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Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.


SCOTT, Robert Julian


Professor of engineering.

A new biography of Scott, Robert Julian appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.

Scott was born in Plymouth on 14 September 1861, eldest son of Rear-Admiral R. A. G. Scott, RN, and cousin of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, the Antarctic explorer. He was educated at the Abbey School, Beckenham, Kent, and at the Royal School of Mines. He was a premium apprentice in England and served his time with the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway. Scott came out to New Zealand and entered the Railway Drawing Office, becoming chief draughtsman in Wellington. He was transferred to Christchurch as locomotive draughtsman and, later, became manager of the Addington Workshops where he designed new types of locomotives and wagons. In 1880 he designed and built the first motorcar in Australasia, a 35 h.p. steam buggy, and in the following year designed the first insulated railway truck for carrying frozen meat. He also prepared specifications and drawings for the first locomotive built in New Zealand.

Scott began to take evening classes at Addington before he lectured at Canterbury College. He was appointed part-time lecturer in mechanical engineering at Canterbury College on 1 November 1887, where his class attracted 68 students. In November 1889 a School of Engineering and Technical Science was established and Scott was appointed lecturer-in-charge at a salary of £550. An additional wing was added to the east wing of the main Canterbury College Building to house the new school. In 1894 he was appointed professor-in-charge of the School of Engineering.

Scott took many students at evening classes, most of whom were apprentices at Anderson's Foundry or P. and D. Duncan's. These firms encouraged their apprentices to attend. When he resigned on 28 February 1923, his school was recognised as equal to the best of similar institutions in the British Dominions, and its prestige has been maintained. The chairman of the Canterbury College Board once said: “It was due to his personality and vigour that the School has obtained the pre-eminence that it holds.”

Scott was a member of the University Senate from 1903 to 1923 and acted as chairman of commissions which sat on technical railway questions. He was an enthusiastic yachtsman and designed and raced his own yachts.

In appearance Professor Scott was striking – a man of enormous bulk with a very large head and features which bespoke his strong personality. Clothes hung loosely on his great frame. He possessed what is known as “the quarter-deck manner”, and whenever he sat down to a meal he helped himself on a gargantuan scale.

He married, on 22 October 1889, Gertrude Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Sir Charles Bowen; she died in June 1909. Scott died at Christ-church on 8 November 1930.

by George Ranald Macdonald, Retired Farmer, Kaiapoi R.D.

  • History of Canterbury College, Hight, J., and Candy, A. M. F. (1927)
  • Press (Christchurch), 10 Nov 1930 (Obit).

SCOTT, Robert William Henry (“Bob”) (1921– ). Rugby footballer.

“Bob” Scott was born at Wellington on 6 February 1921 and educated there. During the Second World War he spent four years with the New Zealand Forces in the Middle East. He first distinguished himself as a footballer in the New Zealand Services team which toured Britain and Europe in 1945–46. Scott represented New Zealand in the 1946, 1947, 1949, 1950, and 1953–54 All Blacks, playing 52 matches in which he scored 242 points for his side. He is rightly regarded as one of the “great” fullbacks of the game. He is the author, with T. P. McLean, of Bob Scott on Rugby (1955 and 1959) and The Bob Scott Story (1956).


George Ranald Macdonald, Retired Farmer, Kaiapoi R.D.