Between 1854 and 1860 he worked as an assistant engineer with the Central Roads Board, surveying the Geelong-Ballarat Road and contributing to a number of bridge designs in the region, including the iron Barwon Bridge which opened in 1859.
|Barwon Bridge c1861, Image held by the State Library of Victoria|
One of his early projects for the shire would have included a bridge over the Warrambine Creek (a tributary of the Barwon River) on the Lower Western Road (Hamilton Highway) at Laing's Hotel past Inverleigh. The bridge was to be 30ft in length and have three spans. It was to take the place of an earlier ford and perhaps was seen as an urgent improvement after an accident only a few months before in October, 1863 when a mail coach attempted to cross the flooded Warrambine Creek was washed away, losing the luggage and most of the mail it was carrying and presumably the horses which could not be cut from their traces in time. The driver and a passenger however, made it to safety.
Another early design produced by Wilson was the plan for the construction of a new bridge over the Native Hut Creek at his home town of Teesdale. From the 1860s, Wilson had been making periodic reports requesting various repair measures for the bridge until in 1877 he finally indicated to the council that it was in need of replacement.
Accordingly, he drew up the plans and in February 1879 the contract was put out to tender. The bridge was to include a single masonry pier with masonry abutments on each bank, supporting a timber deck topped by road metal. Little more than a month later, work was under way.
|Engineer's drawings of the Teesdale Bridge by CAC Wilson, Image held by the|
State Library of Victoria
|The Teesdale Bridge in 2013|
|Shelford Bridge designed by CAC Wilson|
|Leigh Shire Hall, built 1872|
|A rainy day at Black Gully Dam. This photo was taken from atop the remains|
of the earthen wall commissioned by Wilson. Note the stones at bottom
right of the picture
A few kilometres further north, at the border of the Leigh and Meredith Shires was another small bridge which also came in for attention from CAC Wilson during his tenure as shire engineer. This was Taylor's Bridge at Bamganie, so called because it abutted the 1880 land selection of Mr Edwin Taylor. The bridge on Henderson's Road crosses Wilson's Creek just south of its confluence with Woodbourne Creek. Today it is a simple, concrete structure with a graveled surface, barely noticeable as you navigate the twists and turns of the road at this point.
|Taylor's Bridge, Bamganie 2013|
In the late 1880s Wilson designed McMillan's Bridge, a replacement for an earlier timber truss bridge over the Mt Misery Creek (at the time called the Little Woady Yalloak River) on the Rokewood-Skipton Road which had served since 1856. The new bridge was an iron and masonry structure like a number of those described above, employing a pair of 99ft lattice girders in a single span, but reusing the sandstone abutments from the previous structure. The deck was of hardwood topped with road metal. The bridge still stands today on the Rokewood-Skipton Road which at that time, bore the name of the Upper Western Road and ran from the Ballarat-Geelong Road through the towns of Leigh Road (Bannockburn), Teesdale, Shelford and Rokewood, crossing the Leigh Shire to the north of The Lower Western Road which also traversed the shire. Both roads were in large part the responsibility of the Leigh Shire and engineer Wilson.
In addition to these better-known structures, Wilson was also responsible for the maintenance and reconstruction of any number of smaller, lesser-known bridges and crossings such as the stone causeway which crossed the Cressy-Shelford Road in the 19th century, and a tiny bridge in Teesdale which crossed Native Hut Creek on Tolson Street. Wall's Bridge still stands there today and is clearly not new. A review of historical newspapers indicates that a timber bridge existed on the site at least as early as the 1870s, however like all such structures it needed regular maintenance and repair. By 1908 it was in need of replacement. Council voted that is should be replaced with an iron girder structure and in March the following year, tenders were called. In a matter of weeks however, it was decided that none of the tenders were acceptable and Wilson and another councilor were to discuss cheaper alternatives instead. All was quiet on the matter until August, 1910 when Wilson provided the council with three estimates for bridges constructed from timber, stone and iron, or concrete.
Finally, in March 1911, the council decided upon a timber and concrete bridge and the contract was awarded to John Pryor who had started work by July. Looking at the bridge today, it consists of two timber piers topped by iron girders, overlaid with timber and a - very - thin coating of bitumen. At each end is a small concrete abutment.
|Bitumen and timber decking on Wall's Bridge, Teesdale|
|Wall's Bridge, Teesdale|
He finally retired as the engineer of the Leigh Shire in 1910 when he was replaced in this role by his eldest son Charles Corbett Powell Wilson. His tenure as shire secretary however, continued for several more years, ending with his retirement in 1917 - a total of 54 years service to the shire.
Wilson died in Geelong on 7th October, 1923, survived by ten of his children and is buried in the Portarlington Cemetery.