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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Richardson, Hon. Edward

< The Dictionary of Australasian Biography

Richardson, Hon. Edward, C.M.G., was born in London in 1831, and was educated at the City of London School. He served his apprenticeship as a civil engineer on the London and South-Western Railway, and as a mechanical engineer on the Great Southern and Western Railway of Ireland. He went out to Melbourne in 1852, and was at once employed in the service of the Victorian Government as engineer in the roads and bridges department. In 1855 he retired from the Government service, and commenced the business of contractor, and carried out several large railway and other works. He joined the first volunteer corps that was raised in the colony, and rose from the ranks to the position of captain in the Volunteer Horse Artillery. He left Victoria in 1861 to carry out an important railway contract in New Zealand, and, in partnership with Mr. George Holmes, constructed the Lyttelton and Christchurch Railway, including the celebrated Moorhouse tunnel. He was elected a member of the Canterbury Provincial Council, representing Lyttelton in 1870, and in 1871 was returned to the House of Representatives for the city of Christchurch. He remained a member of the Provincial Council till the provinces were abolished in 1876. Mr. Richardson was appointed Minister for Public Works in Oct. 1872, and held that office in the Waterhouse, Fox, Vogel, Pollen, and Atkinson administrations till Jan. 1877, when he was compelled, through ill-health produced by overwork, to resign. He was created C.M.G. in 1879 in recognition of his services to the colony in connection with the carrying out of the public works policy inaugurated by Sir Julius Vogel. He was again Minister for Public Works in the Stout-Vogel Government from Sept. 1884 till the Ministry resigned in Oct. 1887. Mr. Richardson remained member of the House of Representatives till 1890, but did not seek re-election at the general election in that year. He has been a member of the Mechanical Engineers' Institution of England since 1862.