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Biographical entry Mann, James (c. 1857 - 1921)

c. 1857
14 October 1921
Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Engineer and Research scientist


James Mann was a leading researcher and authority on determining the strength and durability of Australasian timbers, and pioneered methods for identifying species using microscopic examination, and splinter tests. Mann was Government research scholar at the School of Engineering, University of Melbourne, 1910-1912, and was in charge of the Engineering Laboratory, for 20 years when Professor W. C. Kernot occupied the chair of engineering.


James Mann wrote several papers in conjunction with the Victorian Institute of Engineers, the Royal Society of Victoria, and other technical bodies, and was consulted by the Victorian Forests Department after it was formed in 1908.

He published a text book Australian Timber: its strength, durability and identification, 1900. An extended second edition was published in 1921, that included more detailed research based on test samples with known age, forest location, and soil conditions, as well as including details about imported timber species from Papua, Burma, New Guinea and New Zealand.

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Published resources

Journal Articles

  • Mann, James, 'Australian timbers: present day practice in Australia, and some original experiments (Paper & Discussion)', Proceedings of the Victorian Institute of Engineers vol. V, 1905, pp. 106-137, 149-151. Details

Ken McInnes