S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Smith, Mr Harry Abraham (civil engineering)

Born: 21 September 1894, Cape Town, South Africa.
Died: November 1954, Durban, South Africa.

Harry Abraham Smith, civil engineer, attended the Normal College Boys' High School in Cape Town and passed the matriculation examination of the University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1912. He continued his studies at the South African College, Cape Town (from 1918 the University of Cape Town) and in 1916 was awarded the Diploma in Civil Engineering with Honours (equivalent to BSc Hons) and received the gold medal of the Corporation of the city of Cape Town for that year. For the next four years he worked as an assistant engineer in the Public Works Department of the Union of South Africa and then joined the Durban Municipality as an assistant engineer in 1920.

In 1928 Smith was promoted to deputy resident engineer on the design and construction of the Shongweni Dam Water Scheme for Durban. Subsequently, as chief assistant engineer and city sewerage engineer, he was responsible for many of the roads, bridges, drainage and sewerage schemes, public buildings, housing schemes and town planning in the expanding city. In February 1939 he became deputy city and water engineer and in September that year succeeded Mr W.M. Campbell as city and water engineer. One of his most important achievements was the execution of the Umgeni Water Scheme, one of the largest of its kind in South Africa. He retired in 1954, less than three weeks before his death.

Smith was a member of the Engineers' Association of South Africa and the (British) Institution of Civil Engineers, an associate member of the (British) Institution of Mechanical Engineers, a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Sanitary Engineers. He was the author of many papers on engineering subjects.

List of sources:

Obituary: Mr Harry Abraham Smith. EASA: The Journal of the Engineers' Association of South Africa, December 1954, Vol. 11(4), p. 161.

Ritchie, W. The history of the South African College, 1829-1918. Cape Town: T. Maskew Miller, 1918.

University of the Cape of Good Hope. Calendar, 1913-1914: Matriculation examination, 1912.

Compiled by: C. Plug