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James Moore (1826-1887)

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James Moore (1826–1887) was an engineer responsible for the first steam railway to operate in Australia.

1826 Born at Shalfleet, Hampshire, (baptised 15th October) the son of John Moore ( -1847), naval officer, and his wife Hester Tiley (1789-1871) (who being the elder sister of the second wife of Sir William Cubitt, made James the nephew of William).

1841 Living at Poplar Terrace, Poplar: Hester Moore (age c50). Also James Moore (age c15).

James was engaged under William Cubitt on the South Eastern and Great Northern railways in Britain, and learned his trade there.

1850s Moved to Australia.

1854 March. Appointed as Chief Engineer for the Melbourne and Hobson's Bay Railway Co in Melbourne, Australia, in March 1854, replacing a William Snell Chauncy, who had resigned the engineership of the line under a cloud as the work on the railway pier had proven too difficult. It was said of Moore that he was a man of whose abilities rumour speaks favourably.

Moore was responsible for completing the railway line between the city and Sandridge, as well as the main deep-water pier on Hobson's Bay at Sandridge. He can also be credited with the first locomotive in the Australian colonies when he attached a pile driving steam engine to one of the heavy railway trucks, to assist in construction of the line.

At the opening of the line in September 1854, he was presented with an engraved watch with the inscription: "James Moore, Esq. Engineer of the Melbourne & Hobson's Bay Railway by the Commissioners as a token of their esteem and in commemoration of his having opened the first Railway in the Australian Colonies Sept. 12th 1854".

1854 December 12th. He was replaced on 12 December 1854, by William Elsdon, possibly due to some perceived incompetence.

Little is known of Moore's later career, although he is noted as having been late resident engineer of the Windsor and Richmond Railway (in New South Wales) and then superintendent of works on the Southern extension of the New South Wales Great Southern Railway into the town of Goulburn.

A James Moore is also credited with building the Victorian Railways Administration Offices in Spencer Street, Melbourne. However, although commissioned in 1886, building only started in 1888 and was not completed until 1893, so it is possible that this was a different James Moore.

He moved to Lismore in New South Wales in about 1870, where he managed a well-known sugar plantation in the Big Scrub but when he experienced some heavy losses he moved into Lismore and took up the position as Engineer for the Borough of Lismore in 1886, until ill health caused him to resign on 15 April 1886.

1887 Died in Lismore, New South Wales of diabetes aged 61, having been resident at the country property Jesswoolgan, near Alstonville, New South Wales for some time, and was referred to as for many years civil engineer of the Railway Department in Sydney. He was described as who was always kind and affable, and whose' hand was ever stretched forth to assist the needy or distressed.'

His funeral was held at the Lismore Church of England read by the Rev. A. Poole, and his remains were interred at the Wilson's Ridges Church of England Cemetery, Lismore.

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