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MURRAY, George Thomas, (1859 - 1947)

G. T. Murray

G. T. Murray (1859-1947). Past Presidents Album 1914-1966. IPENZ.

Born at Dunedin on 4 November 1859. He was educated at Oamaru Grammar School, and was dux of that school in 1876. During 1877 and 1878 he attended Otago University. As well, in August 1877, he entered the office of Barr and Oliver, civil engineers and surveyors, Dunedin, as a cadet. In December 1880, he qualified as an authorised surveyor. During the sessions of 1881 and 1882 he attended the engineering classes at Edinburgh University, particularly under Professors Fleming, Jenkin, Geikie, and Tait.

In 1882 he was engaged under Meik and Sons, harbour engineers, Edinburgh, in preliminary works in connection with the Forth Bridge, and on various other engineering works. In 1883 he joined the staff of Falkner and Tancred, contractors for the construction of 30 miles of the Didcot-Newbury and Southampton Railway, being stationed at Winchester. In 1884 he was with John Strain of Glasgow (subsequently president of the Institution of Civil Engineers) on railway works, but later in that year was recalled to the staff of Falkner and Tancred to assist in preparing a report on proposed railways for the Siamese Government. This entailed six months' exploratory work in the interior of Siam.

Returning to New Zealand he joined the Mines Department in July 1886, and carried out engineering surveys in Westland, Marlborough and Nelson Provinces. In 1889, for the Department of Lands he was engaged in the Pahiatua and Palmerston North districts on engineering surveys. From 1890 to 1901 he held the position of district road engineer at Wanganui, and from 1901 to 1913, from headquarters at New Plymouth, he supervised road and bridge works in the Taranaki and Te Kuiti districts. In 1913 from Stratford he supervised all railway, road, buildings, and other public works in those districts till July 1915, when he was transferred as staff engineer, Public Works Department, Wellington. In 1916 he became district engineer, Auckland, where he remained till February 1920, when he was against transferred to Wellington as inspecting engineer, Public Works Department. From 1922 to 1 June 1925, when he retired from the service on superannuation, Mr Murray was principally engaged on the preliminary work incidental to the inauguration of the Main Highways Board. He was a member of the first Board set up on 12 June 1923 and served on the Board until his retirement. His services actually terminated on 1 September 1925.

After that date he was engaged in private practice.

In 1895 Mr Murray was elected an associate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, London, having previously been a student of that Institution.

In 1914 he was elected a member of the New Zealand Society of Civil Engineers. He was a member of the Council of that Society for several years and occupied the presidential chair for the year 1930-31. He contributed several papers to the Proceedings.

From 1926 to 1945 he acted as honorary secretary to the Auckland Branch of the Society, continuing as honorary treasurer until his sudden death in 1947.

This biography comes from Newnham, W L, "Learning Service Achievement" New Zealand Institution of Engineers, 1971, pp 353/4

Refer also to:

  • Furkert, F W, "Early New Zealand Engineers", p 232
  • Lowe, Peter; "Murray, George Thomas, 1859 - 1947"; Essay M65, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Vol 3. (www.dnzb.govt.nz)