Margret Doring is a civil/structural engineer who has worked in domestic and multi-storey concrete construction in Melbourne and in tertiary education (teaching structures, concrete design, construction and materials science at UNSW and RMIT). In 1983 she took up a scholarship to study Architectural Conservation at ICCROM in Rome.
After returning, Margret became an Engineer Specialist in the NSW Department of Planning (Heritage Branch) for six years before joining her partner Carl Doring, a Mechanical Engineer and Industrial Archaeologist, in 1990 as Principal/Director of their firm of Engineering & Industrial Heritage Consultants. Margret and Carl moved to NE Victoria in 1997, and continued their heritage work from there. Margret is the founder and editor of the Engineering Heritage Australia Magazine (EHA Magazine), published online by Engineers Australia.
How long have you been volunteering with Engineers Australia?
Starting almost 40 years ago, with WIE in 1980, moving on to Engineering Heritage Sydney from 1983 and EH Victoria from 2008 until now. In 2009 I was part of the start-up of North-East Victoria Regional Group and became Chair in January 2010. I was elected to EA Victoria Division Committee in 2010. I remained Chair of NE Group and a member of Vic Division Committee until 2015. I am now an “observer member” of EHV.
Why did you become a volunteer?
With WIE, it was to attempt to improve the respect for, recognition of, and employment prospects for women engineers.With EHSydney and EHVictoria, it was to attempt to get first, the engineering community and next, the wider community to recognise, respect and help conserve the engineering and industrial heritage of this country.
With Regional and Division activities, it was to get EA generally, and particularly the metropolitan members of EA, to recognise, acknowledge, and do something to overcome the disadvantages and problems that all regional engineers, from whatever level in the profession, suffer under.
What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
Interactions with and friendships with other engineers who are working towards the same goals as me.
What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with Engineers Australia?
Going at least a little way to achieving some of the goals I set out above. In my time as Chair of the NE Victoria Regional Group I developed a very active and effective Committee. We organised a large number of highly successful and well attended events – dinners with visiting speakers, site visits, a mini conference, social gatherings.
How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
Particularly with engineering heritage, my career directs and is part of my work as a volunteer.
How do you balance work and volunteering?
Easily. The most long-lived part of my volunteering – engineering heritage – is also my work as an engineer, editor and writer.
What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
Go for it! In helping others, you can help yourself.
Image: courtesy of Margret Doring