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British Industrial History

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William Austin Zeal

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Sir William Austin Zeal (1830-1912), Australian railway engineer and politician, Senator for Victoria in the Parliament of Australia.

1830 December 5th. Born at Westbury, Wiltshire, the son of Thomas Zeal, a wine merchant later auctioneer, and his wife Ann Greenland.

Educated privately, Zeal obtained his diploma as a surveyor and engineer

1851 Living at 1 Hills Court, St. David's, Exeter: Thomas Whitaker (age 50 born Leeds), Surveyor. With his wife Martha Whitaker (age 49 born Broadhempstone) and their two sons George Whitaker (age 16 born Exeter) and Charles W. Whitaker (age 13 born Exeter). Also his sister Caroline Williams (age 40 born Broadhempstone) and his niece Caroline Williams (age 16 born Totnes). Also two surveyor apprentices William A. Zeal (age 20 born Westbury) and John Manley (age 19 born Bath). Two servants. [1]

1852 Emigrated to Melbourne

1853 Long letter to Wiltshire newspaper describing the situation in Melbourne area.[2]

Employed as an engineer in charge of railway construction by private contractors.

1863 Award ceremony for his success as chief engineer and manager for Cornish and Bruce on the Melbourne and Sandhurst Railway.[3]

Employed in the government service for some years.

1864 He was elected a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly for the Electoral district of Castlemaine

1912 March 11th. Died.


1912 Obituary [4]

SIR WILLIAM AUSTIN ZEL, K.C.M.G., born at Westbury, Wiltshire, in 1830, died on the 11th March, 1912, at Melbourne, Victoria.

Trained in England, he went to Victoria in 1853, where he constructed several railways and practised for many years as a consulting engineer in Melbourne.

Later, he entered political life, was President of the Legislative Council of Victoria from 1892 to 1901 and a senator of the Commonwealth Parliament from 1901 to 1907.

He was created K.C.M.G. in 1895.

Sir William Zeal was elected a Member of The Institution on the 24th May, 1887.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1851 Census
  2. Wiltshire Independent - Thursday 15 September 1853
  3. Wiltshire Independent - Thursday 28 May 1863
  4. 1912 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries