Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Engineer and surveyor. William Bennett, the eldest son of Ignatius Bennett of Rathmines, Dublin, was born on 4 July 1824. He was articled to P. Griffin who was managing the completion of the boundary survey of Ireland under RICHARD GRIFFITH RICHARD GRIFFITH . He was employed on territorial and railway surveys until 1845, when he was engaged on the survey of the proposed railway line from Limerick to Belfast. Early in 1846 he entered the Irish Board of Works in the Drainage Commission, and was employed on surveys and works of the Kenmare, Tolka and Inny districts. In 1847 he was transferred to Co. Mayo, where he took charge of works in the Castlebar and Balla district under FREDERICK BARRY FREDERICK BARRY . For several months when he was still only twenty-two, he acted as district engineer in charge of all the drainage works in Co. Mayo, which employed four or five thousand men. On their completion he was offered an appointment in New Grenada to report on the navigation of the Magdalena River. From South America he proceeded to England to work on the proposed embankment of the Thames and then returned to Ireland to assist Barry with railway plans for the north and west of the country.

In 1853 Bennett returned to Panama, proceeded to New Zealand the following year and in 1855 entered the survey department of New South Wales. Apart from a twelve- month absence in 1861-2, he spent the rest of his life in New South Wales, where he became commissioner and chief engineer to the roads department of Sydney as well as being a member of various commissions. He retired because of heart trouble in June 1889 and died three months later on 29 September.


All information in this entry is from Min.Proc.Inst.CE 99 (1889-90), Pt. 1, 346-350, which goes into considerable further detail about Bennett's career in Australia.