Bruce Cole graduated in civil engineering from the University of Tasmania in 1953. After three years at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, he joined the Hydro-Electric Commission in Tasmania where rapid hydro-electric development was in- train for the next 35 years. He was involved in the design and construction of several large dams, rising to Assistant Chief Civil Engineer (Design) before retiring in 1993 as Project Director of the last two power developments. He is an Honorary Life Member of Australian National Committee on Large Dams, a Life Member of the Australian Rhodes Scholars Association, and was awarded the John Monash Medal in 2018 for his contribution to engineering heritage.
How long have you been volunteering with Engineers Australia?
I have been on Tasmania Division Committee twice, once in the 1970s and more recently 2006-2013. Since 1996, I have been on the Tasmania Engineering Heritage Committee (Chair for several years) and Engineering Heritage Australia National Committee 2000-2017 (two years as Chair).
Why did you become a volunteer?
Initially I was proud of my profession and willing to help. After retirement in 1993, Engineering Heritage (EH) has been an interesting activity.
What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
I’ve enjoyed working on projects such as Heritage Recognition nominations and ceremonies, attending EH conferences, organising the Hobart EH conference in 2011, and lunching with colleagues. More recently, helping to create Wonders never cease and the second book for the Centenary.
What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with Engineers Australia?
Organising the 2011 Engineering Heritage Conference in Hobart in 2011 (the best ever!!!).
How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
My career was in large dam design and construction. When Tony Moulds initiated the heritage dams project in 1996 (run by Engineering Heritage Australia and the Australian National Committee on Large Dams), I was invited to join the small committee to carry it out, mainly as a writer but with the relevant background.
How do you balance work and volunteering?
I am retired. But I did have to off load several other responsibilities to run the conference.
What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
When your other commitments allow you to volunteer, it is an interesting and valuable activity, and you meet other engineers not connected with your work.