The SAICE History and Heritage Panel is going strong and meets several times per year in Cape Town. The Panel was established in 2006 to celebrate people and projects that have played an important role in civil engineering in South Africa, and to assist in preserving engineering history for future generations.
The Panel is active in several projects. Among these are the identification and celebration of civil engineering landmarks, such as the Cape Agulhas lighthouse. During the course of 2016 this may well become South Africa’s second ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) International Landmark (the first was the Woodhead Dam on Table Mountain, awarded by ASCE in 2008).
Panel members have been responsible for several books, such as the late Graham Ross’s ‘The Romance of Cape Mountain Passes’ and Tony Murray’s recent ‘Megastructures and Masterminds’. The development of more such books by SAICE members is actively promoted. The ‘Past Masters’ series in the SAICE magazine is also the work of Panel members.
As engineering moves towards electronic storage of documents, many old photographs and drawings are in danger of being lost. The Panel has assisted in the archiving and digitisation of such drawings. Should anyone be aware of drawings that are in danger of being lost, please bring it to the attention of the Panel.
The Panel is actively seeking new members and projects. Meetings are full of lively discussion and reminiscence. However, the purpose of the Panel is not nostalgia, it is to raise the status of the profession and ensure that tomorrow’s engineers learn from and build on the past.