NZ Geomechanics News

The 13th Australia New Zealand Conference on Geomechanics

1. Introduction

The 13th Australia New Zealand Conference on Geomechanics was organised by the Australian Geomechanics Society (AGS) and held in Perth, Western Australia, at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre between 1 and 3 April 2019. The current ANZ series of conferences on geomechanics is held under the auspices of the ISSMGE and started in 1971 (noting that five ANZ conferences on soil mechanics and foundation engineering were held between 1952 and 1967). Previous events in the current series were held in Melbourne (1971), Brisbane (1975), Wellington (1980), Perth (1984), Sydney (1988), Christchurch (1992), Adelaide (1996), Hobart (1999), Auckland (2004), Brisbane (2007), Melbourne (2012) and Wellington (2015). The cooperation of the sister New Zealand Geotechnical Society (NZGS) is acknowledged.

2. Technical program

2.1 Abstracts and papers

A total of 369 abstracts were submitted and peer reviewed, resulting in 199 papers in the proceedings volume. The host country led the submissions as shown in Figure 1. It is interesting to note that 10.4% of final papers came from 13 countries belonging to other regions of the ISSMGE.

The distribution of papers by the main themes of the parallel sessions is presented in Figure 2.


Figure 1: Distribution of papers by country of origin



Figure 2: Paper submissions by conference themes

2.2 Keynote lectures

Seven keynote lectures were delivered by:

  • Prof (Emeritus) Fumio Tatsuoka (University of Tokyo and Tokyo University of Science, Japan) – Geosynthetic-reinforced soil structures for transportation – from walls to bridges
  • Rob Day (Arup, Australia) – Trying to make a difference – and why sometimes we can’t [AGS Practitioner Award Lecture (2016)]
  • Prof Misko Cubrinovski (University of Canterbury, New Zealand) – Some important considerations in the engineering assessment of soil liquefaction [NZGS Geomechanics Award Lecture (2018)]
  • Dr Doug Stewart (Golder Associates, Australia) – Unexpected ground movements and their impact
  • Dr Oskar Sigl (Geoconsult Asia, Singapore) – Dealing with the challenges of underground construction
  • Mike Jefferies (Golder Associates, UK) – The utility of critical state soil mechanics
  • Marc Woodward (CMW Geosciences, Australia) – Effective communication – A critical component of geotechnical engineering

The full proceedings will be made available at the AGS website and the ISSMGE Online Library by the end of June 2019.


Figure 3: Keynote lecturers (L-R, top-bottom) – Prof Fumio Tatsuoka, Rob Day, Prof Misko Cubrinovski, Dr Doug Stewart, Dr Oskar Sigl, Mike Jefferies and Marc Woodward

2.3 Conference awards:

An independent panel of judges from Australia and New Zealand selected the winners and highly commended finalists for the following awards that are traditionally presented at this conference series:

a) Best paper

(Joint Societies Award)
Winner: Strath Clarke, Garry Mostyn and Bernard Shen – Collapse of the Old Pacific Highway, Piles Creek, Somersby
Highly Commended: Ian Finnie, Rick Gillinder, Mark Richardson, Carl Erbrich, Mark Wilson, Fiona Chow, Meysam Banimahd and Steve Tyler – Design and installation of Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit mooring piles using innovative drive-drill-drive techniques

b) Best paper by a young professional (< 35 years old)

Winner: Sean Goodall – Design of a reinforced soil capping beam over a soil-bentonite barrier wall
Highly Commended: James Watton and Mark Fowler – Geotechnical management of large scale slope deformations at the Teal Gold project

c) Best poster

Winner: Su Kwong Tan – Geotechnical design and construction considerations for Old Mandurah traffic bridge project
Highly Commended: Elisabeth Boczek and Marc Amtsberg – Operational and construction impacts on GCL performance in TSFs

Each winner received a certificate and A$1,000 and the highly commended finalists received a certificate and A$500.

3. Social program

A pre-conference field trip showcasing Perth’s regional geology highlights was organised. The tour went to the rugged Darling Range to the East of Perth and visited Canning Dam, its quarry and the surrounds. Then it returned to the centre of Perth for lunch at the iconic Old Swan Brewery. After lunch the tour head to the magnificent Indian Ocean Coastline with its coastal limestones in Fremantle at the Fremantle Port, historic Round House and Whalers Tunnel. From Fremantle the tour returned to the Perth CBD.

The conference gala dinner was held at Fraser’s in Kings Park, the state’s reception centre that celebrates the best Western Australia has to offer in food and wine. The event included entertainment from Domenic Zurzolo, one of Australia’s premier guitarist, and Mick Collis (author, poet and rugby commentator) with a fascinating story of how it took him ‘42 years to play for Australia’.


Figure 4: Tony Fairclough (NZGS Chair), Sean Goodall, Ian Finnie, Su Kwong Tan and Prof Stephen Fityus (AGS Chair)



Figure 5: Domenic Zurzolo (left) and Mick Collis during the gala dinner

4. Conference attendance

A total of 465 delegates (including exhibitors and sponsors) attended the conference (Figure 6). The distribution by country of origin is presented in Figure 7, noting that apart from Australia and New Zealand, 20 other countries were represented.

A total of eight plenary sessions were held, including seven keynotes and a panel discussion organised by the ISSMGE’s Corporate Associates Presidential Group on the topic of ‘Collaboration in geotechnical engineering – Impact on Research and Project Delivery’. A total of 179 papers were presented in 40 parallel sessions. The technical program was complemented with 20 electronic poster presentations.


Figure 6: Day and total number of registrations by date



Figure 7: Registrations by country of origin

5. Exhibition

The exhibition space was sold-out to accommodate 43 booths for sponsors and exhibitors. Two prizes of A$500 were drawn among attendees that completed a delegate passport by visiting several stands.

6. Venue for next ANZ Conference on Geomechanics

Hosting of the ANZ Conference on Geomechanics rotates 2:1 between Australia and New Zealand. The AGS will host the 14th ANZ Conference on Geomechanics in Cairns, Queensland in 2023.


Figure 8: General view of exhibition area

7. Acknowledgements

The AGS thanks all the delegates, speakers, voluntary reviewers, sponsors and exhibitors for their contribution to the success of this event. A special mention to Arinex, Professional Conference Organiser, for their support in the organisation.

Tags : #13th ANZ

NZ Geomechanics News
Hugo Acosta-Martinez, Michael Smith
NZ Geomechanics News>Issue 97 – June 2019
Conference, Society News

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