John Coode

John Coode

English civil engineer
Date of Birth: 11.11.1816
Country: Great Britain

  1. Biography of John Coode
  2. Notable Achievements
  3. Later Career and Legacy

Biography of John Coode

John Coode was an English engineer and builder who was widely regarded as the most remarkable engineer of port construction in the 19th century. Born on November 11, 1816, in Bodmin, Cornwall, Coode was the son of Charles Coode, a lawyer, and his wife Anne Bennett. He attended a local school and later studied engineering under the renowned British engineer James Rendel in Plymouth. After gaining significant experience in his profession, mainly working in the west of England, Coode moved to London.

In 1844, Coode established his own practice in Westminster, London, where he worked until 1847. In that same year, he was appointed as an engineer for the construction of extensive port facilities in Portland Harbor. He served as the head of the construction until 1872 when the project was completed. Coode's work in Portland earned him a knighthood in 1872, by which time he had already become a leading British authority in harbor construction.

Notable Achievements

Following his work in Portland, Coode's most notable projects included the construction of Colombo Harbor in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), port facilities in Table Bay, South Africa, and the straightening of the Yarra River near Melbourne, resulting in the creation of Coode Island and the Coode Canal, named in his honor. Coode first visited Australia in 1878 when the Melbourne Harbor Trust commissioned him to present a report on the improvement works of the port. He recommended improving the existing canal instead of building a new direct channel, as proposed by the local authorities. The river was widened, deepened, and transformed into a smooth curve, and Coode also advised the construction of docks to match the increased traffic. Although he made some minor errors, Coode's proposed project became the basis for the modern port of Melbourne.

In addition to his Australian projects, Coode designed a breakwater in Portland, which was eventually constructed in 1960 after being deemed too expensive and complex in the 19th century. His plan for Lakes Entrance provided direct access to Lake Gippsland from the sea through a channel between the lake and the ocean, which was completed in 1889. Coode made a second visit to Australia in 1885 and developed a series of recommendations to improve the navigability of rivers.

Later Career and Legacy

In 1886, Coode was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG). From 1884 until his death, he served as a member of the International Commission of the Suez Canal, and from 1889 to 1891, he served as the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, of which he had been a member since 1849. Coode was also an active member of the Royal Colonial Institute and the Chairman of the Colonial and Continental Church Society. In 1842, he married Jane Price, and their son, John, followed in his father's footsteps and also became a civil engineer. John Coode passed away on March 2, 1892, in Brighton.