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An Independent Queensland Regional & Rural 

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(Cairns... Far North Queensland)


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Selwyn Johnston



One person, with the support of the community, can make a difference



John Job Crew Bradfield

John Job Crew Bradfield was born in Sandgate, Queensland on the 26 December 1867. He was educated at Ipswich State School, Ipswich Grammar School and the University of Sydney, where he graduated as a Bachelor of Engineering in 1889. 

In 1891 he married Edith Jenkins. They had six children. 

In 1891 Bradfield joined the New South Wales Department of Public Works as a temporary draftsman, becoming permanent in 1895. He was involved in such major projects as the Cataract Dam and Burrinjuck Dam. In 1909 he became assistant engineer and in 1913 he was appointed chief engineer for metropolitan railway construction. 

He went overseas in 1914 to study railway construction and in the next few years wrote many papers advocating the electrification of suburban railways. Work commenced on the underground railway in 1923 and the first stations were opened in 1926. 

In 1922 Bradfield was sent overseas to inquire into tenders for a cantilever bridge. The 1922 Sydney Harbour Bridge Act provided for either a cantilever or an arch bridge. In 1924 Bradfield recommended that the tender of Dorman Long & Co be accepted and for eight years he represented the Government in its dealings with the contractors. In 1924 he received the first doctorate of science in engineering at Sydney University for his thesis on electric railways and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

The Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened on 19 March 1932. Bradfield retired from the Public Service in the following year. 

In 1934 Bradfield was appointed consulting engineer for the design and construction of the Story Bridge in Brisbane, which was opened in 1940. He helped to design the University of Queensland at St Lucia. 

In his later years he advocated ambitious schemes to irrigate western Queensland and central Australia. 

He was a councillor of the Institution of Engineers, Australia (1920-24), a member of the Senate of the University of Sydney (1913-43), and a member of the Australian National Research Council. 

Bradfield died in Sydney on 23 September 1943.


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Written and Authorised by Selwyn Johnston, Cairns FNQ 4870