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William Reid Douglas, engineer





William Reid Douglas , Chief Engineer of the New Zealand Shipping Company's S.S. “Pareora,” took up his (present) position on the 30th of May, 1898.

The son of William Reid Douglas and his wife Elizabeth (Betsy), he was born in Melbourne, , but came to Dunedin with his parents in the early sixties. After leaving the Dunedin High School, he went to the Old Country, and served his apprenticeship with the well known firm of Messrs James Howden and Co.

In December, 1879, he returned to the Colony as fourth engineer of the Union Steamship Company's S.S. “Te Anau,” on which he afterwards acted successively as third and second engineer. Mr. Douglas left the “Te Anau” in October, 1884, to join the “Mahinapua” as chief engineer. He was afterwards chief of the “Penguin” and “Ringarooma,” and after being about twelve years in the Union Steamship Company's service, he left to join his brothers in the Northern Union Steamboat Company, trading on the Northern Wairoa, and was manager of the Company from 1894 to 1897.


A new boat-lowering apparatus was invented by Mr W. R. Douglas, local Government inspector of steamers at Dunedin, and master of the Government steam-dredger at that port. Mr Douglas has been awarded three medals for his inventions by the Royal Scottish Society of Arts.

His father, the late Mr. W. R. Douglas, of Dunedin, one of the old pioneer settlers of Otago, is credited with having built the first steam vessel launched in Dunedin, namely, a little steamer called the “Betsy Douglas.”


He married (2 Sept 1886, St John's Presbyterian Church, Willis St, Wellington) Isabella Nahr, b abt 1866, Castlemain), daughter of William Nahr (a brewer) and Rachel, nee Bammer(?).



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Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024