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British Industrial History

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Ernest James Cochrane

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Ernest James Cochrane (1871-1917)

1918 Obituary [1]

ERNEST JAMES COCHRANE was born in 1871 and received his early education in England, completing it at high schools in Austria and Germany and by attending evening classes at Finsbury Technical College.

He went in 1890 as pupil to the Acme Electric Works, Chalk Farm, London, subsequently being engaged by Messrs. H. W. Hooper & Company of Hanover Square, London, and the Electric Construction Corporation of Wolverhampton.

In December 1895 he was appointed Chief Assistant Engineer in the employ of the Electric Supply Company of Western Australia at Coolgardie, subsequently becoming Resident Engineer and Manager.

In January 1900 he became Assistant Engineer to the Electric Supply Company of Victoria, afterwards being appointed Assistant Engineer and Manager and, later, Acting General Manager under power of attorney. Whilst with that Company he designed the lighting, power, and tramway undertakings of Fremantle, Bendigo, and Ballarat, superintending the erection of the works at Bendigo and Ballarat and later being manager of these undertakings.

In September 1909 he was appointed Chief Assistant Engineer in the Electric Light Department of Sydney, afterwards becoming Deputy General Manager, a position which he held until September 1915. This period marked the most rapid growth of the Sydney undertaking and Mr. Cochrane supervised both the design and the carrying out of the extensions.

In 1913 he paid a visit of several months to Europe and America, and returned to Australia with his knowledge of the latest practice in central station design brought up to date His health suffered owing to his excessive concentration on his work, and it was hoped that when in 1915 he became Engineer and Manager of the City Electric Light Company of Brisbane the lighter duties entailed by the smaller station at Brisbane would enable him to recover his health. From the day he joined this Company, however, until about four weeks before his death, in the summer of 1917, he worked unceasingly, both during business hours and also during the evenings, in connection with the conversion of the undertaking from a three-wire continuous-current system to a three-phase system.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution in 1896 and a Member in 1917.

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