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The plaque commemorates the life and work of William Henry Warren (1852-1926), first Professor of Engineering at Sydney University. 

In 1881 Warren migrated to Sydney where on 9 May he began work in the roads and bridges branch of the Department of Public Works; he taught applied mechanics at Sydney Technical College in the evenings. Next year he was appointed lecturer in engineering in the Department of Physics at the University of Sydney with salary of £500; in 1884 he became professor of engineering and in 1890 (J.H. Challis) professor with salary of £900.

Supported by W.C. Kernot in Melbourne, Warren worked to gain recognition for the place of engineering in universities. Popular, but not an outstanding lecturer, he required students to work from technical papers and textbooks, developing their abilities by personal guidance and example. At Sydney he built up a great engineering school. In 1900 senate approved the first four-year engineering course, and later introduced a requirement of practical experience during the third year. By 1910 courses in the three major branches of engineering were established in a form that remained essentially unchanged until the 1950s.

The Warren Laboratory was initiated by the ordering of the Greenwood and Batley testing machine in 1884. Warren continually added to the equipment in his laboratory, and by the early 1920`s was one of the most complete of its kind in the world. He used the equipment for teaching, and in his research on a very wide range of structural materials and components. Warren retired in 1925 at the age of 73, and died suddenly in 1926.

Proposed Memorial.
The Sydney University Engineering Club held its first meeting of the year at the University on Wednesday evening, at which there was a very large attendance of both graduates and undergraduates. At the dinner which preceded the main meeting, the registrar of the University, Mr. W. A. Selle, M.A., delivered an interesting address covering observations by a layman during the past decade regarding the P. N. Russell School of Engineering. Mr. Selle referred to the splendid war record of the school, and the names of those who made the great sacrifice were honored.

Sir Henry Barraclough, the president of the club, gave the address at the main meeting, which was arranged as a memorial to the late William H. Warren, Challis Professor of Engineering, and patron of the Engineering Club. Mr. James Nangle, superintendent of technical education, and a member of the Senate, drew attention to the number of men who would gladly testify that they owed all which they possessed to Professor Warren. Mr. R. J. Boyd as representative of the earlier graduates, said that the present advanced development of the Engineering School illustrated what could be accomplished by the intelligent, intense application by one man to a high ideal. On the motion of Mr. R. J. Gibson, it was decided that "this meeting resolves that an appropriate memorial to the late Professor Warren be obtained and presented to the University, and that subscriptions be invited forthwith for that purpose. Also, that the executive committee of the club be empowered to carry out this resolution, with power to add to its numbers." 
Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 22 May 1926.


Address:Shepherd Street, J.W.Roderick Laboratory, School of Civil Engineering, University of Sydney, Darlington, 2008
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.890881
Long: 151.193388
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1926
Front Inscription

The Warren Laboratory for Testing of Materials

This tablet commemorates the life and work of William Henry Warren, LL.D., M. Inst. C.E., Dean of the Faculty and first Professor of Engineering in this university 1884-1925, and records the gratitude and affection of his students, appreciation of his work in the cause of engineering education, and his life-long devotion to investigation of the properties and use of the materials employed by the engineer.

Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au