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Jerome Burns

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Jerome Burns (1827-1894)

1894 Obituary [1]

JEROME BURNS was born near Marlow, CO. Cork, on the 25th of January, 1827.

After being educated at a commercial school in Cork, he served a pupilage to Messrs. Leahy, engineers, of that city. The early morning was for some time devoted to the study of mathematics - a fact to which be would refer in after life with much satisfaction.

Not long after the expiration of his articles he was fortunate enough to obtain an appointment as an assistant in the office of the late Sir John Macneill where he remained for three years. On leaving Sir John Macneill he acted for two years and a half as Resident Engineer on the Killarney Junction Railway.

Mr. Burns was next employed for about two years under the Irish Board of Works on river-surveying, reclamation works and the estimation of flood discharges.

He then obtained in 1855 an appointment as an Assistant Engineer on the Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway. He was promoted to Resident Engineer in January, 1858, and to Deputy Chief Engineer in February, 1860. For the first three years he was engaged chiefly on construction works north of the Tapti River.

From the beginning of 1859, however, when the Company obtained possession of the necessary land from the Government, his work lay in the construction of the line for about a hundred miles south of the Tapti. This included the partial erection of the Tapti and Mindola iron bridges, the former having thirty spans of 60 feet each, and the latter twelve spans of 60 feet each; the superstructure of both being of the Warren girder type.

On leaving the service of the Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway Company in January, 1861, Mr. Burns secured a contract for maintaining and watering the streets of Bombay which occupied him for about two years.

Having obtained an independence he returned to Ireland and took up his residence at Cork. At Belvelly near that town he established extensive works for the manufacture of bricks and tiles and for some years supplied the Government with those materials for barracks and other buildings. As time went on, however, the demand for bricks and tiles diminished, and Mr. Burns suffered heavy losses from these works and from various speculations in which he had embarked.

In 1882 he went to South America for the Amazon Steam Navigation Company to report as to the practicability of constructing a pier at Para on the Amazon River, which however was found to be impossible.

At the beginning of 1885 Mr. Burns sailed for Australia in the hope of retrieving his fortune in the colonies. He could not succeed, however, in obtaining regular employment, his age being above the limit prescribed by the various colonial government services. For a short time he was engaged on railway work in Tasmania and subsequently on the construction of the Melbourne cable tramways. But of late years his work was confined to occasional reports for the government of Victoria in connection with various irrigation schemes.

Mr. Burns died at St Kilda, Melbourne, on the 14th of January, 1894, from pneumonia. His genial disposition and the courage with which he faced misfortune endeared him to many; and his want of success in life was due not to lack of ability, but in all probability to a restless temperament and a too sanguine disposition which led him into unfortunate speculations.

He was elected a Member of the Institution on the 29th of May, 1861.

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