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Joseph Davis (1854-1932)

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Joseph Davis (1854-1932), M Inst C E, of New South Wales, consulting engineer in London for the New South Wales Government Railways.


1889 Associate Member of Inst Civil Engineers

1891 Member of Inst

By 1916 he was a Member of Council of the Institution and Director General of Public Works in New South Wales.



1932 Obituary[1]

"The Late Mr. Joseph Davis.— Mr. Joseph Davis, whose death, we regret to have to record, took place at his home in Sydenham-hill on January 20, was for many years consulting engineer to the New South Wales Government. He was born on November 3, 1854, and underwent his engineering training in the works of Messrs. W. North and Son, at Dudley, Worcestershire. From 1875 to 1880 he acted as resident engineer, under Mr. Jacob Forrest, on the construction of works at Tipton, Staffordshire, including the building of a mineral railway, together with a canal wharf, as well as bridges and buildings, and the erection of machinery. In 1881 he was placed in local charge of the Dudley Sewerage Works and continued in this position until 1883, when he left this country for New South Wales. He joined the Sydney Sewerage Works staff, of the New South Wales Public Works Department, in September, 1883, and remained with it for a long period of years. An account of an important work carried under his supervision was contained in a paper presented by Mr. Davis to the Institution of Civil Engineers on January 28, 1902, entitled “ The Sewerage Systems of Sydney, N.S.W., and its Suburbs.” For this he was awarded a Telford Premium, which was presented on November 4, 1902. Mr. Davis eventually rose to the position of Under-Secretary (ranking as Consulting Engineer) of the New South Wales Public Works Department. He subsequently retired, although retaining the position of consulting engineer, and returned to his native country. For some years past he had an office in Victoria-street. About three years ago he paid a visit to Australia and stayed some time in Sydney. Mr. Davis became an associate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers on December 3, 1889, and was elected a full member on November 9, 1891. He was a former member of the Council of the Institution."


1932 Obituary [2]

JOSEPH DAVIS, son of Elijah Davis, was born at Oldbury, Worcestershire, on the 3rd November, 1854.

After engineering training under Messrs. North, of Dudley, he was engaged as resident engineer on railway and other work under the late Mr. Jacob Forrest, M.Inst.C.E., from 1875 to 1880, was then for three years in local charge of the Dudley sewerage works under the late Mr. H. J. Marten, M. Inst. C.E., and in 1883 went to New South Wales, where he entered the Sewerage Branch of the Public Works Department.

From 1884 to 1889 he was resident engineer on the Bondi main sewer and branches, and in 1889 he was appointed Supervising Engineer in charge of all sewerage contracts, under the late Mr. R. Hickson, M. Inst. C.E.

In 1897 he was placed on the Public Service Board, New South Wales, and in 1901 he was appointed Under Secretary for Public Works.

In 1907 he was transferred to London as Consulting and Inspecting Engineer to the New South Wales Government. After five years he returned to Sydney to take up the appointment of Director General of Public Works, but in 1919 he resumed his position in London, which he continued to hold until his death on the 20th January, 1932. As Consulting and Inspecting Engineer he was responsible for the approval of all steel manufactured in Great Britain for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, as well as much of the electrical equipment and rolling stock of the suburban railways of Sydney.

Mr. Davis served on numerous Royal Commissions and other bodies. He was Chairman of the Royal Commission on Sydney Water-Supply, and President of the Inter-State Royal Commission on the Murray River; a member of Royal Commissions on the Working of the Government Dockyard and Workshops, New South Wales, and on the Boundaries of Local Government Areas ("Shires"); and President of the Local Government Advisory Board.

He reported in 1905 to the Public Works Department of Western Australia on the sewerage system of Perth, and in 1915 to the Commonwealth Government on the proposed system of sewerage for Canberra and on the Small Arms Factory at Lithgow. He was appointed in1 916 representative of the New South Wales Government on the Commission appointed under the River Murray Waters Act, 1915.

In 1902 he contributed to the Proceedings of The Institution a Paper on "Sewerage Systems of Sydney, New South Wales," for which he was awarded a Telford Premium.

He married in 1878 Carline, daughter of Mr. James Shedden, of Dudley, Worcestershire.

He was elected an Associate Member of The Institution on the 3rd December, 1889, and was transferred to full Membership on the 9th November, 1891. He served as a Member of Council resident in Australia from 1906 to 1908 and from 1914 to 1916.


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Sources of Information

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