Premier's Award Winner - Infrastructure, 2011

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Hume Highway Longwall Mining


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Allen Neyland Tunnelling Achievement Award, 2007

Presented to Philip Pells

On the occasion of the thirteenth Australian Tunnelling Conference, Melbourne

Philip Pells has over the past 30 years established a reputation within the tunnelling industry not only as a leader in the field of geotechnical engineering but also for his capacity for innovation in construction and for his wider contributions toward delivering major underground infrastructure.

Philip graduated from the University of Cape Town in 1966 and went on to complete a Masters degree at the Imperial College, London. Moving to Sydney in 1975, Philip lectured in Rock Mechanics at the University of Sydney and quickly became an expert on Sydney's geology.

Joining Coffey Partners in 1981, Philip worked on a number of landmark projects in Sydney including the Sydney Opera House Carpark where he truly extended the boundaries of engineering and innovation in the design of the underground cavern.

In 1993, having been awarded a Doctor of Science in Engineering from Cape Town University, Philip formed Pells Sullivan Meynink. He also presented the EH Davis Memorial Lecture in that year on "Rock Mechanics and Engineering Geology in the Design of Underground Works".

In 1997, Philip was appointed Adjunct Professor of Civil Engineering at University of NSW and while working on Sydney's New Southern Railway project, he developed the absolute and differential settlement criteria which continue to be used by NSW government agencies today.

In 1999 Philip was retained to review the causes of the failure of the Burnley Tunnel in Melbourne and in 2004 he was appointed Chairman of the Engineering Taskforce established by the Mayor of Brisbane for the evaluation of the North-South Bypass Tunnel and other road tunnels in Brisbane.

Having himself been responsible or numerous significant engineering achievements, Philip is also a prolific educator and has remained dedicated to the education of future generations. He has maintained strong on-going relationships with our universities and also published over 80 technical papers.

Centenary Medal, 2003

for Contribution to Australian Society

For service to Australian society in civil engineering.

Philip was part of both the Sydney Harbour Tunnel design team and for the Opera House Carpark. He was also involved in the Eastern Distributor tunnels where the unique double-decker design was developed. Along the way, Philip was inspired and encouraged by Professors Ted Davis and Harry Poulos.

The E.H. Davis Memorial Lecture, 1993

The E.H. Davis Memorial Lecture was established in 1983 by the Australian Geomechanics Society to honour a man who was one of the pioneers of geomechanics in Australia.

Following Ted's untimely death in 1981, the AGS discussed at considerable length ways in which his contribution to Australian Geomechanics could be commemorated. Because of his deep interest in the practical application of theory, it was finally decided that the E.H. Davis Memorial Lecture would be established every 2 years by a person who had made "distinguished recent contributions to the theory and practice of geomechanics in Australia".

Dr Philip Pells presented the E.H. Davis Memorial Lecture in 1993. It was titled "Rock Mechanics and Engineering Geology in the Design of Underground Works":

The first part of this lecture was published in the Australian Geomechanics Journal. Copies of all three parts of this lecture are included on this website.