National Library of Australia
View Catalogue Record
The collection comprises typescripts of many articles and speeches, contracts, tenders, specifications and plans of major engineering works, correspondence, newspaper cuttings, photographs and printed material.
Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn2631747).
Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of John Job Crew Bradfield, National Library of Australia, MS 4712, [series and/or file number]'.
The papers of J.J.C. Bradfield were donated by his son, Dr K.N.E. Bradfield of Port Moresby, in 1973 and 1975.
John Job Crew Bradfield was born in Sandgate, Queensland on the 26 December 1867. He was educated at Ipswich State School, Ipswich Grammar School and the University of Sydney, where he graduated as a Bachelor of Engineering in 1889. In 1891 he married Edith Jenkins. They had six children.
In 1891 Bradfield joined the New South Wales Department of Public Works as a temporary draftsman, becoming permanent in 1895. He was involved in such major projects as the Cataract Dam and Burrunjuck Dam. In 1909 he became assistant engineer and in 1913 he was appointed chief engineer for metropolitan railway construction. He went overseas in 1914 to study railway construction and in the next few years wrote many papers advocating the electrification of suburban railways. Work commenced on the underground railway in 1923 and the first stations were opened in 1926.
In 1922 Bradfield was sent overseas to inquire into tenders for a cantilever bridge. The 1922 Sydney Harbour Bridge Act provided for either a cantilever or an arch bridge. In 1924 Bradfield recommended that the tender of Dorman Long & Co be accepted and for eight years he represented the Government in its dealings with the contractors. In 1924 he received the first doctorate of science in engineering at Sydney University for his thesis on electric railways and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened on 19 March 1932. Bradfield retired from the Public Service in the following year.
In 1934 Bradfield was appointed consulting engineer for the design and construction of the Story Bridge in Brisbane, which was opened in 1940. He helped to design the University of Queensland at St Lucia. In his later years he advocated ambitious schemes to irrigate western Queensland and central Australia. He was a councillor of the Institution of Engineers, Australia (1920-24), a member of the Senate of the University of Sydney (1913-43), and a member of the Australian National Research Council.
Bradfield died in Sydney on 23 September 1943.
Series 1 contains typescript copies of many of Bradfield's lectures and other writings, mainly about Sydney. Examples include, 'Sydney –Past Present and Future' (presented to the London Town Planning Institute in 1922), 'The Sydney Harbour Bridge and City Railway' (presented at the Mosman Town Hall in 1926), 'Population and transportation problems of the city of Sydney' (presented to the Town Planning Association of NSW 1916), 'Murrumbidgee Irrigation Scheme, Part 1, Burrinjuck Dam, weirs and regulators, main canals' (presented at Queensland University in 1918), 'Engineering developments in NSW since the inauguration of the Commonwealth' (presented at the P.N. Russell Engineering School, Sydney University in 1920).
In 1924 Bradfield received the first doctorate of science in engineering at the Sydney University for his thesis on electric railways and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The typescript lectures are in exercise books in numerical order (1-78). Numbers 8,9,16,17,18,30,69 and 74 have not been received. No. 35 Index to Papers appears to be a draft to the lecture index. There are some discrepancies between the index in file one and the numbers that appear on the typescripts.
In 1913 Bradfield was appointed chief engineer for metropolitan railway construction. He wrote many papers advocating the electrification of suburban railways. In 1923 work commenced on the underground railway and the first stations were opened in 1926.
Series 2 contains a bound typescript of the Index to the History of the Construction of the City Railway and notes, pamphlets and reprints of articles by Bradfield. There are two different typescripts, both entitled 'The city railway'.
From 1924 Bradfield worked as the Government representative in dealing with the Sydney Harbour Bridge contractors, Dorman Long & Co. Bradfield is usually regarded as the designer of the bridge but from time to time his claim has been challenged. In 1922 the Sydney Harbour Bridge Act paved the way for bridge construction. The material in this series includes contract drafts, a contract tender report, legislation, bridge design plans, Bradfield's broadcasts, congratulatory letters (including a poem by Dame Mary Gilmore), and ceremonial invitations and speeches (including a copy of an address by A.P. Campbell on the opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge).
(Stored in Map Drawer 25)
In 1934 Bradfield was appointed consulting engineer for the design and construction of the Brisbane River Bridge (also known as the Story Bridge). This series comprises a set of bound typescript papers relating to Bradfield's appointment, financial estimates, survey reports, conditions of contract, design specifications and detail maps, photographs and bridge sketches.
Series 5 consists of material relating to Bradfield's other bridge projects which include a contract for the Kempsey Timber Bridge (1897) and newspaper cuttings, plans and correspondence about the Hobart Derwent Bridge and the Auckland Bridge.
The material for the St Lucia Bridge, Brisbane, consists of design details and plans.
In his later life Bradfield's research focused on 'Devising schemes to develop Australia's fertile but arid hinterland intoa veritable garden of Eden by the miracle of water conservation and irrigation.' The research material includes rainfall figures, newpaper clippings, photographs, maps and correspondence relating to schemes to irrigate western Queensland and central Australia.
Bradfield's other main projects include the Barren Jack Dam (1908) the Cataract Dam, two Highways proposals (Warringah and Quay), St. Lucia University, Brisbane (1936), Alpha Oil Shale (includes correspondence with R.K. Dobbie, Florence Taylor), and the manufacture of aluminium in Australia (1940) which includes Bradfield's letter to F.M.Forde asking for Government backing for the aluminium project.
The personal documents in this series include certificates; correspondence with J.A. Lyons about Commonwealth Government works; correspondence on the award of Bradfield's doctorate; correspondence on the award of the Telford Gold Medal in 1934 for his paper 'The Sydney Harbour Bridge and approaches'; a memorandum on his appointment to Department of Public Works (1915); photographs of family members and copies of Bradfield's obituary and related articles about his death in newpapers and journals.
Miscellaneous papers include cuttings, pamphlets, a letter about the Niagara Arch and an extract from Indian Engineering (1920). There are three elephant folio pockets of miscellaneous maps. The folio boxes contain published material on engineering, a plan of trees planted in Canberra by the Institute of Engineers and a box of glass slides about the Wura Water Scheme and prehistoric animals.