John Bradfield (engineer)

John Bradfield (engineer)

John Job Crew Bradfield (December 26, 1867 - September 23, 1943) was an Australian engineer, best known as the designer of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Bradfield was born in Sandgate, Queensland, the youngest son of John Edward Bradfield (1823/4 - 1902) and Maria Crew (1828 - 1917). He received his early education in Ipswich, Queensland, attending Ipswich Grammar School before completing a Bachelor of Engineering degree in 1889 at the University of Sydney, and a Master of Engineering in 1896. In 1924 Bradfield received the first doctorate of science in engineering at the University of Sydney for his thesis on electric railways and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Other accomplishments include the design of the Story Bridge, Brisbane. He also designed the Cataract and Burrinjuck Dams.

In later years he developed the Bradfield Scheme (never implemented) for diverting some coastal rivers of Queensland onto the western side of the Great Dividing Range.

He married Edith Jenkins, daughter of John Ventris Jenkins, on 28th May 1891. They had five sons, including Keith Noel Everal (1910 - 2006) and Stanley George (1906 - 1951); and one daughter, Mary Margaret (1892 - 1984).

The Bradfield Highway and the Electorate of Bradfield are named after him.

Bradfield railway scheme

Bradfield had a grand vision for Sydney's railway system that has only been partly fulfilled. After joining the New South Wales Public Works Department in 1891, he submitted a report in 1915 calling for the electrification of the suburban railways, a city underground railway and the Harbour Bridge. World War 1 lead to the collapse of all three proposals, and it was not until 1922 that the Bridge Bill passed through Parliament, and 1923 until the first sod was turned on the city railway. [Spearritt, P. [,M1 "Sydney's Century: A History"] . Accessed 4 February, 2008.]

Bradfield's concept called for the construction of a network of underground city railway lines in association with the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and a new rail terminal, Central. A larger network of lines was proposed for the western, eastern and southern suburbs however most of these lines remained concepts only and have never been constructed. The Depression, and later World War 2, along with the growth of the motor car lead to passenger numbers in Bradfield's plan being grossly overestimated. Parts of the city underground were constructed and exist as the present day City Circle, with small sections built for the additional proposed city lines such as additional platforms at Wynyard and St James stations which have never been used for heavy rail transport. The underground city loop was constructed originally as a stub line to St James, and the line through Town Hall and Wynyard to the Harbour Bridge. It was not until 1955 that the loop was completed by the construction of Circular Quay station. A line to the eastern suburbs was eventually built, but along a different alignment to that envisaged by Bradfield, who proposed a line along Oxford Street.

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