Neil McQueen

Neil McQueen (1889 – 1967) headmaster, scientist, general practitioner
Neil McQueen was the second principal of the Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Croydon, NSW.

Neil McQueen was born at Carlton North, Victoria, McQueen was the fourth son of Rev. Finlay McQueen, a minister at Skipton, near Ballarat, and his wife Emma Selina Bruton. McQueen’s parents had earlier emigrated from the Scottish Highlands. McQueen was educated at his local primary school, performing so well that he received an open scholarship to the Scotch College, Melbourne. At Scotch, McQueen proved himself as a scholar, becoming dux in classics in 1906 and winning a scholarship to Ormond College at Melbourne University in classics and mathematics. He was also a talented tennis player and athlete.

After graduating from university, McQueen went to the University of London where he studied both general and experimental psychology taking out a first class honours degree in Science. He continued his research in Psychology at the Psychological Laboratory of University College London, specialising in testing and measurement, where he was supervised by Professor Charles Spearman, one of the early psychometricians. McQueen focused his work on the “Distribution of Attention” in individuals, rejecting earlier claims that there were certain individuals types who possessed general powers of an extensive attention span capable of taking on a number of tasks at the same time. The result of this study was published in the British Journal of Psychology as a monograph supplement in 1917.

The time spent in London was important for McQueen as it allowed him to come into contact with the latest British educational thinking. It was at this time that were sown the seeds of his later “radical” approach to education.

On his arrival back in Melbourne, McQueen intended on enlisting but was asked to assist at a state school in Gippsland. Three months later, in 1916, he returned to teach in Melbourne, and shortly after was appointed Vice-Principal of two Sydney ‘sister’ schools: the Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Croydon and the Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Pymble.

In 1920, the Principal of these two schools, Dr. John Marden resigned due to ill health, and McQueen was subsequently made Principal of the Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Croydon (P.L.C). It was here that McQueen gained his reputation as a “radical” and innovative educator.

Complete article :

John Marden :

Principals of the Presbyterian Ladies’ College :

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