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Biographical entry McMillan, Robert Edward Patrick (Bob) (1903 - 1997)


21 May 1997
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Engineer and Conservationist


Robert Edward P. (Bob) McMillan contributed greatly to Australian standards, especially in the engineering industry. He co-founded McMillan Britton and Kell a consulting civil and structural engineers company which built many bridges across Australia and South East Asia. McMillan patented a concrete-steel frame technique and was a pioneer in the design of welded rigid frames for large buildings. The Australian War Memorial in Canberra is one of his designs. He was also an avid campaigner for the protection of whales and the marine environment.


After completing engineering studies at the University of Sydney (1927) Robert Edward Patrick (Bob) McMillan worked in the public sector for two years. At some time between 1929 and 1931 he patented a construction method which involved concrete and steel frames and designed Wellington's (New Zealand) first two new earthquake-design-code compliant buildings. McMillan worked with the Standards Association of Australia to help compile standards codes for the construction industry. He was also the first chairman of the Wind Code Committee.

McMillan retired in 1976 and devoted his free time to marine conservation. He was Vice-President of Project Jonah, which campaigned for a national ban on whaling. In 1984 he founded the Antarctic Society of Australia and was a member of Greenpeace, and Scientists Against Nuclear Arms. In 1995 his marine conservation efforts were formally recognised by his appointment as an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO).

Published resources

Newspaper Articles

  • Macoun, Denise, 'Obituaries: a man of Buildings and Whales', The Age, 26 June 1997, p. C2. Details


Annette Alafaci