Engineers Australia Northern Territory mourns the loss of former Northern Territory Minister and Engineers Australia Member, Hon. Frederick “Fred” Arthur Finch AM FIEAust.
Born in Port Kembla, New South Wales, Finch began his tertiary studies at the age of 16 before graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering at the University of New South Wales’ Wollongong chapter in 1969 and swiftly landing a role with the Sydney Water Board.
After nine years, Finch left the Water Board to work with a private engineering firm centralised around areas of land development, civil construction and consulting engineering.
Finch accepted a new position managing a small consulting office on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in 1972 before a transfer offer to Darwin was extended to the then 27-year-old.
Following the devastation of Cyclone Tracey in December of 1974, Finch’s public service duties to the Northern Territory began by overseeing the structural requirements for private sector reconstruction.
First joining Engineers Australia as a member in 1969 as a student, Finch earned his Chartered status in 1973 before his election as President of the Institute of Engineers Australia in 1982. Finch eventually obtained Fellowship status in 1988.
Finch also held a remarkable career in politics spanning 14 years, first winning a legislative seat as a member of the Country Liberal Party in 1984. Finch went on to serve as a minister in the Hatton, Perron and Stone governments, also serving as Minister for Transport and Works (1987-1992), Minister for Racing and Gaming (1989-1990, 1996-1997), Minister for Education and Training (1992-1995, 1996-1997), Minister for Public Employment (1992-1994, 1995-1997), Attorney-General (1994-1995), Minister for Health Services (1995-1996) and Minister for the Liquor Commission (1995-1996).
No stranger to community service, Finch was an avid supporter, participant, and coach of Surf Life Saving for over 15 years and was appointed an Honorary Lion in 2000 by his old club, Darwin Casuarina.
Finch also showed great interest in his involvement of the game of rugby union in the Northern Territory, holding a number of executive roles in the Territory and whilst maintaining a presence on the field.
In January of 2007, Finch was a recipient of the Member of the Order of Australia for his service to the community of the of the Northern Territory through the Legislative Assembly, particularly portfolio responsibilities of education, health and public works, to the surf lifesaving movement, and to NT Rugby Union.
Engineers Australia Northern Territory Division General Manager, Mark Monaghan, said:
“It is with a heavy heart that we farewell one of the Territory’s most influential engineers. His contribution to all aspects of the Northern Territory was immense, his dedication to the engineering sector unwavering and the legacy his work will leave is certainly something to behold.”