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British Industrial History

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Richard Aloyslus Lavertine

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Richard Aloyslus Lavertine (1853-1895)

1896 Obituary [1]

RICHARD ALOYSIUS LAVERTINE, R.E., eldest son of Mr. John Lavertine, of Limerick, was born on the 7th of October, 1853, and was educated at the Queen’s University, Dublin (now the Royal University of Ireland), where, in 1876, he obtained the degree of Bachelor in Engineering. With characteristic energy he made the best use of the long vacations during his University career by gaining practical knowledge of the profession in the office of Mr. Maurice Hennessy, of Limerick; by which means he usefully supplemented his theoretical studies.

In January, 1877, he became an Assistant to the late William Barrington, for whom he acted from November, 1878, as Resident Engineer on the construction of the Limerick and Kerry Railway.

That line was completed in Nay, 1880, and in the following October Mr. Lavertine was appointed Government Surveyor for the district of Pretoria, Transvaal.

Shortly after his arrival, war broke out between the Boers and the English, and Mr. Lavertine served for three months as a volunteer in the Pretoria Carabineers, his horse being shot under him on one occasion when he narrowly escaped with his life. When the Transvaal was handed over to the Boers at the conclusion of the war, he was appointed Government Surveyor to the Republic. In that capacity he conducted between February, 1882, and May, 1884, a flying survey of Stellaland (Bechuanaland), 10,000 square miles in extent, and laid out the town of Vryburg; and, during the two following years, he was continuously employed on extensive surveys for the Transvaal Government.

Since August, 1886, Mr. Lavertine was engaged privately in the Transvaal, where he rapidly acquired an extensive practice on survey work and in mining operations. Among the numerous mining companies for which he carried out works from time to time may be mentioned the Revolver, the Mount Morgan, the Figaro, the Scotsman, the Sheba, the De Kapp Gold-Fields and the Midas. He also acted as Engineer and Manager of the Clewer Estate, Lydenburg, an extensive mining property, and made a survey of the town of Barberton for the Transvaal Government.

In 1895 Mr. Lavertine suffered a severe attack of rheumatic fever, which so seriously affected his heart as to leave slight hope of recovery. Accompanied by his wife he was returning home, when he died on board the Union Company’s steamer “Norman ” on the 12th of August, 1895. Mr. Lavertine was possessed of a thorough knowledge of the Transvaal, where he was much respected as an engineer of ability and integrity.

He was elected an Associate Member on the 7th of April, 1891.

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