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Charles Lambert Depree

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Charles Lambert Depree (1845-1893)

1894 Obituary [1]

CHARLES LAMBERT DEPREE, eldest son of Mr. Charles Templer Depree, Solicitor, was born in London on the 19th of February, 1845.

After commencing his engineering education in the Applied Sciences Department at Ring’s College, where he obtained several prizes, he was articled in 1864 for three years to 31r. John Arthur Wright, under whom he was engaged on the construction of the Kidwelly Branch of the Carmarthen and Cardigan Railway, and subsequently on that of the Doncaster and Gainsborough line.

He was next entrusted, in 1868, by Mr. W. Banks of Paris with the charge of a French process for coppering iron armour-plated ships.

In the following year Mr. Depree determined to try his chance in the colonies and, armed with several testimonials and letters of introduction, proceeded to Queensland. He arrived there, however, at a time when the colony was still suffering from the effects of a financial crisis and public works were at a standstill.

After passing the Government examination and qualifying as a Crown Lands Surveyor, Mr. Depree opened an office in Brisbane as a Civil Engineer and Surveyor. About that time he introduced into the colony concrete as a building material, having first erected a house for himself to demonstrate its advantages. He at once obtained a contract for the extension of one of the State asylums, which was most satisfactorily carried out.

In July, 1871, Mr. Depree entered the Government service, his first work in which was to design and take charge of the improvement of Ross Creek, Townsville. In the following year he reported upon some obstructions in the upper reaches of the 31ary River and prepared a scheme for their removal, the chief feature of which was a system of locks. From that time until 1875 he acted first as Assistant Engineer, and subsequently as Resident Engineer, on the Brisbane extension of the Southern and Western Railway, under Mr. Henry C. Stanley and Mr. J. Thorneloe Smith.

From 1875 to 1877 he was Resident Engineer in charge of the working survey of the Warwick and Stanthorpe Railway to the border of New South Wales, a distance of 42 miles; and from 1878 to 1880 he occupied the position of District Engineer in charge of the construction of the Maryborough and Gympie Railway, about 60 miles in length.

For the next three or four years Mr. Depree was engaged on trial- and working-surveys of several lines in Southern Queensland, and in 1884 became Assistant Inspecting Surveyor of the Southern Division of the Railway Survey Branch. Two years later he was promoted to the post of Assistant Engineer and placed in charge of the Southern and Central Division of the Railway Survey Branch. In that capacity he was responsible, immediately under the Chief Engineer, Mr. Stanley, for the whole of the railway surveys in the amalgamated division. Unfortunately, however, anxiety and pressure of work caused his health to break down.

In 1890 he obtained twelve months’ leave and came to England, hoping to derive benefit from rest and change in a more bracing climate. He consulted several eminent physicians, who all told him that a long rest in a colder climate than that of Queensland was absolutely essential for the restoration of his health. Unfortunately this change had not the desired effect and, after a residence in this country of a little more than three years, he died at Southport on the 30th of August, 1803.

Mr. Depree was unostentatiously kind and sympathetic in all relationships of life and by his conscientious and honourable conduct gained universal respect, while his frank and good-natured disposition endeared him to a large circle of friends in all parts of the colony. He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 31st of May, 1881, and was transferred to the class of Member on the 15th of November, 1889.

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