Published: August 2002
Previous writings on Charles Yelverton O'Connor, the farsighted Irish civil engineer who has become an almost legendary figure in the history of Western Australia, have tended to concentrate on the political, economic and engineering aspects of his life and work. Today, his works are revered and his memory honored, though whether this enduring interest stems as much from a fascination with the events surrounding his tragic suicide than with a genuine appreciation of his work is debatable. In this biography, the author seeks to focus more on the man himself, the quintessential Victorian, brimming with confidence and a belief that the great technical advances of the era, together with social reforms, would eventually bring harmony and prosperity to all. As a man of his age, his character can only be understood by understanding the aspirations of the age - the ideals and values that shaped his life and, ultimately, the manner of his untimely death.