History of West Australia/Charles Anthony Paterson

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Charles Anthony Paterson HOFWA.jpg
Photo by
Greenham & Evans.

HAPPY the corporation which has amongst its members professionally trained men, who are willing to disseminate their knowledge for the good of the town or city over which they municipally rule. The professionally cultured mind is as essential in the municipal chamber as it is in the legislature. So many complex questions crop up in the work of local government that the presence of skilled practical intelligence is very often required in order to shed a little light on certain matters, which to the layman is but an unpicturesque chaos of technicalities.

A case in point is that of Mr. C. A. Paterson, a member of the Perth City Council, who, as a surveyor, is enabled to render valuable service to that body whenever any question wherein professional advice dealing with the important subject of surveys, &c., is touched upon, and this in a rapidly extending city like Perth is of frequent occurrence. No subject brought before civic bodies is of more importance than that of sanitation. Sanitary engineers have propounded many schemes of reform on most modern principles, but it is left to the skilled brain to determine their practicality, and make them applicable to local conditions. Mr. Paterson's professional attainments place him in the position of speaking authoritatively on the much vexed subject of the drainage of Perth—a matter to which he has devoted considerable attention,

Charles Anthony Paterson was born at Fremantle in 1857, and received a sound education at St. Peter's College, Adelaide. In the South Australian capital he entered the service of the Government Survey Department, and acquired a splendid knowledge of his profession. He was under the South Australian Government for eight years, after which he returned to his native colony, and commenced practice in Perth. It was not long before he engaged in a number of important surveys for the Titles Office. He carried out work both in the town and country for the Government, and executed surveys in remote parts of the colony. When the land boom set in in Perth a large amount of the surveying of estates fell to him, and to the present day he has more work than he can accomplish. Paterson has in hand, and has had for some time past, the drawing of the plans for the electric tramways in Perth, the rights for which have been secured by a powerful English group of capitalists.

Mr. Paterson sat in the Perth City Council in the latter end of the eighties, and in November, 1896, was returned as a member for the Central Ward. Because of splendid all-round knowledge of Perth, apart from his professional acquaintance with it, he has been a highly useful councillor. Some years ago he drew up a very exhaustive report on a comprehensive drainage scheme for Perth, and the lines which he then advocated are being virtually followed by the Government at the present time. When a member of the City Council, in 1889, he was appointed by the Board of Health to report on the best means of draining Perth. He proposed to establish deep drainage, in conjunction with a sewage farm at Burswood Island, in the Swan River, within a few miles of the city. On all sides the scheme was highly spoken of, and in the leading columns of the press its adoption was strongly urged. The scheme could have been undertaken at much cheaper outlay than at present.

When the Queen's Record Reign was being celebrated in Perth, Mr. Paterson was a moving spirit in the festivities, being chairman of the Decoration Committee. He has always been an active member of the Australian Natives' Association, and is an ex-president of the Western Australian branch. He takes an interest in athletic sports of all kinds, and is vice-president of a number of sporting combinations. There is a refreshing geniality and frankness about Mr. Paterson. No one is more zealous than he of the welfare of Perth.