Life of the association

CIGRE Australia celebrates 70 Years

As we move into 2024, the Australian National Committee proudly reflects on the celebrations it held this past year for its 70th Anniversary.

By Terry Killen and Peter McIntyre

The inaugural meeting of Australian National Committee was held on the 8th December 1953 with just eleven members. 70 years later, we have over 500 members and are one of the largest CIGRE National Committees. Our NC has grown steadily since its early days and has seen a significant membership growth and interest over recent years.

Several existing Collective members can trace a continual line of membership back to the original members in 1953 as they grew from the state-based electricity bodies who were involved in CIGRE’s formation in Australia.

ANC meeting, 1950s

As part of the celebratory year, CIGRE Australia has produced a History Wall Chart depicting our growth and significant events over the past 70 years, as well as a History Booklet highlighting key moments and the people who have made CIGRE Australia what it is today.

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In June, we came together to celebrate and acknowledge our seventy years with a member dinner in Brisbane. It was a fantastic opportunity to thank those who had been pivotal to the success of CIGRE Australia over those decades and for many to renew acquaintances. Our anniversary provided an opportunity to reflect that our strength lies not only in the capability and quality of our members, but also the relationships that are forged as part of membership.

David Croft (Third Regional Meeting, Melbourne, 1997)

CIGRE Australia’s significant contribution to the wider CIGRE global community has included extensive participation in Working Groups and Study Committees but our NC has also provided a Global President - David Croft (2000-2004) - and two Global Treasurers - Peter Tyree (2004-2008) and Richard Bevan (2012-2016). 

We proudly replicated the sixteen Study Committees here in Australia and have had active representative status on each of the sixteen global Study Committees continually for the past fifteen years. We continue to support Working Groups and Study Committees with expert membership and active participation.

More recently, young members of CIGRE Australia formed our local NGN and participate in the global NGN network. Phil Coughlan, a past Australian NGN Chair, is the current global NGN Chairman.

Many of our members over the years have also received global recognition with a range of CIGRE awards, including Richard Bevan (CIGRE Medal - 2021), Phil Southwell (Felllow 2016), Terry Krieg, David Croft, Peter Tyree, Doug Aberle, Philip Dulhunty, Phil Southwell, Richard Bevan and Graham Vincent (Honorary members).  Australia has also seen fifteen Distinguished member awards granted since our establishment.

Australia NC developed and provided the KMS to the CIGRE family through the work of member Rod Hughes.  One of our past chairs, Doug Aberle, played a key role in the development of and revitalisation of the global marketing plan.

CIGRE Australia also now runs several key technical events – the SEAPAC (South East Asia Protection, Automation and Control) conference; CIDER (Conference on the Integration of Distributed Energy Resources),as well as an annual transformer workshop, and the annual technical summary days, all of which are always well attended.

This past year Australia NC also hosted the Cairns23 Symposium, which saw over 1300 delegates meet in sub-tropical Cairns to discuss the challenges of the Energy Transition.  This was the largest CIGRE event ever held outside Paris. Hosting the Symposium was a great way to top off our seventieth year and provided a great opportunity for members to catch up and for us to show off the great work and contributions that are being carried out by CIGRE Australia and global members.

CIGRE Australia looks forward to continuing our contribution to the Energy Transition and to the professional growth of its members - and to growing CIGRE in Australia on the way to our centenary in 2053!

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