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Biographical entry Butters, John Henry (1885 - 1969)


23 December 1885
Alverstoke, Hampshire, England
29 July 1969
Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia


Sir John Butters was an engineer with the Tasmanian Hydro- Electric Department from 1914-1924 and in 1925-1929 was Chief Commissioner of the Federal Capital Commission. He maintained a private consulting engineering practice until 1954.


MBE 1920, CMG 1923, knighted 1926. Educated Hartley University College, Southampton (University of London intermediate bachelor of science (engineering) degree and first-class certificate for electrical engineering from Hartley College 1904). Apprentice and improver, John I. Thornycroft & Co. Ltd, shipbuilders and engineers of Southampton1904-05, technical department, Siemens Brothers Dynamo Works Ltd 1905-08, assistant engineer, head office, London 1908-09, chief engineer, Australasian branch, Melbourne 1909-11, engineer-in-chief and manager, Hydro-Electric Power and Metallurgical Co. Ltd 1911-14, chief engineer and general manager, Hydro-Electric Department, Tasmania 1914-24, chairman, Federal Capital Commission 1924--29, consulting engineer, Sydney 1929-54, director of a large range of companies. President, Tasmanian Institution of Engineers 1918, chairman, Tasmanian division, Institution of Engineers, Australia 1920, president, Institution of Engineers, Australia 1927-28, president, Royal Automobile Club of Australia 1937-49. Commemorated by Butters Drive, Phillip, ACT.


19 October 1920
Award - Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
2 June 1923
Award - Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG)
9 May 1926
Award - Knighted, at Canberra, on the occasion of the inauguration of the new Capital, for services rendered as Chief Commissioner, Federal Capital Commission.

Archival resources

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • John Henry Butters - Records, 1921 - 1963, MS 4990; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

Published resources

Journal Articles

  • Butters, J. H., 'The Great Lake Hydro-Electric Scheme of the Tasmanian Government', Electrical Association of Australia Proceedings, Victorian Section, vol. II, no. 1915-1916, pp. 77-107. Details

Online Resources

See also

  • Institution of Engineers, Australia. Sydney Division. Engineering Heritage Committee, The Historic Engineering Plaques of Australia, The Institution of Engineers, Australia, Milsons Point, New South Wales, 1994, 38 pp. p.33. Waddamana 'A' Power Station, Waddamana, TAS. Details
  • McFie, H. H., 'Great Lake, Tasmania and Waddamana Hydro-electric Power Development, First (1916) and Second (1923) Stages - an Engineering Heritage Perspective', in First Australasian Conference on Engineering Heritage 1994: Old Ways in a New Land; Preprints of Papers, Institution of Engineers, Australia, Barton, Australian Capital Territory, 1994, pp. 61-69,;dn=625396454523390;res=IELENG. Details
  • Sinclair, Bruce, 'Some National Presidents of IEAust', in Eleventh National Conference on Engineering Heritage: Federation Engineering a Nation; Proceedings, Institution of Engineers, Australia, Barton, Australian Capital Territory, 2001, p. 259,;dn=521182246276277;res=IELENG. Details

McCarthy, G.J.