James Pringle

James Milne Pringle (1854 - 1935)

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James Milne Pringle
Born in Greenlaw, Berwickshire, Scotland, United Kingdommap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married in Melbourne, Victoria, Australiamap
Died in Waverley, New South Wales, Australiamap
Profile manager: Neil Smith private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 6 Apr 2018
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James Milne Pringle and his family lived in High Street Greenlaw when the 1861 and 1871 census was conducted. In 1881 James was living with his family in St Cuthbert’s parish in Edinburgh.

James and Alexander appear to have taken passage to Melbourne on Howard Smith's new steamer 'Gabo' which left Gravesend on 7th Sep 1883 and arrived at Hobson's Bay on Saturday evening 3rd Nov 1883. His brother Andrew and sister Christina came to Sydney later but the exact year needs confirmation. Jean Cossar Pringle came on the 'Medic' on the 20th Sep 1910.

On the the 18th January 1884 James was engaged by the Board of Technical Education to deliver three lectures on "Geometry applied to industry" and by 1885 James was working for the Colonial Architect [James Barnet] in Bathurst as a supevisor for the new Bathurst Goal with it’s impressive sandstone entry gates. The building contractor's were Low and Smith. James Barnet was a member of the Board of Technical Education so it is not surprising that James Milne was also engaged for building supervision. James Pringle was a popular technical teacher and developed a blackboard for descriptive geometry, and one of his students was James Fyfe Smith [16 YO in 1885-6].

James Pringle resigned his teaching post in May 1888, which may indicate the time he began his partnership with William Smith in Smith and Pringle. James knew William socially as well as through the Highland Society where he was treasurer and William Smith one of their concert organisers and singers. When William died in 1893 it is likely his interest in the business passed to his eldest son James Fyfe Smith who was well known to James Pringle. Smith & Pringle carried on for a while after William’s death but must have folded around 1897, possibly as a casualty of the 1890s depression. [A separate paper has been produced on the projects of Smith and Pringle].

James Milne Pringle became president of the Master Builders Association of NSW in 1898, and had a successful building partnership with his youngest brother Andrew Hyslop Pringle, and his nephew James Cossar Pringle. James was a prominent member of MBA NSW most of his working life, and has also a member of the Highland Society, along with his siblings.

Construction and Real Estate Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1930 - 1938), Wednesday 11 December 1935. Vale, James Pringle "HE HATH BUILDED MEN AND MANSIONS" Mr. James M. Pringle passed away last Saturday. The end was not unexpected for failing health during recent years had left him with little resistance to meet an accident, involving a dislocated hip, which befell him a few weeks ago. James Pringle was one of the Australian Building Industry's most lovable personalities, and one who will be remembered as having devoted his lite to the service and uplift of the industry which he adorned. He was not a Master Builder who thought only of his own particular business nor of the industry of the State in which he worked, but he was a big Australian who thought only of the building industry of the Commonwealth. In fact, if there were one man above all others who was respected and admired for what he accomplished for the builders of all States of Australia, it was James Pringle. The Federal Conditions of Contract which architects now enjoy was due principally to his work and energy. He was a Past President of the Master Builders' Federation of Australia, and he attended conference after conference of that body, only failing health during the last few years preventing him from taking further part in the deliberations. Even then his writings were sought, read and dscussed at recent conferences. He was not only a builder but a scholar, and in that respect we draw attention to the remarkable will-power, love of his subject, and energy which enabled him, even during the last two years, to evolve his geometrograph for the simplification of the teaching of perspective drawing. This method was the product of his own brain. He had applied it during his earlier years of teaching the subject so he decided in his later life to leave it for the benefit of teachers in the various Technical Colleges of Australia. Accordingly he had sets of the appliance made and presented them to the various colleges throughout the Commonwealth. Only a few weeks before his death he had prepared, with a view to publication, the compilation of a treatise on the subject of drawing. Another fine work for which the Master Builders of New South Wales can thank him was the establishment of bricklaying and plastering classes at Ultimo, which until the depression overtook the industry a few years ago, met with signal success in relieving the shortage of tradesmen that existed at that time. James M. Pringle, a native of Greenlaw, Berwickshire, Scotland, arrived in Melbourne on his birthday, the 2nd of November, 1883. He came on to Sydney and although he had laid the tools of his trade aside, having for some years been a foreman, he wisely brought them with him, and worked for some months at the erection of a city building During this time he got in touch with the Board of Technical Education, then recently established, and, as he had certificates from the Board of Manufactures' School of Arts in Edinburgh in drawing subjects, and had especially distinguished himself in Geometrical Drawing and Advanced Perspective, he was engaged to give a number of illustrated lectures on Drawing applied to Building Construction in the School of Arts. In February, 1884, he received a Government appointment in the Colonial Architect's Department under Mr. Barnet, and was sent to Bathurst, at that time the headquarters of the office in the Western District. During the next four years he was associated with Mr. Roberts in superintending the erection of the Bathurst Gaol, the Dubbo Court House, and other buildings in the West, which at that time took in Mount Victoria, Bourke, Mudgee, Condobolin, Cobar, Coonamble, Walgett, and the country that lay between. Mr. Pringle resigned from the Colonial Architect's Department in 1888, as the prospects of advancement in the Government scrvice were remote, and joined Mr. W. Smith as a partner. The first job of the new firm was extensive alterations to the Sydney Mint. The next undertaking was the Australian Club, Macquarie Street, where one may note a most difficult piece of construction - the elliptical arch on the segment of a circle at the entrance. Other works followed, and the firm of J. M. and A. Pringle - Mr. Smith having died in 1903 (sic 1893) - came into being. Shortly after joining the Master Builders' Association, Mr. Pringle became a member of the committee, and at once took a great interest in the work of the Association. He was President in 1898: President of the Master Builders' Federation of Australia in 1902, whilst he represented Australia at the meeting of the British Federation of Master Builders at Birmingham in 1908. Truly, it may be said of James Pringle "He hath builded Men and Mansions." https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/222917714


  • CJC & LDS BC Ref C 117435. Vic BDM MC 3158. NSW BDM DC 24707

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Images: 2
Australian Club built by Smith & Pringle
Australian Club built by Smith & Pringle

Australian Club
Australian Club


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