Wellington Harbour Board Engineer - William Ferguson

1852 - 1935

William Ferguson was born in London. Ferguson trained as a mechanical engineer with Courtenay, Stephens Company and completed his apprenticeship with Ross, Walpole and Stephen’s foundry. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin and graduated with a MA in 1881, at the same time he worked at intervals including on waterworks, hydraulic engineering and railway projects.

In 1883 the Ferguson family moved to New Zealand, and in 1884 he was appointed engineer, secretary and (later) treasurer of the Wellington Harbour Board. From 1883 to 1908 Ferguson was responsible for the general management and operations of the board, as well as the design and installation of engineering works. The Dictionary of New Zealand biographies notes that “…Under Ferguson's organisational and financial guidance the port became recognised as one of the best equipped in the southern hemisphere.”

Beyond the Wellington Harbour Board, Ferguson also advised on engineering works locally and nationally. He was involved in the Te Aro reclamation in 1889; with a scheme for the city’s sewerage in 1890; and in 1895 with the construction of Kelburn Park. He also advised on harbour proposals at Napier, Auckland and Melbourne. He resigned from his harbour board positions in February 1908 and was appointed consulting engineer for five years from 1 September.

Image: Elizabeth Greenwood Photo. MR. WILLIAM FERGUSON, who died yesterday at Silverstream. He was a well-known engineer who did much to build up the port of Wellington. (Evening Post, 21 June 1935). Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/16892205

F. Nigel Stace. 'Ferguson, William', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 18-Sep-2013
URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/biographies/3f4/ferguson-william


Last updated: 11/8/2016 11:52:10 PM