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William Marquis KYLE

Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Pte 3346 24y1m 29 Feb 1916 8 Apr 1919 1

Professor William Marquis Kyle (1892  -  1962)


Enlistment and service

William Marquis Kyle, a school teacher aged 25 years, enlisted for service abroad on 29 February 1916.  On 24 January 1917, Private Kyle with the 52nd Infantry Battalion embarked on the HMAT Ayrshire from Sydney for active service in Europe. He was wounded in a counter attack on Villers-Bretonneux on 24 April 1918, spent time in hospital in the United Kingdom and returned to Australia early in 1919.

Invalided home to Australia in 1919 and resumed study

When he was discharged on 8 April 1919, Bill Kyle was able to resume his study at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, towards an honours examination in Philosophy, in preparation for what was to be an outstanding academic career.

In 1920, he taught at the Central Technical College a wide range of subjects for the Queensland Senior Examination. He was noted for his strong personality, his teaching ability and his good relationships with his students. Also in 1920, he married Sybella Agnes Kirkaldy in Petersham, Sydney.  In 1922 Mr Kyle was lecturing in Psychology at the University of Queensland and the Workers’ Educational Association.

He completed his MA degree in 1923 and was appointed a Lecturer in Philosophy in 1924.  He pioneered many aspects of university life and teaching, always with enthusiasm, effective organisation and the ability to take into account the points of view of others.  He applied his scholarship and teaching ability to courses in Logic, Ethics, Metaphysics and Psychology.  He designed the first Diploma in Education course which began in 1937 and helped to develop studies in Divinity.

Appointed as Chair of Philosophy in 1938

When Professor Scott Fletcher retired from the Chair of Philosophy in 1938, Kyle was appointed to succeed him.

Professor Kyle became highly involved in positions of leadership in the University, Saint Andrew’s Church and the wider community. He gave public lectures, wrote and reviewed newspaper articles and was well known as a broadcaster.  He served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts from 1946 to 1950.

Twelth Night Theatre and author

William Kyle was an original member and President of the Twelfth Night Theatre. He was the author of several academic publications. He was the chief editor of An Account of the University of Queensland during its first 25 Years, published in 1935.


Professor Kyle retired at the end of 1961 and was made an Emeritus Professor for his long and meritorious service to the University. At about this time, he completed the writing of the Centenary Book celebrating the 100th anniversary of Saint Andrew’s Church.

In the foreword, the Minister, the Rev William Young, wrote: 

“I commend this Centenary Book to you, certain that you will find it a source of inspiration. I welcome this opportunity to express my thanks, and the thanks of the Kirk Session and the Congregation, to Professor WM Kyle for his work in writing the history and compiling the highlights of the years. The task has been performed with the care and efficiency the session expected when it asked Professor Kyle to undertake it.”


Professor Kyle’s retirement was not long. While on a visit to Scotland, he died suddenly at the age of 70 years, on 25 September 1962. The 1962 Annual Report of Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Brisbane, contained this tribute:

“We were all saddened towards the end of the year, when news was received that Professor Kyle had died in Scotland while on a visit overseas.

He had been a member for over 50 years, and Elder for the past 24 years and had served a term as Session Clerk. He took a keen interest in all the activities of the Congregation and his advice and help was (sic) available when required. He will be greatly missed in the Kirk Session and in the Congregation generally.”

A legacy for the new generations

In 1963, the William Marquis Kyle Philosophy Prize was established at the University of Queensland and still is being awarded today.  The prize is awarded to the student who, having completed 16 units of Philosophy courses, attains the highest overall marks in advanced level Philosophy courses undertaken in the year of the award.

Select Bibliography
• Newspaper clippings in scrapbook presented to University of Queensland Library by Professor Kyle, October 1961
Vivant Professores, Helen Gregory, University of Queensland Library, 1987
• AIF archived records, Private WM Kyle 
• Annual Reports, Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church, Brisbane 
• Digitised newspapers, Trove, National Library of Australia 
• Minutes, Kirk Session, Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Brisbane 
• Roll of Honour and Roll of Service 1914-1919, The University of Queensland 
• Centenary Booklet, Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Brisbane, 1962.

Compiled by N. E. Adsett, March 2014.  Additions and new images by Miriam King 2023 ©



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