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Don Fraser

Don Fraser

Don Fraser retired from the University of NSW in 1992 where he was an Associate Professor in Structural Engineering.

He began his engineering career in 1949 as a cadet civil engineer with the New South Wales Government Railways.

After 15 years of practical experience with Government work and with structural consultants he joined the University of NSW in 1968 and gained his PhD in 1975.

For more than two decades he has taken an increasing interest in engineering history and heritage and has served a term as Chairman of the Institution of Engineer's National Committee on Engineering Heritage, now Engineering Heritage Australia.

His specialist topic is the history of bridges, particularly in New South Wales, and the interaction with political and social history.

During recent years as a Consultant he has prepared many bridge reports for State Rail, The Roads and Traffic Authority, Heritage Consultants plus Plaquing Nominations.

He has written a number of papers and two books, and given many talks on this subject at Conferences (local and international), Historical Societies and community organisations such as the U3A movement.

Paper: American Bridges in New South Wales 1870-1932

Abstract: New South Wales Government Railways and the Department of Public Works began with British technology, particularly for rail and road bridges such as the expensive iron lattice girders. Long-serving Engineers in-Chief, John Whitton and W C Bennett, applied their authority to exclude contemporary American bridge technology. However, by 1890 the merits of American bridges were well known and had economic appeal for Government funding. The effect was that in 1894 there was an abrupt and complete change to American Pratt truss bridges, which became the standard for the next fifty years. The first uniform application to railways was for the new standard gauge North Coast Railway, 1911-1932. They are now an historic class of bridges of high heritage significance. For road bridges, American Howe timber trusses were dominant post-1894 and 29 are on the State Heritage Register. Also, steel Pratt truss road bridges from this period are still in-service. This paper details the change to American bridge technology.

Sir Neil Cossons
Paul Davies
David Dolan
Wayne Johnson
Euan McQueen
Robert McWilliam
Duncan Waterson
David Beauchamp
Trevor Butler
Matthew Churchward
Andrew Cleland
Rachael Egerton
John Fitzmaurice
Don Fraser
John Gibson
Owen Graham
David Hamilton
Bill Harvey
Peter Holmes
Kevin Jones
Paul Mahoney
Tom Williamson
Peter Lowe
Peter Marquis-Kyle
Gavin McLean
Rob Merrifield
Owen Peake
Miles Pierce
John Porter
Nigel Ridgway
Tony Silke
Jim Staton
Richard Venus
Ian Walsh
Daniel Woo
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