- 16 August [ ] & 12 September 1917 (Creation)
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Born: 08 August 1879, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Entered: 01 March 1899, Loyola Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Ordained: 26 July 1914, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 02 February 1918
Died: 17 September 1943, Caritas Christi Hospital, Kew, Melbourne, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)
Part of the St Patrick’s College, Melbourne, Australia community at the time of death
Transcribed HIB to ASL: 05 April 1931
by 1910 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
Younger brother of Peter - RIP 1955
Educated mainly at St Aloysius College, Bourke Street, and his last year at Riverview. His contemporaries remember his as being very reliable and steady in temperament and in studies. He was “dux” of the school in his last year, and gained first class honours in Mathematics, qualifying for the matriculation entrance at the University in the faculties of Law, Medicine, Science and Engineering.
1901-1903 After First Vows he taught Mathematics at Riverview
1903-1909 He taught Mathematics at Xavier College, Kew
1909-1914 He was sent to Stonyhurst College for Philosophy and then for Theology at Milltown Park, Dublin, where he was Ordained.
1915-1916 He was at Belvedere College SJ teaching Mathematics before returning to Australia
1918-1921 He taught Mathematics at Xavier College, Kew
1921-1922 He was at Riverview, but found it very difficult
1923-1930 He returned to Xavier where he was Prefect of Studies
1930-1942 He was sent to teach Mathematics to the higher classes at St Patrick’s, Melbourne, being Prefect of Studies (1931-1935).
1942-1943 He returned to Xavier, but his health broke down.
He died at Caritas Christi Hospice, Kew
He was described as a “picturesque figure”, a strong disciplinarian, critical of the achievements of his pupils, with whom he was popular, despite the fact that he gave them very little hope of ever passing an examination. He was a strenuous worker and a careful and stimulating teacher. He had the happy knack of teaching with the lighter touch, and his success in getting the best out of his students was probably largely due to his method of leading rather than driving.
Students were attracted to him for his unselfishness and his kindly interest, combined with a fund of good humour. They found him a good teacher, firm but just , and he was affectionately known by his initials WIB”. He had a gruff manner frequently combined with a twinkle in his eye. He had many good friends among the old scholars, and continued to show interest in them.
His Jesuit colleagues found him to be a “good community man”, very loyal to his colleagues, shrewd, energetic, hardworking, full of vitality, and apart from attendance at football matches on Saturdays with some sporting friends, he had no interests outside his work and community life. He was a devoted Chaplain for many years to the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart at Mena House.
His end came eighteen months after a sudden heart attack, a time that was very painful for him. His condition weakened him considerably, causing him to lose his former fire and vitality.
◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 18th Year No 3 1943
Father William Baker SJ (1877-1943)
The death of Fr. William Baker in Melbourne, at the age of 64 is just announced. He had been in failing health for some time past. An Australian, he entered the Society 1st March, 1899, and had Fr. Sturzo for Master of novices. He did his Colleges at Riverview and Kew before coming to Europe for his higher studies, philosophy at Stonyhurst (1910-'12) and theology at Milltown Park where he was ordained priest in 1914. He taught for a year at Belvedere before his tertianship which he made at Tullabeg. Returning to Australia he spent the rest of his life, practically, in the class-room or directing studies as prefect of studies, chiefly at Xavier College, Melbourne. He was a very inspiring and successful teacher of mathematics. His golden heart and drole humour will be remembered by those of the Irish Province who had the good fortune of knowing him. R.I.P.
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Letters from Fr William I. Baker SJ to Irish Fr Provincial Thomas V. Nolan SJ concerning arrangements to sail to Australia and the stopover in America en route.
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