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British Industrial History

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William Harker

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William Harker (1851-1886)

1887 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM HARKER, who died on the 14th of December, 1886, on board the s.s. “Glenogle,” in the Gulf of Aden, was the third son of the late Mr. George Harker, of Melbourne, Victoria, in which city he was born on the 22nd of September, 1851.

He was educated at the Church of England Grammar School, and from there matriculated, passed through the usual course, and took the degree of Civil Engineer at the Melbourne University. He was an articled pupil from March 1869-72, to Mr. William Elsdon, M.Inst.C.E., then Resident Engineer of the Melbourne and Hobson’s Bay United Railway.

After the expiration of his pupilage, he was engaged for two years longer as an assistant in Mr. Elsdon’s office, and was occupied in the re-construction in iron of a number of bridges, and the erection of new station buildings at many places.

He then travelled in the United States and in England, with a view of acquiring a knowledge of civil engineering works in those countries.

In June 1875 he was engaged as an assistant in the office of the North-Eastern Railway Company, under the late Mr. Robert Hodgson, M. Inst. C.E., where he remained until 1879, when he returned to Melbourne, but ceased to work owing to continued ill-health, his illnesses increasing until they caused his early death at the age of thirty-five.

He was an unusually expert arithmetician, and a quick mental calculator. He had a wide acquaintance with English literature, and was especially fond of the early dramatists. In politics he was an ardent radical and land-law reformer ; and was fond of propounding schemes for the redistribution of the "unearned increment" both at home and in the colonies.

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