50th Anniversary Book

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Australian Geomechanics Society, a book was produced to acknowledge the people and events that have shaped the society since 1970.

A limited number of print copies are available to purchase. Please contact [email protected]

A digital version of the book can be downloaded here (PDF 32MB):


Welcome to the AGS 50th Anniversary Commemorative book. This book has been written by you, and for you, our Australian geotechnical practitioners and members of the AGS.

The Australian Geomechanics Society (AGS) is a technical society of Engineers Australia (EA), created to promote and advance the theory and practice of geomechanics in Australia. The society was formed in 1970, by a group of dedicated individuals who saw the need for a single group to bring together the fields of soil and rock mechanics as well as civil and mining engineering. Soon after, in 1973, engineering geology was included in the area of practice served by the AGS. The AGS is affiliated with the three associated international societies, namely The International Society for Soil
Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE), The International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM) and The International Association for Engineering Geology and Environment (IAEG).

The geotechnical profession in Australia has continued to grow with the nation over the last 50 years. Exploring our vast land and its varying geology, geomechanics professionals have embraced challenges and developed new approaches to design, incorporating our improved understanding of local conditions. Collaboration between industry and academia has been a great part of these successes; as well as the willingness of the profession to share developments with colleagues in the wider geotechnical community. As the AGS chair and a practising geotechnical professional, I greatly appreciate and admire the accomplishments of those who came before me, and of those who are still expanding our knowledge in all aspects of geotechnics. I am proud to be part of this Australian geomechanics community.

The AGS today is a vibrant society, with approximately 2000 members across Australia. We support a high level of activity including regularly scheduled conferences/symposia, evening technical presentations, a quarterly technical journal, training courses and other continuing professional development (CPD) activities. The AGS is recognised both within Australia and internationally as a highly successful technical society that provides valuable services to the profession.

Over the last 50 years, a large number of volunteers have offered their time to the AGS and have helped it flourish. If asked to write a few words for a journal, book or other publication this will be done, always in good spirit. If there is a need identified to provide technical support/education to the geotechnical profession, or those in related fields, then our knowledgeable colleagues step up and provide courses, author guidelines and update technical standards. On behalf of all AGS members past, present and future, I thank you all for your commitment and support.

The articles included in this 50th anniversary book are one of three types: Chair articles written by every past living chair of the AGS national committee, describing their experience in the role; Project papers written at the invitation of the book committee, by highly regarded “luminaries” of our profession; and Chapter histories written by volunteers on behalf of each of the seven AGS chapters.

The history of the AGS has been set out as a chronological account, separated into chapters that broadly cover one decade. The articles in each chapter are tied loosely together into a theme suggested by the luminary project papers included therein. The first chapter is on the activities of the pioneers of our profession in Australia in the years before 1970, taking us on a journey through to 2020.

My sincere thanks to the editor, Tanya Kouzmin, for her vision for this celebratory book and for her tireless efforts in making this a reality. I also thank the other book committee members (Harry Poulos and Stephen Fityus), for providing assistance to Tanya in the form of brainstorming, proofreading and generally supporting the preparation of the book.

We hope you enjoy this book.

Nina Levy
National Chair, Australian Geomechanics Society, 2019-2020