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Obituaries Australia

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Littlejohn, Robert Stewart (1863–1931)

Major Robert Stewart Littlejohn, who died on October 29, and was buried on the following day at Kingswood Cemetery, near Penrith, was the second son of the late Mr. Thomas Littlejohn, a partner in Scott Henderson and Company, Sydney, who was for many years chairman of directors of the A.M.P. Society. 

Major R. S. Littlejohn was born in England in 1863, and came to Sydney as an infant with his parents. Major Littlejohn, as a boy, attended the preparatory school of Mr. Bowyer at Glebe, and afterwards the Sydney Grammar School. In 1881 he went to Dundee, and served his apprenticeship as an engineer with the shipbuilding firm of Gourlay Brothers. Returning to Sydney in 1886, he entered the service of the New South Wales Railways and afterwards he went into the Public Works Department as a draftsman. His life work was in that department, in which he rose to the position of chief designing engineer. He was responsible for the plans of many of the great water conservation works, bridges, and other constructional works carried out by the department. His versatile and inventive mind found an outlet in designing mechanical facilities of the most varied nature. Entering the Corps of Submarine Miners as a lieutenant, he invented a system by which the recoil of one gun fired in a battery propelled a second gun forward into its firing position. He also invented an anchor provided with hinged flukes, which could be operated from the vessel so as to spread out when the anchor fouled rocks so that it could be recovered. He was promoted to a captaincy, and afterwards to the rank of major during the Great War, in which, on account of age, he gave local service. In 1904 he married Miss Ethel Kate Berry, daughter of Sir Graham Berry, of Victoria, by whom he is survived. Of his three children, only one survives—Flight-Lieutenant Normand Berry Littlejohn, formerly of the Royal Australian Air Force, and lately appointed to a commission in the Royal Air Force, England. His three surviving brothers are Dr. E. S. Littlejohn, of Croydon, Mr. A. N. Littlejohn, of Vindin and Littlejohn, solicitors, and Mr. Albert Littlejohn, of Scott Henderson and Company. His surviving sisters are Mrs. Hetherington, Miss Christabel Littlejohn, and Miss Agnes Littlejohn. 

The funeral was a private one, only the near relatives being present.

Original publication

Citation details

'Littlejohn, Robert Stewart (1863–1931)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 August 2020.

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