ISSMGE Bulletin: Volume 7, Issue 5


Harry G. Poulos
Senior Principal, Coffey Geotechnics, Sydney, Australia


The Australasian region of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) and its predecessor, the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering (ISSMFE) has been active since the 1950‟s. Given its relatively sparse population, this region has made some notable contributions to both research and practice in soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering. This brief paper attempts to identify some of the persons who pioneered the subject in Australasia and some of the outcomes that have led to the development of two of the most energetic national societies within ISSMGE, the Australian Geomechanics Society and the New Zealand Geotechnical Society.

Some brief statistics on the Australasian Societies will be presented first, and then the origins of the two Societies will be traced, together with their office-holders. Some brief comments on earlier influential personalities will be made, and then a summary will be presented of past conferences and Society awards that have been developed to recognise the achievements of the members of the Societies.


Figure 1 shows the number of members in the Australian and New Zealand Societies since the 1960‟s. Of particular note is the steep rise in membership since the late 1990‟s.

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