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Daniel Baddeley Pritchard

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Daniel Baddeley Pritchard (1827-1872)

1874 Obituary [1]

MR. DANIEL BADDELEY PRITCHARD was born in July1827, at Edgbaston, near Birmingham. His father, Mr. Daniel Pritchard, was a contractor for public works, and one of the first railways in England - that from Wigan to Parkside - was made by him. The elder Pritchard was also engaged on the Harecastle Tunnel, under Telford ; and subsequently undertook No. 3 general contract on the London and Birmingham railway, and various other contracts in different parts of the kingdom. On these different works the younger Pritchard underwent a regular system of training as an engineer.

To acquire further experience, he was afterwards placed for about twelve months with Messrs. James Horne and Co., who were then carrying out the Crown Street Tunnel and Lime Street Extension, Liverpool.

Subsequently he was successively engaged for about two years by Messrs. John Taylor and Co., upon the Swansea contract of the South Wales railway, as engineering representative, in setting out, measurement of the work, &c.; for one year and a half under the late Mr. James Potter, M. Inst. C.E., on the Sheffield and Lincolnshire railway ; and for about six months on the Garston Branch railway, near Liverpool.

Having thus practically learnt the profession, and not finding sufficient scope at home, he determined to try the colonies. He selected Australia as the field for future practice, and landed at Melbourne in 1852. Almost immediately on arrival he was appointed to superintend the construction of the first railway in Victoria, viz., that from Melbourne to Hobson’s Bay, which, though but a short line, was one of great importance, as connecting the metropolis of Australia with its port.

After being for about two years in the service of this railway company, he set up on his own account as a Civil Engineer at Ballarat, then at the height of the gold fever. Here, among other things, he surveyed and estimated for projected extension lines of railway from Ballarat to the western districts of Victoria, in continuation of the present Government railway from Melbourne to Ballarat. He also made the gas-works dock, several timber bridges, &c.; but his attention was more exclusively directed to mining.

He became the manager, in the year 1862, of the Black Hill Quartz Crushing Company’s works, and erected the new battery of sixty stamps, with other powerful machinery, opened out the extensive mine, and successfully worked this, the largest, mining plant then in Victoria, for seven years.

On leaving, he was presented with a handsome testimonial, in the form of a silver tea-service. During these years he also acted as Consulting Engineer to several other mining companies in Ballarat.

Finally, he established himself in Melbourne, as a Civil and Consulting Engineer, and obtained an excellent practice, being frequently consulted in reference to mines in other colonies, as Adelaide, Tasmania, &c.

He had just accepted an engagement with three mining companies in New South Wales, to set out and furnish plans for the erection of their works, and to give an opinion on the capabilities of the mines, when his sudden death occurred in Sydney, through an accidental fall, on the 8th of September, 1872, at the comparatively early age of 45. He lies buried in the now cemetery at Haslem’s Creek, near Sydney, six hundred miles away from his own home.

In his immediate circle the news of Mr. Pritchard‘s death was received with great regret. He had not long previously assisted to establish “ The Australian Mechanic and Journal of Science and Art,” the editor of which periodical, in an obituary notice, bears the following high testimony to his character as a man who was peculiarly straightforward and upright in all his transactions ; he was earnest and practical in thought, skilful in action, of high integrity, and honest in feeling. His reports on scientific questions were masterpieces of conciseness.

Mr. Pritchard was elected a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the 7th of February, 1865, but his constant residence in Australia prevented his taking any part in its proceedings.

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