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Charles Campbell Downes

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Charles Campbell Downes (1837-1887)

1867 Death of his wife at Bombay, the only daughter of the late Lieut-Colonel Dowse, Royal Artillery.[1]

1888 Obituary [2]

CHARLES CAMPBELL DOWNES was born on the 16th of May, 1837.

Having served a regular pupilage with his uncle, Mr. William Downes, he went out to India in 1856, and thence to Australia, engaging himself in survey and other similar work.

While in Australia, he acquired a practical knowledge of goldmining at the diggings.

In 1859, he was engaged as an assistant engineer on the Jubbulpur line of the East Indian Railway, and upon the suspension of these works, was, in 1861, transferred to the North-West Provinces section, where he held the post of Chief Storekeeper of the engineering and locomotive departments till 1864.

Towards the end of that year, he became Resident Engineer in charge of the railway, mines, and estate of the Quebrada Land, Railway, and Mining Company, in Venezuela, South America, where he conducted the surveys and construction of the line of railway, and the development of the mines; until, from want of capital, these works were suspended in 1866.

In November of that year, having failed in obtaining the agency in Bombay of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, he took charge of the store department of that line up to the autumn of 1868, when he returned home, and, until the end of 1874, practised in London.

In January, 1875, Mr. Downes was selected to proceed to Venezuela, South America, to make a report upon the Bolivar Railway and Aroa mines.

Upon his return to England, he was appointed Chief Engineer and Agent in Venezuela of the Bolivar Railway and New Quebrada Mining Companies. This appointment he held up to August, 1878. He may, therefore, be considered as the engineer who surveyed and constructed the first railway in the Republic of Venezuela, with which he had, since 1874, been very much identified. He received from the President of the republic the decoration of the Order of Simon Bolivar, in recognition of services rendered to the country, in the progress and welfare of which he took great interest.

From 1878 to the end of 1880, he was engaged on professional work in London; from 1881 to 1852, on gold-mines in Venezuelan Guiana; and from 1883 to the time of his death, he was frequently abroad, in South America and elsewhere, reporting upon railways and mining enterprises. His last trip was in connection with a gold-mining property in San Domingo.

He had considerable experience in gold and copper mining; more especially the former, in which he was engaged at various periods, both at the Australian diggings and on the quartz-veins of Venezuelan Guiana.

Mr. Downes was elected an Associate on the 6th of February, 1866, and on the creation of the Associate Member class, was transferred to that grade.

He died at St. Thomas, West Indies, on the 22nd of September, 1887.

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