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British Industrial History

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Thomas Perham

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Thomas Perham (1840-1905)

1906 Obituary [1]

THOMAS PERHAM, born on the 19th June, 1840, was educated at the Bristol Grammar School, and, after serving a pupihge to Messrs. John Penn and Sons, of Greenwich, he left this country for New Zealand in 1864.

On arrival in the colony, Mr. Perham joined the Provincial Survey Department of Canterbury, and after serving several years as draughtsman and mining surveyor, he was appointed in 1870 Assistant Marine Surveyor under the New Zealand Government, in which capacity he made a hydrographic survey through the Fijian group, and designed harbour improvements for Levuka, Fiji, and Coromandel, Auckland.

In 1872 he joined the Public Works Department, and was engaged until 1885 in the design of bridges, wharves and other structures, and on surveys and improvement-works in connection with harbours and rivers in various parts of the colony. Subsequently for several years he engaged in private practice, but rejoined the department in 1893 as designing dsaughtsman.

In 1897 he was transferred to the Mines Department as Engineer for Water Conservation, in which capacity he designed the Eweburn dam, near Naseby, Otago, the largest dam constructed in New Zealand for supplying water to the mines, its holding capacity being approximately 500 million gallons. When the goldfields are worked out in course of time, the water will be made available for irrigation in a region where the average rainfall is exceptionally low.

Mr. Perham retired from the Government service shortly before his death, which occurred at Wellington on the 16th September, 1905.

He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 6th December, 1892.

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