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Alfred Joseph Goldsmith

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Alfred Joseph Goldsmith (1848-1928) of John Walker and Co , Union Foundry and Shipbuilding Works, Maryborough, Queensland.


1929 Obituary [1]

ALFRED JOSEPH GOLDSMITH, son of Joseph Goldsmith, was born in London on the 19th September, 1848. His family having emigrated to Australia in 1854, he was educated at Sydney; and after a course of private tuition he entered, in 1862, the works of Messrs. P. N. Russell and Company, engineers and shipbuilders, of Sydney, New South Wales, and served an apprenticeship of 6 years to that firm. He then remained as mechanical designer and draughtsman for a further 3 years, during which he was engaged on the design of railway rolling stock, industrial machinery, and dredgers.

In 1871 he entered the Harbours and Rivers Department of New South Wales, under Mr. E. O. Moriarty, M. Inst. C.E., and was engaged, with Mr. F. T. Rose, on the design of a double-ladder dredger for the Port of Newcastle.

He joined the Harbours and Rivers Department of Queensland in August, 1874, on the invitation of Mr. Rose, who was then Engineer for Harbours and Rivers, and in December of that year, on Mr. Rose’s death, he was appointed Assistant Engineer of Harbours and Rivers, having charge of the Department until the arrival, 6 months later, of the new Engineer-in-Chief, Mr. W. D. Nisbet, M. Inst. C.E.

While in Queensland he designed, and supervised the construction of two large steam hopper-barges and various other vessels, and he also had charge of improvement works on the Brisbane and Mary rivers. He superintended the construction of dredging plant to the value of $240,000, and furnished reports, estimates, and plans for numerous works, among which may be mentioned the Government wharves at Petrie’s Bight, wharves at Bundaberg, Maryborough, and Cooktown, and the graving-dock at South Brisbane.

Resigning his appointment in 1881, he became managing partner of John Walker and Company (afterwards Walkers, Ltd.), engineers and shipbuilders, of Maryborough, with which firm he remained until 1892, when he practised privately in Brisbane.

In 1903 he rejoined Walkers, Ltd., and remained with the firm as a director until his death, being engaged principally upon the building of dredging plant and steam vessels. At the same time he was occupied with various other interests, being consulted by numerous State Departments and authorities.

He superintended, under Mr. A. B. Brady, M. Inst. C.E., the Under-Secretary for Works, the construction of bridges over the Mary and Burnett rivers. For his Paper1 on “The Burnett and Kennedy Bridges, Bundaberg, Queensland,” describing some of these works, he was awarded a Telford premium. As Chief Engineer of the Bundaberg Harbour Board he laid out and supervised the construction of training-walls in the Burnett river; and he acted, first as Chief Engineer and later as consulting engineer, to the Rockhampton Harbour Board. He was for several years the special advocate for the Iron Trades Employers’ Association on the Board of Trade and Arbitration, and in 1898 he was appointed a member of a committee set up to inquire into the safety of locomotives.

He was elected an Associate of The Institution in 1879, and transferred to the class of Members in 1883. He served for a number of years, first as Honorary Secretary and Treasurer, and later as Chairman, on the Advisory Committee of the Council in Queensland ; and he was the representative Member of the Council in Australia from 1916 to 1918. He married, in 1873, Sarah, daughter of Mr. Stephen Forster, of Sydney, N.S.W.

He died at Brisbane on the 4th June, 1928, being survived by his widow, three sons, and a daughter.


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