Thank you from the ATS2017 Organising Committee

Dear Colleagues in Tunnelling,

I am pleased to say that feedback received has indicated that the 16th Australasian Tunnelling Society (ATS) Conference, held at The Star in Sydney from Sunday 29 October to Thursday 2 November 2017, was a success.

The conference can be described in the following numbers:

  • 13 plenary speakers
  • 120 technical presentations
  • 27 technical sessions
  • 4 social events
  • 2 site tours
  • 1 technical workshop
  • 700 attendees across all events

Attendees mingled with participants who had travelled from 19 countries: Australia; Austria; Belgium; Canada; China; France; Germany; Hong Kong; Israel; Italy; Malaysia; New Zealand; Qatar; Singapore; Solvenia; Switzerland; Thailand; UK and USA.

The task of organising such a large conference at such a busy time for the industry was a challenge.  I thank our event organisers at Engineer’s Australia, led by Caryn Morgan.  Our conference committee responded to the evolving (growing!) nature of the conference, and dealt with some unique challenges along the way.  Well done!

The conference committee were overwhelmed with 160 abstract submissions demonstrating the depth and breadth of knowledge and commitment to industry engagement of our technical community.  We responded to provide an additional 3rd presentation stream facility.

The work of the committee and event organisers was inspired by great support from our sponsors and exhibitors, who came on board early and provided the foundations for our successful conference.

On behalf of the committee I wish to thank our invited plenary speakers

  • Tim Reardon, Transport for NSW;
  • Angela Fiumara, Roads & Maritime Services;
  • Alan Morris, Sydney Metro, Transport for NSW;
  • Chris Dulake, Mott MacDonald (UK);
  • Professor Robert Galler, University of Leoben Austria;
  • Karin Baeppler, Herrenknecht AG;
  • Alexandre Gomes, ITA;
  • Douglas Maconochie, WSP;
  • Lisa Tobin, Transurban;
  • Thomas R Everett, US Dept of Transport;
  • Linda Cantan, Melbourne Metro;
  • Christian Bodner & Mark Sheffield of Aurecon;
  • Dallas Adams, Electrician & Roadheader Operator.

Our plenary sessions were followed by over 120 technical peer reviewed presentations in 3 concurrent streams covering

  • Urban Planning, Project Development & Project Delivery
  • Construction Methodologies
  • Ground & Ground Support
  • Systems, Operation and Maintenance
  • Urban Design & Aesthetic
  • Digital Tunnel & Data

A new social event addition was the Young Engineers & Industry Event on The Sydney Starship.   This was an excellent opportunity for students and early career engineers to meet with tunnelling luminaries from Australia and internationally.  It was good fun, and very pleasing that many first time visitors to Sydney were able to join us and enjoy views of the harbour.

Our congratulations to Ed Taylor, National Chair ATS, Engineering Manager at John Holland Group and Industry Icon on being awarded the Alan Neyland Tunnelling Achievement Award at the Awards Dinner.  The David Sugden Award was earlier presented by Ed Taylor to Singapore based Project Engineer, Russell Connors, for his complex work in mixed terrain.

To close the conference, we are very grateful to Dallas Adams for volunteering to provide his personal message regarding safety on our tunnelling worksites.  Dallas delivered his poignant message brilliantly.  It was a sombre yet appropriate reminder that the technical advances described at the conference are to contribute to a safe workplace.

Finally, I would appreciate your reflections on ATS2017, and your feedback as to how ATS2020 can provide further improvement as the premier forum for the tunnelling community in Australasia. Please provide your suggestions via my email address below.

Nigel Casey
Conference Chair
16th Australasian Tunnelling Conference 2017

ATS2017 Flickr Photosets