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Biographical entry Blackbourn, John (1842 - 1911)

CE AssocMInstCE

26 May 1842
Dover, Kent, England
7 January 1911
St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Fortifications engineer and Railway engineer


John Blackbourn was the Defence Engineer, Public Works Department, Colony of Victoria, and after Federation, the Defence Engineer for the Commonwealth of Australia. He was responsible for the construction of all the colonial Port Phillip Heads Fortifications (Fort Queenscliffe, Fort Swan Island, Fort Nepean) as well as the design and construction of Princess Royal Fort, King George Sound, Albany, Western Australia, including the installation of the hydro-pneumatic "Disappearing" guns.



- 1863
Career position - Apprenticed to engineers Rowland Mason Ordish and William Henry Le Feurve, Westminster ENG
1863 - 1865
Career position - Assistant engineer, Ordish and Le Feuvre
1865 - 1866
Career position - Design engineer, Millwall Docks, London, under William Wilson MInstCE
1866 - 1869
Career position - Resident engineer, Limehouse Basin improvements, London, England, under Edwin Thomas MInstCE
1870 - 1871
Career position - Assistant contractor's manager, Devon and Somerset Railway, England
September 1871 - May 1872
Career position - Contractor's engineer, Cairo and St. Louis Railway, USA
May 1872 - June 1874
Career position - Engineer-in-charge fortifications, Fort Point, San Francisco, United States Army Corp of Engineers
June 1874 - November 1875
Career position - Assistant engineer, Roads and Bridges Department, Victoria, Australia
5 November 1874
Career event - Granted Certificate of Competency as Engineer and Surveyor (CE), (1st Class Cert A02), Shires Statute and Boroughs Statute 1869 VIC
1875 - 1878
Career position - Resident engineer, Port Wakefield and Blyth Railway, Port Wakefield and Kadina Railway, South Australia, under Henry Coathupe Mais MInstCE
Career position - County engineer, Waipawa, New Zealand
September 1879 - March 1882
Career position - Private practice, Melbourne
March 1882 - 1884
Career position - Military Surveyor, Public Works Department Victoria, assistant to Major Peter Scratchley RE
1884 - 1901
Career position - Engineer-in-charge, Defence Works Branch, Public Works Department, Victoria
15 June 1891
Career event - Applied (unsuccessfully) Engineer-in-chief, Metropolitan Board of Works, Melbourne
1 December 1891
Career event - Associate Member (AssocMInstCE), Institution of Civil Engineers
1896 - 1898
Career position - Engineer, Princess Royal Fort, King George Sound, Western Australia
1 October 1901 - 25 May 1907
Career position - Superintendent of Works, Public Works Branch, Department of Home Affairs, Commonwealth of Australia
Life event - Buried, Boroondara Cemetery, Victoria


Published resources


See also

  • Alsop, Peter F. B. ed., Nineteenth century engineers in the colony of Victoria (Geelong North: Peter F B Alsop, 2002). Details
  • Ferguson, J. M., 'Australian Defence Forces: The Defence of Port Phillip Heads 1859-1945', in Eleventh National Conference on Engineering Heritage: Federation Engineering a Nation; Proceedings (Barton, Australian Capital Territory: Institution of Engineers, Australia, 2001), pp. 149-151.,;dn=520772320908597;res=IELENG. 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.22 Princess Royal Battery and Magazine, Albany, W.A. Details

Ken McInnes