John Planner AM

FIEAust CPEng APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)


Introspec Consulting

John has committed his engineering career to improving productivity and safety in Australia’s major mining and primary industries. He is committed to achieving improvement in air quality for adjacent communities.

John commenced his consulting engineering practice, Planner West, in 1958 and proceeded to build a team of people who were all valued and encouraged. The practice grew to more than 100 people, when Planner West merged with GHD in 1981.

His GHD Director responsibilities included industrial and bulk handling projects, and practice management. He retired from GHD in 1993 to concentrate on research and development to reduce dust emission from mining, rail transport, and port operations, for the benefit of adjacent communities, serving more recently on a voluntary basis.

How long have you been volunteering with Engineers Australia?
After many years as an informal volunteer, my volunteer role was formalised in May 2018.

Why did you become a volunteer?
Part of the privilege of being a professional engineer is the privilege of service.

What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
The privilege of using my experience to help other people.

What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with Engineers Australia?
Travelling to France at my own cost to represent Engineers Australia at the Celebration of the Battle of Hamel Centenary Service on 4 July 2018. It was my privilege to lay a wreath at the Australian Memorial Corp Memorial at Le Hamel France, on behalf of EA, in memory of the Australians who served in the Battle under the Command of General Sir John Monash.

Hamel was the first battle of World War I, following the combination of all Australian Divisions under the command of arguably Australia’s greatest General, Sir John Monash. His ability for meticulous planning, introduction of then new technology, and application of science, engineering and project management, not only changed military tactics to minimise casualties, but set in motion a series of victories that led to an earlier end to an awful conflict. For the first time he coordinated the use of tanks, artillery, and aircraft with infantry.

Sir John Monash had an outstanding life of service to engineering, in addition to his contribution to the achievement of peace at end of the first world war. In past years it has been my privilege to speak to various groups about the great contribution by John Monash, through his visionary and innovative engineering projects, before and following his memorable military service.

It is notable that his engineering/military/engineering career spanned the formation period of Engineers Australia, and that Sir John Monash was a prominent member of other Scientific and Engineering Societies. The Centenary of the Battle of Hamel preceded the Centenary of Engineers Australia by a year or so, and his engineering experience helped achieve world peace, if only for a short period.

Image of John Planner

How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
The end objective of engineering is to service the welfare of people and the environment.

How do you balance work and volunteering?
All facets of life and performance are enhanced by a balance across family, work, leisure, and volunteering. “There is a lot of work in pleasure, and equally a lot of pleasure in work”

What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
Engineers are typically creative, disciplined and committed to achievement of positive outcomes. Volunteering provides a career extension.