Sep 17, 2020

Marking 90 years of engineering achievement

Marking 90 years of engineering achievement The first Board members: Roger Hawken, John Kemp and Arthur Midson; (bottom row) Charles Parkinson, John Just and Daniel Evans.

The Board of Professional Engineers of Queensland is celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2020, and is showcasing its history and member accomplishments through an online presentation.

The BPEQ is an independent statutory body responsible for regulating the engineering profession across the state, through standards designed to uphold the highest engineering conduct. It is responsible for managing the Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ) system.

The first Board meeting was held on Monday, September 1 in 1930 and the the very first RPEQs were registered on September 17 in that year.

Professor Roger William Hercules Hawken is credited with getting the ball rolling, seeing registration of engineers as a way of protecting the public by ensuring that complex engineering work was only ever done by qualified and competent professionals.

At his suggestion, Queensland became the first state to legislate for compulsory registration of consulting engineers and he was appointed inaugural Chair of the Board of Professional Engineers of Queensland.

Only now is Victoria following suit, with the Professional Engineers Registration Bill passed in the Victorian Parliament in 2019 and due to come into effect next year.

And in June this year the NSW Parliament passed the Design and Building Practitioners Bill, bringing in a requirement from July next year for professional engineers to be registered to practice without supervision.

The COVID-19 situation has seen RPEQ postpone plans for events in Brisbane and Cairns to recognise some of its greats.

But it has produced a web resource sharing the group’s history and highlighting some of Queensland’s great engineering projects, companies and members.

Mount Isa Mines is one of the great companies celebrated in the BPEQ presentation. This photo from 1940 features on the website, courtesy of the Queensland State Archives.