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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Bennett, William Christopher

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Bennett, William Christopher, M.I.C.E., was employed as a pupil on various territorial and railway surveys and other works in Ireland from 1840 to 1845, and as assistant engineer in charge of drainage works, under the Board of Public Works in Ireland, from 1845 to 1852. During 1852-3 he was employed in reporting on the navigation of the Rhone and Saone, and making surveys and reports on the navigation of the Magdalena, with connecting canals, roads or railways, in New Grenada. Mr. Bennett was engaged on the International (French, American and English) Ship Canal Survey at Darien, in 1854, having charge of the English survey on the Pacific side in the absence of Mr. Forde, M.I.C.E., on which occasion Mr. Bennett received the thanks of the American Government for having, in conjunction with Lieut. Forsythe and a party from H.M.S. Virago, relieved Lieut. Strain, United States navy, and his missing exploring party, at no small personal risk. At the end of 1854 Mr. Bennett proceeded, viâ New Zealand, to New South Wales, and was for about ten months attached to the Survey Department as an assistant surveyor. In April 1856 he was appointed assistant engineer to the Commission for the Sewerage and Water Supply of Sydney; was engaged in the Railway Department, New South Wales, from Jan. to Sept. 1857, and was then transferred to the Department of Roads, which, as assistant engineer, and ultimately as engineer, he assisted Captain (afterwards Colonel) Martindale, C.B., R.E., in organising. Mr. Bennett left the colony for Europe in Jan. 1861, and on his return he was appointed, in Nov. 1862, commissioner and engineer-in-chief for roads, New South Wales, which office he occupied until a short time before his death, having been in addition occasionally employed on the western goldfields and narrow gauge railways, the water supply of Sydney, and the drainage of the Hunter River. Mr. Bennett died on Sept. 29th, 1889, at the age of sixty-five.