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George Julius

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Sir George A. Julius (c1873-1946)

1947 Obituary [1]

"Sir GEORGE JULIUS, Kt., whose death occurred at Sydney on 28th June 1946, at the age of seventy-three, was an illustrious Australian. His contributions to engineering and science, from both professional and administrative aspects, were outstanding. He was one of the great nation builders of the Commonwealth.

Born in Norwich, England, he went to Australia when eleven. Afterwards he went to New Zealand where his father later became Anglican Archbishop and Primate of New Zealand. Sir George obtained his B.E. at Canterbury College. In 1896 he joined the West Australian Government Railways and, whilst chief draughtsman, made extensive tests of "The Physical Characteristics of Australian Hard Woods", his report on which becoming a standard handbook. In 1906 he established a consulting practice in Sydney, later taking in partners to form the firm Julius, Poole, and Gibson. He was senior partner until his death.

During forty years, he and his firm designed and supervised many large works and were frequently retained by Commonwealth and State Governments as advisers on national works, His ability, zeal, and disinterested service to engineering associations soon found notable recognition. He was President of the Engineering Association of New South Wales for three years, and of the Electrical Association of New South Wales for two years. As an active worker for amalgamation of State associations which combined to form The Institution of Engineers, Australia, in 1919, he became, and remained, a councillor for twenty years; was president in 1925; and chairman of important committees, contributing much to the strength of the Institution in its formative years. In 1929 the Institution of Engineers awarded him the Peter Nicoll Russell Memorial Medal—the highest honour it could bestow—and in 1943 elected him one of its three Honorary Members. Sydney University had, in 1918, admitted him ’’ad eundem gradum’’ B.E.

In 1939 Melbourne University awarded him the Kernot memorial medal, and New Zealand University the honorary degree D.Sc. A keen advocate of the formation of the Australian Commonwealth Standards Association, he was appointed Vice-Chairman in 1922 and Chairman in 1925, holding this position in the original and the reconstructed association until 1939, when he retired. His was a great contribution to the organization which to-day is an indispensable national institution. He was more intimately known to the scientific world as first Chairman of the Commonwealth Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, in which high post he served for twenty years when he retired; as Chairman of the Australian National Research Council from 1932 to 1937; and Chairman of the Army Inventions Division during the war. In these national activities he played the most conspicuous part, bringing to them a high degree of administrative ability and an unusually broad and highly practical engineering mind. To-day the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is also an indispensable national institution, Commonwealth and State Governments keenly co-operating with private enterprise to advance Australia scientifically. It is largely a monument to its first leader. Sir George delighted in solving mechanical problems. To many, his invention of the complex mechanical equipment for racecourse totalisators, now in use in many parts of the world, is one of his best known achievements. The use to which this invention was put was of far less interest to him than the device itself, which is publicly acknowledged as a most ingenious invention. His hobby was to work with mind and hands in his model workshop, where, among many things, he made a model city embracing innumerable working devices which have given pleasure to countless old and young. Sir George was elected a member of the Institution in 1912 and was Chairman of the Australian Advisory Committee for many years."

D. F. J. Harricks, M.I.Mech.E.

1946 Obituary [2]

1946 Obituary [3]

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