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British Industrial History

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William Robson Coulthard

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William Robson Coulthard (1823-1866)

1823 Born in Gateshead, son of William and Margaret Coulthard[1]

1851 An engineer, visiting John England 55, attorney at law, in Sculcoates, Yorks; also in the household were Richard England 28, attorney, John England 27, engineer, Rosanna England 21, William England 19[2]

1857 of Morecombe, Lancs when he was proposed for membership of Inst Civil Engineers[3]

Died 1866


1869 Obituary [4]

MR. WILLIAM ROBSON COULTHARD commenced his professional career in the establishment of Messrs. Musgrave and Sons, Engineers, of Bolton, Lancashire, to which firm he was apprenticed.

After the expiration of his articles he was engaged on various public works in England for about two years.

He then received an appointment under Mr. Vignoles (V.P. Inst. C.E.), as one of the assistant engineers engaged in the erection of the suspension bridge for the Russian Government over the Dnieper, at Kieff, in Southern Russia, where he remained for three years.

In 1852 he emigrated to South Australia, and entered into business as an engineer and contractor in conjunction with Mr. J. England (M. Inst. C.E.). Amongst other works which they were engaged in may be mentioned the bridge over the Torrens, near the Company’s Mill, the bridge over the Wakefield at Auburn, and the erection of the jetty at Glenelg.

In August, 1860, Mr. Coulthard was appointed Resident Assistant Colonial Engineer in the South- Eastern District, after which time he resided at Mount Gambier, and had charge of all the works in that extensive district, including public buildings, roads, bridges, jetties, and drainage.

He built jetties at Port MacDonnell and Port Caroline, enabling both to become ports of shipment, and made good road-approaches to them and to Port Robe. While improving to a great extent the roads in the district, Mr. Coulthard also commenced an important system of drainage, by which many thousands of acres of agricultural land will, it is believed, be eventually reclaimed, and be brought into the market.

Mr. Coulthard was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 3rd of February, 1857.

His death took place at Adelaide, South Australia, whence he had gone for the benefit of his health, on the 3rd of January, 1866.

It was a matter of regret that so active and zealous an officer, who had accomplished so much at so small an outlay, should be removed at a time when his knowledge of the district, combined with the improved resources of the colony, would have enabled him to take a part in the advancement of the material resources of the country which was placed under his superintendence.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. BMD
  2. 1851 census
  3. civil engineer lists
  4. 1869 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries