Biographical entry Blackburn, James (1803 - 1854)
Upton, Essex, England
Collingwood, Victoria, Australia
- Architect, Civil engineer and Surveyor
James Blackburn was employed as a sewer inspector in England in 1826. Later that year he was sentenced for fraud and deported, along with his family to Tasmania. Due to laudatory testimonials he was immediately employed at the Department of Roads and Bridges. In 1839 he was instrumental in the formation of the Department of Public Works alongside his colleague Alexander Cheyne. A significant part of Tasmania's road-making, surveying, and engineering work was performed by Blackburn. He was granted a full pardon in 1841 and set up his own engineering and architecture practice in Melbourne in 1849. Among many other projects, he designed the Melbourne water supply from the Yan Yean reservoir and is lauded in history as one of the greatest engineers of his time in Australia.
- Preston, Harley, 'Blackburn, James (1803-1854), civil engineer, surveyor and architect', in Douglas Pike (ed.), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 1, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1966, pp. 109-110. Also available at http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A010103b.htm. Details
Created: 1 May 2013, Last modified: 22 January 2014