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CRAIG, John Frederick (Jack)

Born: 1885 05 13
Died: 1962


John Frederick "Jack" Craig was born in Aliwal North, in the Eastern Cape on 13 May 1885. Educated at St. Andrew's College, Grahamstown, and Rhodes University; he took his Civil Engineering training and degree at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland and thereafter enrolled as an Associate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (AMICE).

An abbreviated time-line of his professional career as a Civil Engineer is provided below:

  • 1909: Joined the Natal Government Railways as a qualified Harbour Engineer, working on survey and construction.
  • 1912: Cape Town, Assistant Engineer on the open lines.
  • 1913-16: Interruption for service in WWI, invalided out in 1917.
  • 1917: Kimberley, district engineer.
  • 1918: East London, district engineer.
  • 1920: Harbour Engineer at East London, where he designed many improvements to the Harbour at the mouth of the Buffalo River, including the Turning Basin.
  • 1929: Harbour Engineer at Port Elizabeth, where he determined that the floor of the bay was not solid rock but sandstone, reducing the cost of the dock construction scheme from 12,000,000 pounds to 3,000,000 pounds.
  • 1932: Following his excellent work at East London and Port Elizabeth, John Craig was appointed Harbour Engineer at Cape Town, and two years later Harbour Advisory Engineer of the Union. Created the vast development plan for Table Bay Harbour.
  • 1939 -1945: Head of Coastal Defence for South Africa, with rank of Brigadier General. The John Craig Hall on Robben Island was named after him.
  • John Craig was also involved with Cape Town Foreshore Reclamation Scheme.
  • Passed away in 1962, aged 77 years.

Reference: Geni; accessed 20 May 2019.

(Submitted by William MARTINSON)

Article on John Craig Cape Times 5 February 1939. Pages 3 & 4.

(Submitted by Kevin Wall via William MARTINSON)

List of projects

With photographs
With notes

East London Harbour : Eastern Pier: 1927. East London, Eastern Cape - Supervising Engineer
Murray’s Bay Harbour: 1940 : 1957. Robben Island, Western Cape - Engineer Alterations 1957