World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Thomas Higinbotham

Article Id: WHEBN0022625174
Reproduction Date:

Title: Thomas Higinbotham  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Outer Circle railway line, George Christian Darbyshire
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Thomas Higinbotham

Thomas Higinbotham (1819 – 5 September 1880), engineer and civil servant, was born in Dublin, the third son of Henry Higinbotham, merchant, and his wife Sarah, née Wilson.

Education and training

Educated in Dublin at Castle Dawson School and the Royal Dublin Society House, Higinbotham moved to London about 1839 initially working for a firm that promoted railway companies, and often appeared before parliamentary committees on railways, then as an engineer on British railroads, where he gained high repute in his profession.[1] In about 1838-9 he moved to London and entered the office of Sir William Cubitt, who was mentor to several Victorian railway engineers. Subsequently he was appointed as assistant-engineer of the South Eastern Railway, between Dover and Canterbury. Afterwards Sir Wm. Cubitt, who was advising engineer to the Great Northern Railway Company, had him appointed as resident engineer of that railway He was elected a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers on 7 February 1854.[2]

Migration to Australia

He moved to Melbourne, Australia in 1857, living with his eldest brother George's household in Melbourne. He never married.

In 1860 became engineer-in-chief of the Victorian Railways replacing the first engineer George Christian Darbyshire. He supervised the surveying and construction of all new Victorian lines and championed various rail improvements including city station locations, construction of Melbourne's outer-circle railway and adaptations to permit unbroken rail traffic between Sydney and Melbourne. He was removed from office in January 1878 by the Berry government and replaced by Robert Watson but invited by the South Australian, Tasmanian and New Zealand governments to report on their railway systems.

Final year

In March 1880 the Service government reappointed him engineer-in-chief of the Victorian railways, but the ministry soon fell and he was unhappy under its successor. He had decided to resign but died in his sleep on 5 September, to be replaced as Engineer-in-Chief by William Elsdon.[3]

His long standing and status in the department was rewarded on his retirement by a sumptuous banquet and presentation.



  • Wettenhall, R. L. 'Higinbotham, Thomas (1819–1880)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, Melbourne University Press, 1972, pp 397–398.
  • Cumming, D.A. Some Public Works Engineers in Victoria in the Nineteenth Century Technology Report No. TR-85/10. August 1985.
  • 'Obituary: Mr. Thomas Higinbotham, M.I.C.E.', Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, vol 17, 1880, pp 91–92;
  • 'Obituary' The Age (Melbourne), 6 Sept 1880;

Contemporary Images - [1] [2]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.