William Lockwood  - First Engineer of Whittlesea

William Henry Lockwood was born in Glossop, Derbyshire c 1832. He migrated to Victoria on the first voyage of the Marco Polo in 1853 and married Naomi Bullock in St.Peter’s Church of England Melbourne on 27th December 1856.


They had nine children, four of whom died in infancy and were buried in Yan Yean Cemetery. The family lived in Whittlesea in a two-storey home, which faced Church Street.

William was a talented engineer and architect. He commenced work as a contractor and surveyor for the Whittlesea Roads’ Board and became Whittlesea Shire Engineer in the 1870’s. He continued in this role until his death in 1912. During his time as engineer he built many buildings, bridges and roads within the Whittlesea Shire including the Whittlesea Courthouse and the Whittlesea State School.

On two of our local bridges, which were constructed during 1901, he was the engineer and builder. These are the Darebin Creek Bridge in Bridge Inn Road, Wollert and the Barber’s Creek Bridge in Plenty Road, Yan Yean. Both bridges are no longer in use. The Bridges are Monier reinforced concrete with bluestone abutments and were designed by Sir John Monash.

In addition to his engineering work he was Postmaster and Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for Whittlesea. He was appointed as inaugural treasurer of the Shire of Whittlesea in January 1875 and was actively involved in other community organisations. In the last few years of his life he continued working in spite of ill health. In her diary, his wife Naomi documented his last months. One entry reads,
“16 Oct 1911 My husband in his office with Shire Secretary comparing books for audit”.

After William’s death his daughter, Martha Hannah became Postmistress and another daughter, Wilhelmina Naomi Priscilla became Registrar for Whittlesea. A third daughter Sister Mary Emma was involved in charity work throughout Victoria working for the children of Sutherland Homes. She also appears to have acted as Registrar at Whittlesea after her sister Wilhelmina died in 1923.

William Henry Lockwood died on January 12th 1912. The local community held him in high esteem for his contribution to the Whittlesea area. His wife Naomi died 22nd December 1912. The Lockwood family grave can be seen at Yan Yean Cemetery.