John Henry Butters

John Henry Butters CMG, MBE (18851969), engineer. Born in Hampshire, he graduated in Engineering Science, and in 1911 was appointed Engineer-in-Chief of the Hydro-Electric Power and Metallurgical Company to develop the Great Lake power scheme. Following financial, construction and political difficulties, the government took over the scheme in 1914, forming the Hydro-Electric Department, with Butters as Engineer-in-Chief. Successful completion of Tasmania's first major hydro power scheme was largely due to his drive and ability.

Butters chaired the inaugural Tasmanian branch of Institution of Engineers Australia, and the Faculty of Engineering at the university. In 1924 he left Tasmania to oversee the construction of Canberra, the federal capital, and in 1929 set up in private practice in Sydney. His later career included many company directorships, and he was knighted in recognition of his achievement in Canberra.

Further reading: ADB 7; M McArthur (ed), Prominent Tasmanians, Hobart, 1924; R Lupton, Lifeblood, Sydney, 2000.

Sarah Rackham