John Henry Challis bequeathes his estate to the University of Sydney

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The second event that influenced the Senate in its determination to proceed with the medical school was the death of John Henry Challis in 1880, which resulted in the bequest of the residue of his substantial estate for the benefit of the University. Challis, the son of a sergeant, immigrated to Australia in 1829 and became a highly successful business man. His interest was not in medicine, per se, but rather the advancement of education in the colony in general.

Challis made generous donations to the University of Sydney during his life, including the financing of the 'Royal Window' in the Great Hall. In his will he stipulated that after the death or remarriage of his wife, the residue of his estate should accumulate for five years and then pass to the University of Sydney. The Senate of that time planned to begin a range of new activities, significantly, one of which was the opening of the Medical School. In addition, they felt able to immediately fund a University Chair of Biology as well as a Chair of Anatomy and Physiology. It was this that brought Thomas Anderson Stuart to the Faculty of Medicine.[1]