desirous to relinquish the same, for some other mode of living. Would prefer Agricultural pursuits that may be conductive to good health and the better to enable me to make provision for my little ones.

    Therefore most humbly solicit from your Excellency proportion of land in addition to the one hundred acres heartily given, or some situation under Government, at any time most convent or when such may be vacant.

    And your petitioner as in

    duty bound will ever pray

    Isaac Wood.

    Of the Advantages enjoyed by the Pupils at the Sydney Academy, Macquark-street, conducted by Isaac Wood.
    THE School-house stands on a hill, contiguous to the   Government Domain, on a spot the most healthy   and picturesque in Sydney, commanding a beautiful View of the Town, the Cove, Harbour, Shipping,
    &c. &c. This House has been erected at a considerable expence, affording to the Pupils every accommodation, with commodious apartments, &c. &c. Its contiguity to the Domain (where the Pupils have a liberty of walking, and, in the season, bathing, &c.) renders it one of the most delightful situations possible.  
    Age, Accommodation, and Treatment. - Young Gentlemen, of all ages, are received and educated in the several branches of useful and polite literature, according to their destinations in life. The School-room is very commodious, and the place, appropriated for play, so contiguous thereto, that the Pupils are under the immediate eye of the Master. The Scholars are formed to the habits of Gentlemen, and are consequently treated with becoming mild- ness ; whilst their health, comfort, and religious   concerns, are primary objects of solicitude. Each Pupil has a separate bed, and the whole family breakfast, dine, and tea together. Instruction.-The English Language (as set forth in the annexed Statement of Terms), plain and ornamental Writing, and Arithmetic, are taught indiscriminately to every Pupil, and on a plan which insures incredible success in a comparatively short time. The Latin, French, Drawing, Dancing, Music, Fencing, &c. (by Persons perfectly qualified}, essential embellishments to a good education, are likewise indefatigably pursued, unless the age and views of the Student determine otherwise. Terms. - Boarders, instructed in any, or all of the following Branches, per annum, with Board and Lodging : - Ten years of age, and upwards ...... ,£40 Under ten years.,. 30 Subject to an extra charge of £5 for Washing. Books, Pens, Ink, Paper, &c. in addition. Hours of Study in the Summer Season, from 6 to 8 o'clock in the morning ; from 9 to 12; and from 2 to 5 in the afternoon ; Winter Season, from 9 to 12 ; from 2 to 5 ; and from 7 to 8 in the evenings. Day Scholars, instructed in Spelling and Reading, for 3 calendar months, 30s.
    The above, with the addition of Writing, English Grammar, and Arithmetic, 40s. per quarter. The above, with the addition of Geography and Book-keeping, 50s. per ditto. The above, with the addition of Elocution and Ele-ments of the Mathematics, 60s. per ditto. Each Pupil is chargeable with 5s. extra for Fuel,  
    and the usual charge for Books, Pens, Ink, Paper, &c; - Hours of Study throughout the year, for Day Scholars, from 9 to 12, and from 2 to 5 o'clock in the afternoon.   Additional Terms. - Latin and French, each 30s. per quarter. Drawing, 3 guineas per quarter.
    Dancing and Fencing, 2 guineas each per quarter. Music, according to the Instrument.
    Agreeably to the above arrangements, there is an opportunity of selecting for the Pupil, according lo his capacity, or the wishes of the Parents.
    Vacations. - The usual Vacations are, a Fortnight at Christmas; a Week at Easter ; and the same at Whitsuntide ; for either of which, if a Boarder continues in the House, the Charge is One Guinea per Week extra.
    Previous to the Christmas Recess the Pupils are examined in their respective Classes, and, according to Merit, receive Medals, Books, Toys, &c. &c. and for which there is a full explanation given (by way of certificate) on the back of each Christmas Piece.
    The day following is an Entertainment, at a moderateCharge, to which each Pupil, with his Sister or female Relative, is invited. Should a Boy absent hi mself on this occasion, he will be chargeable with the same, in consequence of the trouble and ex pence attending such preparations.
    *.£* No Engagement entered into for Boarders for a less term than twelve months ; nor, for Day Scholars, for leis than three months ; and the Year entered into by the former, and the Quarter by the latter, must be fully completed and ended. Three Months Notice, in Writing, must be given previous to the Removal of any Boarder; and One Month previous to that of any Day Scholar; otherwise the amount of half-a-year to a Boarder, and a quaiter of a year to a Day Scholar, will be the forfeit for such neglect.
    The young Gentlemen, belonging to this Establishment, will resume their Studies on Monday the 7th of January next.
     For Remainder of Advertisements, see Supplement,]