A native of
County Donegal, Ireland, Coane migrated to Australia in 1867 and worked for
a number of years in Queensland before moving to country Victoria where he
took up teaching with the Education department (1874-79). In 1879 he turned
to a career in consulting and established a general surveying and civil,
hydraulic and mining engineering practice. The firm went on to become one
of the most distinguished of the era and undertook extensive work in the Yea
and Seymour areas; new techniques were devised for levelling-in the steep
country. Other work included the former Epsom racecourse at Mordialloc, the
survey of Cape Otway forest, and water and irrigation works at Wonthaggi and
Mildura. President of the Victorian Institute of Surveyors (1890-91,
1905-06), he was often called on to provide expert witness in arbitrations
and disputes. In 1912, Coane was appointed to chair the board who advised
King O’Malley (d 1953) on the designs of the new Federal Capital for
Canberra; he disagreed with other members on Burley Griffin’s design but was
overruled. Later in life, with his son Henry Edward (q.v.) his firm “J. M. & H. E. Coane” were appointed consulting engineers to the
State Electricity Commission under the chairmanship of
Sir John Monash
(q.v.). Locally, Coane was for many years municipal consulting engineer to
the Brighton City Council (1899-1921) during which he oversaw road
construction that were acknowledged as the best in the Commonwealth; he also
advised the Brighton General Cemetery Trust. He died at his daughter’s home
in Kirribilli Point, North Sydney on 28 December 1923, amongst the many
mourners who attended his funeral were
William Allard (q.v.),
R. Snowball (q.v.) and Dr. William McClelland (q.v.).
(above) John Coane
(second from left) and the assessors for the Federal Capital c1913
(By permission of the
Library of Australia, nla.pic-an24381693)
ADB Volume 7 1891-1939 (A-Ch).
The Argus 29 December 1923 & 9 May 1927.
The Age 29 December 1923 & 1 January 1924.
Brighton Southern Cross 5 January 1924.
Smith, J. (ed), “Cyclopedia of Victoria”
[ Return to Menu ]
[ Next ]