Sir Shirley Williams Jeffries’ brief sojourn at Norwood in 1907 prefaced a distinguished career as a lawyer, politician and Methodist layman in South Australia.
Jeffries was born on 28 February 1886 at Crompton, Lancashire, England. The family emigrated to Queensland in 1890 and later moved to South Australia where he attended Prince Alfred College.
He played for Norwood during his time as a law student at University of Adelaide where he also competed in inter-varsity football and tennis. In 1907, Norwood won the Grand Final against Port Adelaide and went on to defeat Carlton for the Championship of Australia. Although Jeffries did not play in either game, he was named as one of the players to receive the 1907 Champions of Australia gold medal presented to the team. In 1908 Jeffries transferred to Sturt where he continued his league career.
Jeffries was admitted to the Bar on 23 April 1910 and in 1927 he was elected to the House of Assembly as the Liberal Federation member for North Adelaide. In 1938 he was passed over as leader of the party in favour of Thomas Playford.
His strong religious convictions led him to lobby for the introduction of religious instruction in state schools in 1940 and he also introduced area schools to replace small country primary schools. His support of Methodist education led to the establishment of Lincoln College at the University of Adelaide and Westminster School at Marion.
Jeffries died on 13 September 1963 at his Leabrook home and the chapel at Westminster School commemorates him.
Arnold D. Hunt, 'Jeffries, Sir Shirley Williams (1886–1963)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/jeffries-sir-shirley-williams-10619/text18873 , accessed 15 August 2013.
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