The name Abbott became associated with the early attempts to establish what was to become TAS. In 1879 Joseph Palmer Abbott, a substantial landowner in the Hunter and New England areas, bought two shares in the company which at that stage planned to establish a proprietary school at Blandford in the upper Hunter region.
The son of a local squatter, Abbott was born at Muswellbrook in 1842 and achieved distinction as a lawyer and parliamentarian.
When Blandford failed to attract much support as a location, Abbott, together with his uncle, Robert Palmer Abbott, also a distinguished lawyer and politician,proposed that Armidale, would be a better site. After successfully arguing their case, further shares in the company were issued and, at the annual general meeting of shareholders in January, 1892, J P Abbott was elected president of the Board of Directors.
As well as honouring the pioneering work of J P and R P Abbott, it is possible that, when ‘Abbott’ was chosen as a House name in 1923, respect was also being paid to another member of the family, Thomas Kingsmill Abbott. The Rev T K Abbott at age 44 was appointed headmaster in 1910 – a time when the School was in severe financial straits and enrolments were down.
He managed to correct this situation and was very highly regarded by boys, parents and staff. There was great shock and sadness therefore when, in a staff v boys tennis match, he suffered a heart attack on the court and died instantly.