Global Day of Engineering

Today on Global Day of Engineering, I acknowledge the hard work and commitment of all engineers associated with the lock and weir construction. From the Engineer in Chief down to the assistant resident engineers at each lock site, the massive work was undertaken with intelligence and attention to detail, on structures which have stood the test of time. A number of Engineers associated with the Locks can be seen here: SA Water Flikr

From Chapter 2 of my book, ‘Harnessing the River Murray’:

Having passed the Murray Works Act (South Australia) in 1910, the South Australian Engineer-in-Chief (1909-1918), Graham Stewart, went to England and America early in 1911 in search of an eminent engineer to conduct surveys and draw plans for his state’s locks and weirs. The American expert, Major Edward Neele Johnston, assistant to the Chief Engineer of the United States, with his extensive experience in lock and dam construction, especially on the Ohio River, was engaged. In October 1913 Johnston’s report was tabled in South Australia’s parliament. South Australia’s Legislative Council then decided to proceed independently with the locking of the Murray as far as Wentworth, which would allow permanent navigation for 1,065 miles along the river with a minimum navigable depth of almost 6.5 feet.

Johnston had examined the various sites, sunk trial holes in the river to test suitable foundations, and made detailed drawings of the first lock. All that remained was to call for tenders. Johnston recommended appointing Robert C Cutting, a civil engineer with practical experience in lock building in America, as resident engineer for the first lock. Cutting arrived in 1914 and undertook the planning and start of the project, including the submission of large scale orders for heavy machinery and equipment from overseas and local sources. …

See State Records SA tweet here.