Browse Entries

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

  • Trove

Biographical entry Kirkby, Edward Hope (1853 - 1915)

31 December 1853
28 July 1915
New South Wales, Australia
Inventor and Electrical engineer


Edward Hope Kirkby was a pioneer of the introduction of radio services to Australia, and a major contributor to fire protection and X-Ray development in Australia. He was an avid inventor of electrical devices including the automatic clockwork fire brigade alarm transmitter, Street Fire Alarm System, Watchman's telltale clock, auxiliary fire call points, door release magnets, clockwork time switches, and the Kirkby patented alarm that connected to the Grinnell sprinkler system. He also designed and installed the communications and switchboards for connecting the fire system to the fire brigade, built the Shaw Wireless Works at Randwick and was the official timekeeper to the Australian Jockey Club designing and constructing their automatic timekeeping system.


Edward Hope Kirkby was born on New Years Eve 1853 on board the ship SS Hope just 16 days out of Port Phillip. The family settled in Sandhurst (Bendigo) where he was educated and started his watchmaker jeweller business. He moved to Williamstown in Victoria and then to New South Wales in about 1906 where he built the Shaw Wireless Works. These works built most of the radio equipment for the Coastal Radio Service. In 1908 Kirkby patented an improved apparatus for conveying an alarm from premises where sprinklers are installed to a distant station - this was the first sprinkler alarm for fire protection in Australia. His devices were made under licence by Wormald Bros. Within twelve months of Roentgen discovered X-Ray, Kirkby (1895) had built a fully operational X-Ray apparatus which he experimented on at the Williamstown Hospital to test the machine's practical uses.

Published resources


Annette Alafaci