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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.

Related Corporate Bodies

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

Conference Papers

Journal Articles

  • Butters, J. H., 'The Great Lake Hydro-Electric Scheme of the Tasmanian Government', Electrical Association of Australia Proceedings, Victorian Section, II (1915-1916), 77-107. Details


See also

  • Engineers Australia, Wonders never cease: 100 Australian engineering achievements (Barton, Australian Capital Territory: Institution of Engineers, Australia, 2019), 236 pp. p.32. Details
  • Institution of Engineers, Australia. Sydney Division. Engineering Heritage Committee, The Historic Engineering Plaques of Australia (Milsons Point, New South Wales: The Institution of Engineers, Australia, 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 (Barton, Australian Capital Territory: Institution of Engineers, Australia, 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 (Barton, Australian Capital Territory: Institution of Engineers, Australia, 2001), p. 259.,;dn=521182246276277;res=IELENG. Details

McCarthy, G.J.