S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Wynne-Roberts, Mr Robert Owen (civil engineering)

Born: Date not known, Place not known.
Died: Date not known, Place not known.

R.O. Wynne-Roberts (sometimes Roberts, R.O. Wynne), was an associate member, and from 1905 an ordinary member, of the (British) Institution of Civil Engineers. In about 1906 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Sanitary Institute.

He came to the Cape Colony in or before 1898 and by 1902 was employed as water engineer to the Cape Town waterworks, a post in the City Engineer's Department that he held to 1906 or 1907. During these years he investigated and reported on several water schemes for the growing city. His Report by the water engineer, in re Berg River Hoek and Wemmer's Hoek water schemes (Cape Town, 1903, 16 p) and Memoranda on reproposed augmentation of the water supply of the city of Cape Town (Cape Town, 1904) both contained rainfall tables compiled from observations of ordinary and mountain raingauges, distributed over the catchment areas. With R.H. Charters* and R.W. Menmuir he investigated ten proposed schemes to augment the water supply of Cape Town and some of the suburbs, and published a Final report... (Cape Town, 1904, 28 p) on their work. He also drew up plans showing the levels of a proposed pipeline from the reservoir at Groot Drakenstein, dividing to supply both the Molteno reservoir and the Newlands reservoir (13 sheets, 1904). Shortly after leaving the Colony he published a History and description of Cape Town waterworks... (London, 1908, 45 p) in which he described both the existing water schemes, such as Molteno and Woodhead, and schemes proposed for the future, such as French Hoek, Wemmershoek and Steenbras.

Wynne-Roberts was a foundation member of the Cape Society of Civil Engineers. At its first meeting, in January 1903, he was elected a member of its committee for that year, and served on the committee again in 1905. In May 1903 he presented a paper on "Sewage disposal" before the society, which became the first paper, after the president's brief address, to be published in the society's Minutes of Proceedings (Vol. 1, pp. 10-15). Two years later, in May 1905, he addressed members on "Three American dams". In 1902 he became a foundation member also of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science.

After leaving the Cape Colony Wynne-Roberts settled in Canada. There he published a Report on coal and power investigations (Regina, 1913, 131 p) with dealt with the use of lignite in Saskatchewan. Later he worked in Ontario as a sewerage engineer for the firm of consulting engineers Frank Barber and Associates, and wrote a Report on comprehensive sewerage schemes for ... York, Ontario (Toronto, 1922, 128 p).

List of sources:
Cape Society of Civil Engineers. Minutes of Proceedings, 1903-1906, Vol. 1-4.

General directory of South Africa, 1903.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). . Documents relating to Wynne-Roberts, Robert Owen / Wynne Roberts, Robert Owen / Wynne Roberts, R.O.

National Union Catalogue, pre-1956 imprints. London: Mansell, 1968-1980.

South African Association for the Advancement of Science. Report, 1903, 1905/6: Lists of members.

South African bibliography to the year 1925. London: Mansell, 1979.

Venter, R.J. Bibliography of regional meteorological literature. Vol. 1. Southern Africa, 1486-1948. Pretoria: Weather Bureau, 1949.

Compiled by: C. Plug