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Colonial Engineer: John Whitton, 1819-1898, and the Building of Australia's Railways

Lee, Robert

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ISBN 10: 0868404683 / ISBN 13: 9780868404684
Published by Univ of New South Wales, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., 2000
Condition: Very Good
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352 pages, ex-library in excellent clean condition. Bookseller Inventory # 104178

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Colonial Engineer: John Whitton, 1819-1898, ...

Publisher: Univ of New South Wales, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2000

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Edition: First Edition

Book Type: Ex-Library

About this title


Raised in the milieu of the great English pioneer railway engineers, George and Robert Stephenson, John Whitton conquered the Great Dividing Range in the 1860s, building transmontane lines by hand, laying them with rails of iron and with bridges of stone, before the use of dynamite and in some of the most remote and inhospitable terrain. - This book is the story of John Whitton's life and work. Like many in his profession, his origins were humble. His is a very Victorian story of social and material advancement through talent, will and mastery of production techniques. His achievement was such that, alone among engineers in Australia, he acquired an international reputation for his genius and his extraordinary achievements. - Few engineers have had so enormous or so lasting an impact as John Whitton; in many respects his railways determined patterns of settlement and development in New South Wales. - He was responsible for the building of 2131 miles (3431 km) of railway and in the process traversed terrain about as challenging as any railway engineer ever encountered. His most arduous tasks were undertaken early in his career, when railway technology was far from mature and involved pioneering techniques such as the use of zigzags to ascend mountains. - John Whitton built his railways on limited budgets and sometimes in the face of powerful opposition, which believed that the colony could not afford railways at all.

About the Author:

Robert Lee has taught history at the UNiversity of Western Sydney since 1979 and is director of the Centre for Asian Studies. He has published two major books, France and the Exploitation of China, 1885-1901: A Study in Economic Imperialism (1990) and The Greatest Public Work: The New South Wales Railways, 1848-1889 (1988), which won the 1991 Engineering Excellence Award in the Heritage and Engineering category. In 1999, he led a UNESCO mission to assess the potential for the Darjeelig Himalayan Railway in India as a World Heritage List.

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