Member Biography

O. Inkster

Oluff Inkster

(1885.03.25 – 1963.04.10)
Commission #077

Oluff Inkster was born in a log house in southeast Edmonton on March 25th, 1885, one of 10 children of Mr. and Mrs. Robert James Inkster.

Mr. Robert James Inkster was a pioneer freighter, farmer and hunter of the west and a native of Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.

Mrs. R. J. Inkster was born in Prince Albert, Sask., in 1864 as Charlotte Mary Olsen and was of Danish descent.

Oluff Inkster attended public school (log shack type) in East Edmonton until 1898 when he decided to try his hand at farming. By 1902 he was convinced he was not cut out to be a farmer and took a job on a survey party with Robert W. Lendrum, D.L.S., performing township subdivision surveys. Upon the retirement of Mr. Lendrum in 1904, Oluff began work with Driscoll & Knight, surveyors, and became articled to the former in 1905, obtaining his D.L.S. commission in 1910, and his A.L.S. commission the following year. He attended the University of Alberta College of Engineering from 1908 to 1911, completing three years of his course, and was compelled to defer his studies until the fall of 1911, when the fourth year class was cancelled due to a lack of equipment and students.

From 1911 to 1915 he carried on a private practice with offices in South Edmonton, performing township subdivisions, city and townsite surveys, and miscellaneous engineering surveys including the location of the Lacombe to Rimbey Railway Line.

He was married in Edmonton on July 16, 1913, to Florence Elizabeth Randall.

Oluff joined the army in 1916, serving with the Canadian Expeditionary force, the Infantry Corps and the Canadian Survey Company. He retired with the rank of Sergeant in 1918 after having been decorated with the military medal (M.M.).

He returned to private practice in Edmonton in 1918, doing engineering and survey work for Alberta Government Telephones, The Lethbridge Irrigation Works, and the Alberta Government Highways, in both northern and southern districts. After the death of his wife in 1926, he moved to Regina and was employed with the Saskatchewan Power Corporation on High Tension Line Construction, and was made an associate member of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. He obtained his S.L.S. commission in Saskatoon in 1932.

In 1932 he married Amy Field in Regina.

Oluff returned to Alberta in 1934 and carried on in private practice until 1940, when he joined the R.C.A.F. as Works Office on the Construction and Maintenance of Airfields, throughout Alberta. In 1942 he played a vital role in the locating and constructing of airfields on the Northwest Staging Route from Edmonton to Whitehorse, Y.T. Upon his discharge from the R.C.A.F. in 1943, he returned to. private practice in Edmonton, taking over the firm of Driscoll and Knight and Cautley, from the then active partner Mr. R. H. Cautley.

In 1950 he sold his firm to Phillips, Hamilton & Associates and continued a part time practice, performing miscellaneous legal and engineering surveys for Imperial Oil Limited.

He began a semi-retirement on Galiano Island, B.C., in 1953. In the summer of 1954, he was engaged by the survey firm of Hamilton & Olsen Limited to supervise the legal survey of some two hundred miles of right-of-way for the Trans Canada Pipe Line Company in west central Saskatchewan.

He was voted a Life Member of the Alberta Land Surveyors' Association in 1956, and was honoured at the "Old Timers Stag Luncheon" during the annual meeting in January of the same year.

Prepared by Buck Olson, ALS (Hon. L/M)

(From: biography on Alberta Land Surveyors Association web site.)