William Hudson (engineer)

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Sir Bill Hudson
William Hudson plaque at the Cooma Visitors Centre.jpg
BornWilliam Hudson
(1896-04-27)27 April 1896
Nelson, New Zealand
Died12 September 1978(1978-09-12) (aged 82)
Red Hill, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Known forSnowy Mountains Scheme
AwardsFellow of the Royal Society[1]
RelativesJames Hudson (father)
John Andrew (grandfather)

Sir William Hudson, KBE FRS[1] (27 April 1896 – 12 September 1978), was a New Zealand-born engineer who headed construction of the Snowy Mountains Scheme for hydroelectricity and irrigation in Australia from 1949 to 1967, when he reluctantly retired at 71. The scheme was completed in 1974, under budget and before time.

Early life and family[edit]

Hudson was born in Nelson, New Zealand, the son of James Hudson and Beatrice Jane Andrew.[2] His maternal grandfather was John Chapman Andrew.[3] He was educated at Nelson College from 1908 to 1914,[4] the University of London and the University of Grenoble.[2]


He served with the British Army in France (for three years), worked for Armstrong Whitworth & Co, as Assistant Engineer on the Mangahao hydro-electric scheme, New Zealand (1922-1924), then as Engineer in charge, Arapuni power station, New Zealand (1924-1927). He worked on further dams in New Zealand (1928-1930), was involved in Galloway hydro-electric scheme, Scotland (1931-1937), was Resident Engineer on the Woronora Dam, Sydney, Australia, Chief Construction Engineer and Engineer-in-chief, Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board, Sydney.

In 1948 he applied for the position of Chairman of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electricity Authority (SMHEA), which managed the Snowy Mountains Scheme. When the Cabinet met to consider the top three candidates, the minister responsible for the scheme, Nelson Lemmon, handed the Prime Minister Ben Chifley a note that simply read "Hudson, Hudson, Hudson!". He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 1955, in recognition of his service as Chairman of SMHEA.[5] He was elected in March 1964 a Fellow of the Royal Society.[1][6] He was awarded the James Cook Medal of the Royal Society of New South Wales in 1966.[7]

He retired in 1967 and was appointed President, National Safety Council of Australia; Chairman, Road Safety Council, New South Wales.


  1. ^ a b c Paton, A. (1979). "William Hudson 27 April 1896-12 September 1978". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 25: 318–326. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1979.0011.
  2. ^ a b Sparke, Eric (1996). "Hudson, Sir William (1896–1978)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  3. ^ Hanron, Nancy. "Hudson, James". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  4. ^ Nelson College Old Boys' Register, 1856–2006, 6th edition (CD-ROM)
  5. ^ It's an Honour: KBE
  6. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
  7. ^ "The James Cook Medal". Royal Society of new South Wales. Retrieved 31 August 2015.

External links[edit]