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Biographical entry Thwaites, William (1853 - 1907)


13 August 1853
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
19 November 1907
San Remo, Victoria, Australia
Civil engineer and Public servant


William Thwaites was engineer-in-chief from 1891 to 1907 of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works, which had been established to build the sewerage system.



Education - Certificate of Engineering (CE), University of Melbourne
Education - Bachelor of Arts (BA), University of Melbourne
1874 - 1876
Career position - Pupil-draftsman with the Victorian Department of Railways
Education - Master of Art (MA), University of Melbourne
1876 - 1879
Career position - Assistant Draftsman with the South Australian Department of Railways
Career position - Victorian Department of Public Works
1883 - 1890
Career position - Engineer of roads, bridges and reclamation works with the Victorian Department of Public Works
6 December 1887
Career event - Associate Member (AssocMInstCE), Institution of Civil Engineers
5 November 1889
Career event - Member (MInstCE), Institution of Civil Engineers
1890 - 1891
Career position - Engineer-in-charge, Water Supply Branch, Victorian Department of Public Works
1891 - 1907
Career position - Engineer-in-Chief at the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works
Education - Master of Civil Engineering (MCE), University of Melbourne


Published resources


  • La Nauze, Robert D., Engineer to Marvellous Melbourne: the Life and Times of William Thwaites, Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne, 2011, 217 pp. Details

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • La Nauze, Robert, 'Who Designed Melbourne's Sewerage System?', Victorian Historical Journal, vol. 182, 2011, pp. 175-93. Details

Newspaper Articles


Resource Sections

  • Rasmussen, Carolyn, 'From the Significant to the Indispensible: The Working Lives of Seventeen Figures in the History of the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Nationa University, 2019, Details

See also

  • Cumming, D. A., Some Public Works Engineers in Victoria in the Nineteenth Century, University of Melbourne, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Melbourne, 1985, 59 pp. Details
  • 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.28. Spotswood Pumping Station, Museum of Victoria, Spotswood, VIC. Details

Rosanne Walker