John Ridley (1806 – 1887) miller, inventor and preacher
John Ridley, inventor of the stripper-harvester, was born on 26 May 1806 near Durham, England. Ridley’s invention helped make wheat become the next most important Australian export, after wool.
By the 1850s, wheat became an important Australian export, as well as wool. John Ridley, inventor of the stripper-harvester, was born on 26 May 1806 near Durham, England. He was interested in science from an early age. When he was seven years old, he invented a workable electrical machine. Ridley’s father, a miller, had died when he was only five.
His mother carried on the business, and when he was 15 he began to take a share in the management. Although baptised in the Church of England, at 18 Ridley became a local Wesleyan preacher. In 1835, he married Mary Pybus and in 1839, with two infant children and a flour mill (worked by steam), he sailed for South Australia.
By 1842 he had a well-stocked farm of 300 acres. In 1843 Ridley invented a stripper-harvester. On 18 November, the Adelaide Observer announced that “a further trial of Mr. Ridley’s machine has established its success”. By 1845, Ridley had manufactured over fifty machines that were operating in South Australia; others had been exported.
Ridley’s stripper was ideally suited to the hot dry Australian conditions. It harvested the wheat quickly with a minimum of labour and ensured that the grain was kept dry so that it arrived in London in good condition, after a long sea voyage. Ridley’s invention helped make wheat become the next most important Australian export, after wool.
Ridley’s profits from his invention, his shares in the Burra copper mine, his flour mill, and his land investments, enabled him to return to England with his family in 1853 to pursue his interests in evangelisation and missions.
Further information : http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A020334b.htm
Other Christians named Ridley who have been part of Australia’s Christian history.
John G. Ridley, an evangelist who is known today as the man behind Mr Eternity (Arthur Stace) Refer http://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/john-g-ridley/ and http://www.johngridley.org.au/
Dr Nicholas Ridley after whom Ridley College in Melbourne is named. Ridley College was designed as “a place of residence and education for students while pursuing university or theological studies.” Dr Nicholas Ridley was Master of Pembroke Hall, University of Cambridge, 1540-1554. http://www.ridley.unimelb.edu.au
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