Engineers Australia

Society News

AGS National Committee Meeting


The next meeting of the AGS National Committee will take place in Sydney on Friday 23 March 2018. Please contact your National Committee representative should you wish to raise a point for discussion.

Australian Standard AS4678 Earth Retaining Structures


The Standards Development Advisory Committee (SDAC) from Standards Australia has conditionally approved a proposal for revision of AS 4678:2002 Earth-retaining structures.

Regular updates will be shared with the AGS membership.

Australian Geomechanics Invitation to submit Papers and Photographs


The Editorial Panel of Australian Geomechanics invites submission of papers to the journal. To view the journal’s Aims & Scope and Guide for Authors, and for information on how to submit your paper, please refer to the Editorial Policy at the end of this issue.

If you are interested in publishing your photos in Australian Geomechanics, please submit your contributions to Richard Heath, AGS Media Officer. This is a great opportunity to showcase and share your work and projects. Your picture could also be selected for the cover page of the journal!

If you would like to be considered for reviewing papers for the journal please contact the Editor, Tanya Kouzmin.

ICSMGE Sydney 2021


We Won! The AGS bid to bring the International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering to Sydney in 2021 was unanimously accepted at the ISSMGE Council Meeting held in Seoul on Sunday 17 September 2017. A detailed report on the bid and the conference itself has been prepared by Graham Scholey for the 52.4 issue of the journal.

Following confirmation of Sydney as the venue for ICSMGE-2021, the AGS ran a free registration competition. The winning business card was drawn by Professor Dong-Soo Kim, Chairman of the Organising Committee of ICSMGE-2017, during the closing ceremony of the event in Seoul. The winner was Mrs Joanne Marie T Parafina, a young female design engineer from the Philippines.

Registration of Geotechnical Professionals


The AGS National Committee approved a draft of the competencies and eligibility criteria for registration of geotechnical engineers and engineering geology professionals to be sent to the National Engineering Register for consideration. The AGS working group on the registration of geotechnical professional has been led by Darren Paul, Immediate Past Chair. It is expected that process will be finalised in 2018.

Call for papers for themed issues of Australian Geomechanics in 2018


The following two themed issues of Australian Geomechanics are planned for 2018:

  • The March 2018 issue will be dedicated to ‘Expansive soils’ and will be coordinated by the AGS Victoria Chapter. Please submit your abstracts to Daniel King on any related topic including characterisation of expansive soils, foundations, retaining structures and ground improvement applications, measurements and use of soil suction in design, slope stability and case histories. A call for papers with additional details is included in this issue.
  • The September 2018 issue will be focused on ‘Digital Geotechnics: applications, opportunities and risks’. Topics to be addressed include: the application of three dimensional models to design, construction and monitoring; innovative uses of GIS and BIM; innovative uses of Smart Phones and tablets; remote sensing from drones, airplanes and satellites; electronic data transfer formats; and, digital quality control, among others. Please contact Tim Thompson with questions or to submit papers.

2018 Distinguished Speaker Tours


During November 2017 Scott Anderson presented the keynote lecture prepared for the Sydney Symposium in Brisbane, Newcastle and Melbourne. You can view the presentation below if you have logged into the AGS website.

Details of distinguished speaker tours for 2018 are being finalised and will be announced soon.

Natural hazards, risk, and the resilience of U.S. transportation infrastructure presentation

Recorded at the Queensland Chapter Presentation 7 November 2017

(Only members who have logged-in will be able to see this video)

12th ANZ Young Geotechnical Professionals Conference


The 12th ANZ Young Geotechnical Professionals Conference will be held in Hobart, Tasmania on 7 – 8 November 2018.

Dr Hong Liu (University of Tasmania) is leading the organisation of the event. A Call for Papers is available on event page.

The 13th Australia New Zealand Conference on Geomechanics, regional event of ISSMGE for the Australasian region, will be held in Perth on 1-3 April 2019. A first notice with general information is available. The Chair of the Local Organising Committee is Michael Smith.

Nominations are still open for the 2017 E.H. Davis Memorial Lecture and the John Jaeger Memorial Award


Nominations are still open for the 2017 E.H. Davis Memorial Lecture and the John Jaeger Memorial Award. Please forward nominations to your chapter committee or directly to the AGS Secretariat no later than 1 February 2018.

Citation for John Vincent Simmons for the AGS Practitioner’s Award


Dr John Simmons has worked in the area of open cut coal mine geotechnical engineering for over 25 years. He obtained a first class honours degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Queensland, before completing an MSc at the University of Alberta in1974 and a PhD at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Professor Norbert Morgenstern in 1981.

In his early career, he worked briefly for the Irrigation and Water Supply Commission in Brisbane, and Golder Associates in Canada, before teaching Civil Engineering and Geomechanics, and researching tropical soils at James Cook University, North Queensland. In 1990 he joined BHP Engineering in Brisbane where he was responsible for all geotechnical activities of their Queensland-based operations. In 1995 he became an independent consultant through his company of Sherwood Geotechnical and Research Services, which provides geotechnical services to most of the bigger mining companies operating in Australia and he is one of a handful of high level geotechnical consultants who provide advice on the most difficult problems that arise in that industry.

John Simmons is a specialist geotechnical and civil engineer with wide experience in applied geology, materials testing, analysis, and design. He has dealt with soft clays and coastal sediments, stiff fissured clays, sands and tailings, mine waste dumps, residual soils, and rocks, and has fieldwork, laboratory testing, and computer modelling expertise, and he has worked in Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Vietnam, Algeria, and India.

John has published around 50 technical papers and he co-authored 3 chapters of the book “Mechanics of Residual Soils”. He has also conducted workshops, many through the Bowen Basin Symposia, in which he has shared his knowledge in practical ways. Documentation of geological observations, careful laboratory testing and back analyses of failures have underpinned his approach to his work. This has resulted in the establishment of standard methods of analysis for open cut coal mining and the geotechnical characterisation of materials that are encountered in coal mines in the Bowen Basin and Hunter Valley. John’s insistence on engineering rigour underpinned by geological understanding in the geotechnical assessment of open cut coal mines has contributed to safer and more productive mines within the Bowen Basin and beyond.

He has been a NATA Assessor in Soil and Concrete Testing since 1987. From 1990 to 1999 John was a committee member for the Queensland Chapter of the Australian Geomechanics Society including terms as chair and as national committee representative. He has served as an external auditor for the Queensland State Government and the Board of Professional Engineers Queensland.

John has devoted much of his time in recent years to the mentorship of junior geotechnical professionals in the mining industry. He is a founder and avid patron of the Bowen Basin and Hunter Open Pit Geotechnical Society, to encourage information exchange and excellence amongst geotechnical engineers in the mining industry, and a lot of his time is given to advising and supporting the core of young geotechnical engineers who are carrying on this initiative. He has been involved in organising and delivering professional development courses including Slope Stability Modelling using Galena, Coal Mining Geotechnics (for geologists and non-geotechnical engineers) and Geotechnical Risk Management. He is also currently co-supervisor for two PhD projects on large waste dumps and washery rejects disposal through his conjoint academic status with the University of Newcastle.

John is highly respected for his technical excellence, his practical approach and his ethical principles. He believes that there is a value in educating professionals in the mining industry to be better at what they do, rather than simply benefiting from providing expert advice on request. He also contributes a significant amount of his time to research aimed at improving the state-of-the-art for the benefit of practitioners and consultants alike. John distinguishes himself amongst practitioners and academics and he is a worthy recipient of the AGS Practitioners Award.