Celebrating Engineers Australia’s Centenary Year in Tasmania

Join us in the celebrations as Engineers Australia turns 100! An update on how we are celebrating in Tasmania and opportunities for members to get involved.
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In 2019 Engineers Australia is celebrating its Centenary. Throughout the year we will pay tribute to Australian engineers who pushed boundaries, defied odds, and came up with innovations that no-one could have imagined 100 years ago.

To mark the occasion we have a range of events and initiatives that will take place throughout the year. You can follow these and get involved at Engineers Australia’s Centenary website.

Centenary celebrations were launched in Tasmania through a site tour of Trevallyn power station in February. The site tour focused on technical aspects and project and logistical challenges of the refurbishment of one of the hydro power turbines at the site.

The event was chosen as the launch as it is a special place in Tasmania’s history – the Trevallyn system and its predecessor the Duck Reach Power station are great examples of the transformative roles of engineering skills supporting the community, being the first hydroelectric power scheme in the southern hemisphere.

As General Manager David Pointing described in speaking with the participants and the media, “the community are comfortable today with ideas and discussion around new wind farms or new transmission lines, but think of the courage, vision and trust involved in engineers, government and the community planning to build the first hydroelectric system at a time when electricity wasn’t an everyday service in our lives.”

“For me, the Duck Reach and Trevallyn systems epitomise the power that engineering ideas and solutions can have on economies and communities – just look around at how electricity has enabled our way of life and economy in Tasmania – but also the importance of engineers having the ability to lead discussions in our communities”. 

Watch Division President David Finnigan and others speaking with WIN news about the Centenary year and the roles of the engineering team in Tasmania here.

Raised by the media at the Centenary launch event was the challenges of the changing face and diversity of the engineering community over the past 100 years. General Manager David Pointing replied “for Engineers Australia, our goal is to attract the smartest people to the profession, and we are proud of the evolution of our community over the last 100 years, and these days we are a much more diverse profession, in both age, gender, nationality, and approaches to life and to solving challenges for Tasmanian communities”.

Celebrating the contributions and diversity in our engineering community, and striving to enhance key elements of diversity such as gender, are key elements of our Centenary Year. This includes events such as a morning tea for International Women’s Day last month, hosted by the Tasmanian Diversity & Inclusion group with more than 30 members of the engineering team connecting in the Engineers Australia office in Hobart. Similar events are planned for International Day of Women in Engineering in Hobart and Launceston in June.

Other activities include our STEM outreach initiatives, scholarships for first year female engineering students, and our current mentoring project that connects ten young female leaders to mentors and a structured development program.

Supporting the development of our next generation of engineers is also a key part of our Centenary celebrations. Our new ‘Projects in the Pub’ series of events features young engineers and future leaders sharing their experiences with projects and their visions for engineering in Tasmania. The first event in Hobart will feature Lyndon Johnson and Adela Parnell, both Tasmanian Young Professional Engineers of the year. Other events are scheduled in Launceston, Devonport and Burnie during the year.

2018 Tasmanian Professional Engineer of the Year Donald Vaughan will also speak at events in Launceston and Burnie in May on leadership and “Our roles in engineering the next 100 years”. These events will recognise the invaluable contributions of the volunteer leaders in our community, including the office bearers on our committees who tirelessly contribute to guiding and supporting our activities for members and other contributors such as hosts of our Chartered Mentor sessions held around Tasmania.

If you know an engineer deserving of recognition for their innovation, resourcefulness or engineering excellence, the Engineer of the Year Award nominations are open until 31st May.

Acknowledging that Engineers Australia didn’t achieve this significant 100 year milestone without the support of valued partners and stakeholders, we’ll hold a joint event with the University of Tasmania (UTAS) in July to celebrate the centenary of the first Professor of Engineering at UTAS and the launch of new facilities in the School of Engineering. Our Engineering Heritage group is also working on formal recognition of a significant engineering achievement with direct links to UTAS, with a formal recognition event expected towards the end of 2019.

Given the historic themes of the Centenary year, the Tasmanian Engineering Heritage group are also contributing to two public seminars on the significant roles of engineers and contributions of engineering work in Tasmania with themes of irrigation and energy – past, present and future. These events will be open to the public and are opportunities for members to connect friends, family and colleagues to our profession. Keep an eye on the Engineers Australia Events page for more information.

Our annual booth at the Festival of Bright Ideas in Hobart in August, another key element of our efforts to engage the public, will have a strong theme on the role of engineers in Tasmania’s past, present and future. We invite members to register as volunteers to join us in inspiring school students so they might become engineers in 10 and 20 years time.

We are also working to connect with the public using the media; our first Talking Point article for the year in the Mercury in February explored the important roles of the engineering team in Tasmania, from driving innovations that support the economic and social developments to responding to the unexpected such as the Tasman bridge collapse.

As you can see, the Centenary Year is set to be a significant year in Tasmania. Members are encouraged to join Engineers Australia in celebrating all that has been achieved in advancing the profession of engineering.