William Thwaites – “The Metropolitan Board of Works Mastermind”
William Thwaites was an outstanding civil engineer and public servant who commenced his professional career with the Victorian Department of Railways in 1874. It was in 1889 when William put forward his ground-breaking concept to revolutionised Melbourne’s sanitary conditions which stunned the Royal Commission of Melbourne.
William was at the apex of his career when he was appointed as the Engineer-in-Chief of Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works in 1891, an appointment which he was admired yet resented for as he was not born locally.
During the construction of Melbourne’s sewerage system, the Rialto had the privilege of leasing a room to house the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works and it was during his time in the Rialto, William Thwaites pioneered the innovative sanitary sewerage system Melbourne is known for today.
To this day, William’s leadership and design of Melbourne’s sewerage system is celebrated as the most extensive project in Melbourne’s history particularly during a time of great depression, creating employment for several thousands. With the completion of William’s sewerage project in 1897, he continued to modernise the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works’ statistical projections, garnering his converted title of “A genius for statistics’.