John Frederick Adolphus McNair (1828-1910) was a multi-talented civil servant in the service of the Straits Settlements. In 1857, he was appointed Executive Engineer and Superintendent of Convicts in the Straits Settlements (Penang, Malacca and Singapore) and he was also responsible for Public Works and the Oriental Gaol in Singapore. In 1867, he accompanied Sir Harry Ord to Singapore, when control of the Straits Settlements was transferred from the India Office to the Colonial Office in London. He was appointed Colonial Engineer and through his efforts, the building of the water works which had been plagued with failures, was successfully completed. In 1875, he was appointed Chief Commissioner for the Pacification of Larut in Perak. In 1882, he was appointed Acting Resident Councillor to the Governor of Penang. He resigned his position in 1884 on medical grounds. His several missions to Siam (now Thailand) gained him familiarity with the King of Siam and he was conferred with the Order of the White Elephant. On 24 May 1878, he was knighted with C. M.G..