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NEWEY, Joseph

Born: 1846 12 15
Died: 1907 01 09



NEWEY was responsible for some very fine bridges in the Eastern Cape. He was a Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers (MICE).

Obituary - Authors: UNKNOWN

JOSEPH NEWEY died on the 9th January, 1907, at his home, near Kei Road Station in the Eastern Province of the Cape Colony. He was born on the 15th December, 1846, at Dudley, Worcestershire, England, and gained considerable experience under his father of railway and bridge work in England and on the Continent. In 1872 he was appointed Engineer on the staff of the Chief Inspector of PUBLIC WORKS of the Cape Colony. His first work in South Africa was the erection of the Buffalo, Committee's and Great Kei Bridges and the reconstruction of all the Eastern Province bridges destroyed by floods in 1874. During the construction of the Great Kei Bridge the Gaika Rebellion broke out, and Mr. Newey exhibited conspicuous courage in carrying out, at great personal risk, engineering work for facilitating army movements and defensive operations, during this and later campaigns. His intimate knowledge of the country and ready resource were of great benefit to the military authorities, and in the Gaika war he was placed in personal touch with General Gordon for the execution of military engineering works. Subsequently he was entrusted with the survey and construction of many main trunk lines of road in the Colony and Transkeian Territories, and during a series of years was in charge of the pioneer road and bridge work that has so greatly contributed to the development of the eastern portion of the country.

In 1881 he was appointed District Inspector of Public Works, having control of an extensive and important departmental area, in which, in addition to engineering works, he was entrusted with the selection and laying out of townships and the control of architectural and other works. Amongst the many bridges built under his direction may be mentioned the fine stone structures over the Kraai River at Aliwal North and Barkly East. In 1893 he was promoted to the position of Chief Inspector of Public Works (the title then given to the Chief Colonial Engineer for all except railway works), in which capacity he served until his retirement on pension, at the end of June, 1905. As Chief Inspector, Mr. Newey was in charge of all Government engineering and architectural projects (with the exception of railways) throughout the Cape Colony.

The late South African War occurred during his term of office, and his wide experience was again found of great assistance to the military authorities. Mr. Newey was a Justice of the Peace for the Cape Colony, and a Fellow of the Imperial Institute.

He was elected an Associate Member of The Institution on the 6th May, 1879, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 9th November, 1891.

Source: ICE Minutes of the Proceedings, PART 3 January 1907 , pages 390

View original scan in PDF [117 KB]

Submitted by William MARTINSON - scanned by Carol Morgan, Archivist, Institution of Civil Engineers

When the Newey Suspension Bridge was condemned and replaced by a new concrete bridge in 1933, the new bridge was also named Newey Bridge after him.

Read article Exploring the Eastern Cape's BRIDGING LEGACY by Mike Burgess published 28 December 2012 in Farmer's Weekly pg 60-63. (Submitted by William Martinson)

List of projects

With photographs
With notes

Blaine Bridge - First, Gonubie River: 1895. Komgha, Eastern Cape - Engineer
Brabant Bridge, Gonubie River: 1896. Gonubie, Eastern Cape - Engineer
Breidbach Bridge - Yellow Woods River: 1899. Qonce (King William's Town), Eastern Cape - Engineer
Bridge over the Keiskamma River, Line Drift: 1892-1894. Peddie, Eastern Cape - Engineer
Carlisle Bridge - Great Fish River: 1863. Makhanda (Grahamstown), Eastern Cape - Engineer
Charles Joseph Levey Bridge: 1898. Tsomo, Eastern Cape - Engineer
Clough Bridge - Great Fish River: 1873. Makhanda (Grahamstown), Eastern Cape - Engineer
Fort Brown Bridge - Great Fish River: 1898. Fort Brown, Eastern Cape - Engineer
Frere Bridge - Orange River: 1880. Aliwal North, Eastern Cape - Engineer
Juta-Olivier Bridge - Grobbelaars River: n.d.. Oudtshoorn, Western Cape - Engineer
Katberg Pass Bridge: 1899. Balfour, Eastern Cape - Engineer
Kraai Road Bridge: 1879-1881. Aliwal North, Eastern Cape - Engineer
Loch Bridge - Kraai River: 1893. Barkly East, Eastern Cape - Engineer
Newey Suspension Bridge - Convict Station Drift: 1897. Qonce (King William's Town), Eastern Cape - Engineer
Petersen Bridge - Kwelera River: 1897-1899. Kwelera, Eastern Cape - Engineer
Prison: c1888. Cala, Eastern Cape - Project Architect
Road Bridge - Little Fish River: 1896-1897. KwaNojoli (Somerset East), Eastern Cape - Project Architect
Road Bridge over the Buffalo River: 1873. Qonce (King William's Town), Eastern Cape - Supervising Engineer
Road Bridge over the Great Kei River: 1879. Komgha, Eastern Cape - Project Architect
Road Bridge over the Tsitsa River: n.d.. Qumbu, Eastern Cape - Engineer
Temporary Timber Bridge over the Great Kei River: 1877. Komgha district, Eastern Cape - Project Architect
Tsocha River Bridge: 1894. Peddie, Eastern Cape - Engineer
Wagon bridge over the Mbashe River: 1893. Idutywa (Dutywa), Eastern Cape - Engineer
Xalanga Road Bridge - Tsomo River: 1890. Cala, Eastern Cape - Engineer

Books citing NEWEY

Bakker, Karel A, Clarke, Nicholas J. 2014. Eclectic ZA Wilhelmiens : A shared Dutch built heritage in South Africa. Pretoria: Visual Books. pp 97

S2A3 (Plug, C - Project Leader and main compiler). 2002-. S2A3 biographical database of southern African science. Webspace: WWW. pp Accessed 2016 01 13

Walters, Dennis. 2014. Bridging the Eastern Cape : the life and work of Joseph Newey. East London: Coral Tree Press. pp 1-115