Biographical Dictionary of Canadian Engineers

Edited by
Rod Millard

MURPHY, Martin , b. 11 Nov. 1832, Cooleycarny, Wexford, Ireland; d. 9 Jan. 1926, St. Catharines, Ont. Educated by private tuition and at the Ballindagin National School, he came to Canada in 1868 to become city engineer of Halifax. From 1870 to 1871, he was chief engineer of surveys for Nova Scotia's railway extensions, and then became a bridge contractor for the Intercolonial Railway (1872-74). From 1875 to 1905, he was provincial engineer of Nova Scotia. In 1890, he earned a D.Sc. from King's College, Windsor, N.S., and, in 1906, was appointed a dominion government inspecting engineer on the Western Division of the National Transcontinental Railway. Noted for his innovative railway and highway bridges, he replaced Nova Scotia's wooden bridges with permanent stone, concrete and iron structures, while establishing a system of road construction and maintenance. He was the first Canadian engineer to use the concrete culvert. In 1893, he won a gold medal for his paper on Nova Scotia's bridge construction, presented to the Engineering Congress at the Chicago World's Fair. He joined the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers in 1887, served on its council in 1888, 1889 and 1897, and was elected vice president (1895) and president in 1902.

Stephanie Potter