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Dr. Thomas Upton

Dr Thomas Upton was Chairman of Standards Australia from 1948 – 1956. An esteemed Civil Engineer, he heavily influenced the way Standards Australia formed standards and documents. In 1946 Dr Upton was elected to the role of President of the Institute of Engineers Australia. He also worked as a lecturer at the University of Melbourne and was a dedicated public servant.

Melbourne-born and graduate from scholarship funded tertiary education in Engineering, Dr Thomas Upton was a distinguished civil engineer.

In 1913 Dr Upton worked for eight months for a consulting engineer in England, designing structural steelwork for bridges and buildings and checking calculations for designs in reinforced concrete. In 1914 he was appointed assistant-engineer to the Victorian Country Roads Board and instructed to brief himself on modern road-making practices and materials in Britain and the United States of America.

This experience would inform his later contribution to standards by igniting his interest around quality control and uniformity of construction.

hen World War I broke out, Dr Upton enlisted in the British Army and was posted to the Royal Naval Division as a sapper. On 6 December 1914 he was appointed temporary lieutenant, Royal Engineers. He served on the Western Front with its 130th Field Company until he was wounded in February 1916 and evacuated to England.

Dr Upton was heavily involved in the process of introducing the concept of quality control into the world of standards. Through close studies of the processes around quality control in the United States during the Second World War, Dr Upton was able to assist in the adoption and implementation of the practice into Australian industry - helping to form and write the standards that would guide quality control of mass production.

Dr Upton was highly regarded in his industry, he was awarded the Kernot and Sir Peter Nicol Russell medals, respectively by the University of Melbourne in 1947 and by the Institute of Engineers Australia. in 1949. The University of Western Australia granted him an honorary Doctor of Engineering in 1949.

“Dr Thomas Upton’s work had significant impact during his time and continues to have significant impact today in Standards Australia. His impact and passion in quality control is commendable and just one of the many reasons we’re recognising him as a Standards Hero,” said Adrian O’Connell, Chief Executive Officer at Standards Australia.