WARREN, William Henry (1852-1926)

WARREN, William Henry (1852-1926)
was born at Bristol, England in 1852, and was trained at the Royal College of Science, Dublin, and Queen's College, Manchester. He had a brilliant scholastic career winning the Whitworth scholarship and the Society of Arts technological scholarship. Entering the service of the London and North-Western Railway Company in 1872, he spent five years at its workshops at Wolverton. He came to Australia in 1881 and entered the public works department at Sydney, where he was in charge of the supervision of roads, bridges and sewerage. In 1883 he was appointed lecturer in engineering at the university of Sydney, and a year later was made professor of the new department. He held this position for 42 years and built up a great engineering school. He was not, however, content merely to look after his own department. He published in 1892, Australian Timbers, a comparatively short treatise, but illustrated with many maps and diagrams, and in 1894 he brought out his most important work, Engineering Construction in Iron, Steel and Timber, of which the third edition in two volumes was published in 1921, vol. I, Engineering Construction in Steel and Timber, vol. II, Engineering Construction in Masonry and Concrete. Warren was also doing much work for the government, in 1885 he sat on the royal commission on railway bridges, and in 1892 was a member of the committee of inquiry on Baldwin locomotives. Later he was chairman of the electric tramways board and was on the automatic brakes board. For many years he was consulting engineer to the government of New South Wales. He was for some years a member of the council of the Royal Society of New South Wales, was president in 1892 and 1902, was first president of the Institute of Engineers of Australia, Australian representative of the Institute of Engineering in Great Britain, and a member of the council of the International Society for the Testing of Materials. During the 1914-18 war he conducted more than 10,000 tests of munition steel. He resigned his professorship at the end of 1925 and was made emeritus professor. Little more than a week later he died suddenly at Sydney on 9 January 1926. He married in early life and was survived by a son.
In private life Warren was much interested in music, golf, and bull-dogs. His kindly personality endeared him to his students and colleagues, and his reputation as an expert in his own subject spread far beyond Australia. He took his full share in the administrative work of the university, was dean of the faculty of science for some years from 1908, and later was dean of the faculty of engineering and chairman of the professorial board. In addition to the books mentioned Warren wrote more than 50 papers of which 17 were read before the Royal Society of New South Wales. He was a member of the Society of American Engineers, and was given the honorary degree of LL.D. by the university of Glasgow.
The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, 11 January 1926; Journal and Proceedings, Royal Society of N.S.W., 1926, p. 9; Calendar of the University of Sydney, 1926.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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