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Noel Murray


noel murray

Noel Murray was born in Adelaide in 1928. He completed a Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Adelaide in 1948 and went on to work as an engineer for the Irrigation and Water Supply Commission in Queensland. In the early 1950s he moved to the United Kingdom where he undertook a PhD under the guidance of Louis Matheson, who would later become Monash University’s first Vice-Chancellor. During this period Murray also worked as a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at Manchester University. Murray’s supervisor Matheson considered his student’s thesis on secondary stresses in structural frameworks to be ‘brilliant’. Murray remained in the UK, becoming Senior Research Assistant in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Sheffield. Between 1959 and 1961 he left academia and worked as a Senior Stress Analyst at GEC-Simon Carves Atomic Energy Division.

When Matheson returned to Australia as Vice-Chancellor of the newly established Monash University, he personally asked Murray to come back to Australia and take up the position of Senior Lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering. Murray became the first Chairman of the Department of Civil Engineering in 1963, a position he held until 1994. As well as establishing the four fields of civil engineering within the department, Murray was keen to establish a strong research focus, and attracted a number of postgraduate students early on. He played a major role in the investigation into the collapse of the West Gate Bridge, culminating in a textbook, Introduction to the Theory of Thin Walled Structures (1984). Murray became Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering, a position he held until his death in 2001.

*Noel Murray was Head continuously between the years 1964-1973. Between 1973 and 1994 he alternated as Head with Eric Laurenson every two years.