History of the Robert and Maude Gledden Visiting Fellowships

Gledden Visiting Fellowships support global research collaborations by providing funding to bring outstanding researchers to UWA.

R J GleddenIn 1927, the University received about £55,000 from a public benefactor, Mr Robert John Gledden (1855-1927). Mr Gledden moved to Australia in 1890 and was licensed as a surveyor in Queensland. He came to Perth in 1892, and after practising for a few months as a surveyor, was asked by the then Minister of Lands, W. Marmion, 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 Maude, before settling at Caulfield, near Melbourne.

After his wife died in 1921, he continued to travel but kept his interest in Western Australia. 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 in trust to provide scholarships beginning ten years after his death. As far as it is known, he had no previous contact with the University before his death.

Robert Gledden stipulated that the income from his estate 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, engineering, mining or cognate subjects". He also expressed the hope that "one at least of such scholarships will be a travelling scholarship". The bequest initially provided for two annual travelling science fellowships of £750. They were named the Robert and Maude Gledden Travelling 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 Second World War.