Australian Dictionary of Biography

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: Use double quotes to search for a phrase

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Charles George Schroder (1893–1962)

by Margaret Steinberger

This article was published:

Charles George Schroder (1893-1962), by unknown photographer

Charles George Schroder (1893-1962), by unknown photographer

State Library of New South Wales, Home and Away - 26948

Charles George Schroder (1893-1962), water-board official, was born on 26 March 1893 at Fernmount, New South Wales, son of Carl Hammer Schroder, a Danish-born engineer, and his Scottish wife Barbara McKay, née Donald. Carl was a dredge-master who worked in the Northern Rivers region. In 1903 the family moved from Bellingen to Newcastle where Charles attended Wickham Superior Public School. After being briefly employed by Carrington Municipal Council, he joined the Hunter District Water Supply and Sewerage Board as a junior clerk in 1909.

On 9 June 1915 Schroder enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. Landing at Gallipoli, he served with the 3rd Battalion (September-October) and at Anzac Corps headquarters. In 1916-18 he performed staff duties at the headquarters of II Anzac (later XXII) Corps on the Western Front. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (January 1917), promoted warrant officer, class one (December), and mentioned in dispatches (1918). For his work with the French Fifth Army in the 2nd battle of the Marne (July-August 1918), he won the Croix de Guerre (1919). Returning to Newcastle, he was discharged from the A.I.F. on 6 June 1919. At the Methodist Church, Mayfield, on 20 November 1920 he married Ella Elizabeth Gilbert.

Qualifying for membership of both the Federal Institute of Accountants and the Australasian Institute of Secretaries, Schroder became the water board's principal bookkeeper (1924), accountant (1934) and secretary (1936), and was responsible for mechanizing its accounting procedures. His 'confidence and determination' convinced the board in 1938 to proceed with a three-year programme costing £2.33 million: the plan envisaged the extension of water mains and sewerage services to outlying areas, and the building of large trunk mains to meet future demand. On 7 December 1938 Schroder took office as president of the reconstituted Hunter District Water Board. His appointment, initially for seven years, was to be renewed in 1945 and again in 1952.

Schroder vigorously supported the construction of the Tomago Sandbeds Water Supply Works, which was completed in 1944. During World War II he served on the State War Effort Co-ordination Committee and as chief executive officer of the Northern District Co-ordination Control. He later belonged to the Newcastle Regional Development Committee. Following three years of poor health, he retired in March 1953, lauded for his 'ability, drive and capacity for work'. A newspaper columnist said that, by industry and private study, he had 'fitted himself for one upward step after another until he reached the top'.

Living at Toronto, on Lake Macquarie, Schroder enjoyed fishing and sailing. Photographs reveal a bespectacled man with close-cropped hair and a face filled with character. Survived by his wife and their three sons, he died of cancer on 22 November 1962 at Toronto and was cremated with Presbyterian forms. His successor Frank Finnan said that he left 'a monument of service behind him'. A reserve at Waratah and a pumping station at the Grahamstown reservoir were named after Schroder.

Select Bibliography

  • Hunter District Water Board (New South Wales), Tomago Sandbeds Water Supply Scheme (Newcastle, 1948)
  • Report of the Hunter District Water Board for the Year Ended 30 June 1953, Parliamentary Papers (New South Wales), 1954
  • Newcastle Morning Herald, 8 Feb 1950, 27 Nov 1962
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 13 Mar 1953.

Citation details

Margaret Steinberger, 'Schroder, Charles George (1893–1962)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2002, accessed online 26 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 16, (Melbourne University Press), 2002

View the front pages for Volume 16

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Charles George Schroder (1893-1962), by unknown photographer

Charles George Schroder (1893-1962), by unknown photographer

State Library of New South Wales, Home and Away - 26948

Life Summary [details]


26 March, 1893
Fernmount, New South Wales, Australia


22 November, 1962 (aged 69)
Toronto, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.