William Henry Warren

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William Henry Warren
Born (1852-02-02)2 February 1852
Bristol, Somerset, England
Died 9 January 1926(1926-01-09) (aged 73)
Resting place Waverley Cemetery
Other names W. H. Warren

William Henry Warren (2 February 1852 – 9 January 1926) was an Australian engineer and twice president of the Royal Society of New South Wales.[1] Australian engineering think-tank The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering was established in his honour.[2]

Early life[edit]

Warren was born in Bristol, Somerset, England, son of William Henry Warren, railway guard, and his wife Catherine Ann, née Abrahams.[1] Warren was educated at the Royal College of Science, Dublin, and Queen's College, Manchester. Warren won the Whitworth scholarship and the Society of Arts technological scholarship. Warren entered the service of the London and North-Western Railway Company in 1872 and spent five years at its workshops at Wolverton.[1]

Career in Australia[edit]

Warren migrated to Australia in 1881 and entered the public works department at Sydney on 9 May 1881[1] and was in charge of the supervision of roads, bridges and sewerage. In 1883 he was appointed lecturer in engineering at the University of Sydney, and a year later was made professor of the new department. In 1890 he was made John Henry Challis professor with salary of £900.[1] Warren was a professor for 42 years and built up a great engineering school. Warren was not, however, content merely to look after his own department. Warren published Australian Timbers (1892), a comparatively short treatise, but illustrated with many maps and diagrams, and in 1894 he brought out his most important work, Engineering Construction in Iron, Steel and Timber, of which the third edition in two volumes was published in 1921: vol. I entitled Engineering Construction in Steel and Timber, vol. II, Engineering Construction in Masonry and Concrete.

Warren was also doing a lot of work for the government; in 1885 he sat on the royal commission on railway bridges, and in 1892 was a member of the committee of inquiry on Baldwin locomotives. Warren was also later chairman of the electric tramways board and was on the automatic brakes board. For many years he was consulting engineer to the government of New South Wales. Warren was a member of the council of the Royal Society of New South Wales for many years (president in 1892 and 1902), was inaugural president of the Institute of Engineers of Australia, Australian representative of the Institute of Engineering in Great Britain, and a council member of the International Society for the Testing of Materials. During World War I, Warren conducted over 10,000 tests of munition steel.

Later life[edit]

Warren resigned his professorship at the end of 1925 and was made emeritus professor. Just over a week later he died suddenly at Sydney on 9 January 1926 and was buried in the Anglican section of Waverley Cemetery. Warren was survived by two sons.[1][3]

Marriage and children[edit]

  • Albertine King married Warren with Church of England rites on 27 July 1875 at St Pancras, London. They had two sons before emigrating to Australia.[1] She was born on 30 January 1852 in Camden Town, Middlesex, and baptised on 25 July 1852 at St.Pancras. She was employed variously as a barmaid, pianist and a teacher of music. Albertine Warren died on 12 June 1935 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, at 83 years of age. [4] *Herbert Henry Warren, the second son of the marriage, was born in 1880 in Birmingham, Warwickshire. It is unknown where he was educated but he became a medical student and was living in Portsmouth, Hampshire, in 1911.[5]
  • Ernest William Warren, the first son of the marriage, was born in October 1875 in Chorlton-upon-Medlock, Lancashire, and was baptised on 5 December 1875 at St Savior's Church in the same town.[6] After arriving in Australia, and whilst living at Madeley in London Street, Enmore, Ernest Warren was enrolled as a Day Boy at Newington College. The admission register shows him as being 8 years of age on 25 January 1884 and beginning in Form L 1.[7] He had a distinguished academic career at Newington and in 1893 he won the Wigram Allen Scholarship, awarded by Sir George Wigram Allen, for general proficiency, with Harold Curlewis receiving it for classics. At the end of 1892 Warren had been named Dux of the College and received the Schofield Scholarship. For his pass in the Senior Examination of 1893 he was awarded the Hardy Medal presented by the founder of Hardy Brothers, John Hardy.[8] He went up to the University of Sydney in 1894 and graduated as a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) in 1897, Bachelor of Arts in 1898 and his Bachelor of Laws in 1900.[9] Warren was admitted to the Bar in May 1901.[10] At his own request, he was removed from the roll of barristers, and was admitted to practice as a solicitor in 1906.[11] For a decade from the mid-teens until the mid-20s he held the position of lecturer-in-charge of the department of physics at Sydney Technical College and then returned to the law.[12]
Preceded by
Edwin Hall
Schofield Scholarship
Dux of Newington College

Ernest Warren
Succeeded by
Harold Curlewis


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Arthur Corbett; Ann Pugh (1976). Warren, William Henry (1852–1926). Australian Dictionary of Biography. 6. MUP. pp. 356–357. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  2. ^ The Warren Centre, University of Sydney
  3. ^ Serle, Percival (1949). "Warren, William Henry". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  4. ^ Albertine King family tree Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  5. ^ Herbert Warren family tree Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  6. ^ Ernest Warren family tree Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  7. ^ Newington College Register of Past Students 1863–1998 (Syd, 1999) pp208
  8. ^ Newington College Register of Past Students 1863–1998 (Syd, 1999) Part 2 – The Lists
  9. ^ "Alumni Sydneienses". University of Sydney. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "ADMITTED TO THE BAR.". The Evening News. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 21 May 1901. p. 4. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "SUPREME COURT OF NEW SOUTH WALES.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 25 May 1906. p. 4. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "PROFESSOR WARREN.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 11 January 1926. p. 12. Retrieved 20 June 2014.