Grafton Bridge: James Tyler

James Tyler

James Tyler (1877- 1947 ) Assistant City Engineer

James Tyler was W.A.Bush’s assistant on the Grafton Bridge project. He was born in Auckland and educated at Auckland University.

He designed a 19.8 m high concrete slab and buttress dam as part of the Auckland City Water Supply System in the Waitakeres.

The Upper Nihotupu Dam was opened by the Hon J G Coates, Minister of Works on 14 April 1923.

Tyler became City Engineer in 1929 following Bush’s resignation. His salary salary was £ 1750 a year.

Tyler helped in the creation of Tamaki Drive, which was completed in 1932 after six years construction.

He was in charge of the improvements of the Auckland Domain in 1934.

The most prominent part of that project was the Elliot Memorial Entrance Gate on Park Road designed by Gummer & Ford with sculptures by Richard Gross.

During the Second World War Tyler designed the tunnel system excavated under Albert Park.

The soil that was dug out was used to fill in a gully in Myers Park.

Work began on this complex in December 1941 and they were opened by the Mayor John Allum in October 1942. The system was filled in in 1945.

James Tyler retired as the City Engineer in March 1944.

Tributes by Staff

In 1946 he is listed as the Vice-President of the Methodist Church in Auckland, having been a supporter of the Helping Hand Mission in Freemans Bay since before 1900..

His brother George was one of the members of the 1905 All Black Team.

James was a member of the Auckland Bowling Club which is located on Grafton Road below the Auckland Domain.

He was also a member of the Rotary Club and in 1910 was Chairman of the YMCA.

A street in Lynfield is named James Tyler Crescent, it was developed on land owned by the Methodist Trust Board. Tyler street in the central city is also named after him.