Browse Entries

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Biographical entry

  • Trove

Biographical entry Davidson, William (1844 - 1920)


6 December 1844
Moy, County Tyrone, Ireland
2 September 1920
Victoria, Australia
Civil engineer


William Davidson worked as a civil engineer in Victoria for over 30 years (1873-1912). Much of his work was on improving Melbourne's water supply and catchment facilities. During a major flood in 1878, most of Melbourne's existing aqueduct system was destroyed. Davidson supervised its three-day around-the-clock restoration. He was rewarded by being appointed superintending engineer and later transferred to the newly formed Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works. Davidson's other achievements include the extension of the Yan Yean catchment, construction of the Warrnambool breakwater and Portland harbour, and consultant to the English developers of Melbourne harbour (Station Pier at Port Melbourne). William Davidson was made a Companion of the Imperial Service Order (ISO) in 1911.



Life event - Arrived in Australia (Victoria)
Education - Completed a surveyor's certificate
1873 - 1877
Career position - Assistant to the Superintending Engineer at Melbourne Water Supply
1878 - 1888
Career position - Superintending Engineer at the Melbourne Water Supply
1883 - 1884
Career position - Yan Yean catchment extension undertaken in Victoria
1888 -
Career position - Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, London
1889 - 1891
Career position - Inspector-General of public works and Chief Engineer at Melbourne Water Supply
1891 - 1912
Career position - Chief Engineer at the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works
Award - Companion of the Imperial Service Order
1914 - 1919
Career position - Chair of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Victorian branch


Related People

Published resources

Book Sections


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 National University, 2019, Details

McCarthy, G.J.