Biographical entry Risson, Robert Joseph Henry (1901 - 1992)
- 20 April 1901
Ma Ma Creek, Grantham, Queensland, Australia
- 19 July 1992
Murrumbeena, Victoria, Australia
- Civil engineer, Military engineer and Tramway Engineer
Robert Risson was a Civil Engineer, with a distinguished career with the Brisbane and Melbourne Tramways; and a Military Engineer during the Second World War in the United Kingdom, North Africa, Palestine, Syria, New Guinea, Morotai and Borneo, with the ranks of Major, Lieutenant-Colonel and Brigadier.
As a civil engineer, he specialised in Tramway construction, maintenance and operation.
His career commenced with the Brisbane Tramways Trust from 1923-1939, where he implemented modern methods of track construction, and concluded with his long term position as Chairman of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board (M&MTB) from 1949-1970.
As chairman of the M&MTB, he championed the role of Tramways as an efficient system for moving large numbers of people around the city, but any improvements were constrained by the high ongoing costs of maintaining roadway surfaces, as well as maintaining the tramway rails, poles and wires.
In the mid 1960s he ambitiously proposed an underground tramway along the length of Swanston Street. His persuasive arguments against the automobile and bus lobbyists during this period, ensured that the Melbourne tramways remained, when other metropolitan tramway systems around the world were removed.
His military engineering career, included siting of defence works in South England, 1940; Commander, Siege of Tobruk 1941; Commander, Syrian Campaign, 1941; Commander, design and construction of concrete defence works, roads, bridges, storage facilities at Tripoli, Syria (£1,000,000), 1941-42; Commander, Western Desert Egypt, including battle of El Alamein 1942; Chief Engineer, New Guinea 1943-44; Chief Engineer, Morotai and Borneo 1945.
- Career event - Student Member (StudIEAust), Institution of Engineers Australia
- 1923 - 1924
- Career position - Assistant Engineer, Brisbane Tramways Trust, under William Muir Nelson
- 27 April 1923
- Education - Bachelor of Engineering (Civil), University of Queensland
- 1924 - 1927
- Career position - Inspecting Engineer, Brisbane Tramways Trust, under William Muir Nelson
- 1927 - 1939
- Career position - Maintenance Engineer, Brisbane Tramways Trust
- February 1927
- Career event - Associate Member (AMIEAust), Institution of Engineers Australia
- 1939 - 1946
- Career position - Military Service, Royal Australian Engineers
- September 1942
- Award - Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), for military service in the Middle East
- February 1943
- Award - Distinguished Service Order (DSO), in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East
- August 1943
- Career event - Member (MIEAust), Institution of Engineers Australia
- July 1945
- Award - Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), for military services in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the South West Pacific
- 1946 - 1947
- Career position - Superintending Engineer, Brisbane Tramways
- 1947 -
- Career position - Councillor, Institution of Engineers Australia
- 1947 - 1948
- Career position - Deputy Manager, Brisbane Tramways
- 1947 - 1949
- Career position - Honorary Secretary, Brisbane Division, Institution of Engineers Australia
- 1948 - 1949
- Career position - General Manager (acting), Brisbane Tramways
- 1 October 1949 - June 1970
- Career position - Chairman, Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board
- June 1958
- Award - Companion of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB), for distinguished service in the Field.
- June 1970
- Award - Knight Bachelor
Created: 29 November 2018, Last modified: 9 January 2019