J. M. Brady
18 August 1828-1908
Joseph Martin Brady was born in Ireland where he received his early training in surveying and draughtsmanship while working for his father.
He arrived in Australia in 1850 and was employed by the Sydney Railway Company for whom he surveyed the railway line from Sydney to Parramatta - Australia's first railway line.
By 1856, Brady had arrived in gold rush Victoria where the influx of population required major infrastructure works. Brady was involved in the surveying of Melbourne's first major water scheme - Yan Yean - and later the major water scheme for Bendigo (then called Sandhurst). He also designed a number of significant buildings in Bendigo as well as designing the Melbourne to Bendigo railway. This remains possibly the best engineered railway in Australia.
After heading to Brisbane to design the water scheme, he returned to Victoria where he designed the Melbourne to Seymour Railway. He settled in Melbourne in 1877 when he was appointed first engineer of the Melbourne Harbour Trust. In this position he was able to use his engineering and management skills to help create port facilities that were far-sighted and adaptable enough to be used through a number of generations of changed shipping environments.
He retired in 1894 and died in 1908 having become one of the most significant engineers in Australian history and one of the great contributors to creating Australia's infrastructure. He is buried in St Kilda Cemetery but is not mentioned in the Friends of St Kilda Cemetery publication of 35 "Nation Builders" buried there although many more minor figures are. This may be because much current Australian history seems to regard engineers, mathematicians and the like as less important than artists, social agitators or those involved with the 'soft' sciences.