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Charles Owen Leaver Riley Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Charles Owen Leaver Riley passes away in 1929.

Charles Owen Leaver Riley was a British-born Australian clergyman.

Riley was born on May 26th, 1854 in Birmingham, England. Riley was educated in Heversham Grammar School and Owen's college in Manchester, England. He would go on to Caius College in Cambridge where he would graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in 1878 and a Master of Arts in 1881. In 1894 he would receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity.

In 1878, Riley would be ordained as a deacon in the Anglican church. One year later he would be ordained as a priest. From 1878 to 1885, he would be curate of three different areas in England. In 1885 he would become the vicar of St. Paul's Preston, England holding the position for 9 years.

In 1894, Riley was appointed the Bishop of Perth, Australia. At the time Perth was the largest Anglican Diocese in the world. It would span an area of 1,000,000 square miles. The Diocese was made up of about 100,000 members scattered around Perth.

When Riley arrived in Perth on February 3rd, 1895, he found that the diocese was lacking funds and clergyman. He also found the Diocese was expanding due to the Gold Rush going on at the time in Australia. Being a young Bishop, Riley was able to acquaint himself with the area of his Diocese. He quickly realized that the Diocese needed to be subdivided. In 1904, the Diocese of Bunbury was created. Others would follow shortly after. In 1914, Riley would become the first Archbishop of Perth.

Riley was very active in education in Perth as well. He would work to help establish the University of Western Australia. He would serve as it's chancellor from 1916 to 1922. He was also president of the trustees of the public library, museum and art gallery of Perth.

Riley was the longest serving Grand Master of the Western Australia Grand Lodge. He would serve as Grand Master from 1904 until the time of his death. There would be a three year break in his term from 1917 to 1920.