The PIA remembers David McLiesh

by Ron Astall, PIA President

The PIA was saddened by the passing of David McLiesh in November 2014.

Those who worked with him will remember his wry, self-deprecating sense of humour and good-natured approach as a manager and mentor.

David was born in Fyfe, Scotland, and was the youngest of three children. He joined Harland Engineering in Alloa, Scotland, at the outbreak of World War II, where he was a hydroelectric engineer.

In the early 1950s, Harland Engineering’s involvement in the Snowy Mountains Scheme in Australia led to David being asked if he had ever thought of emigrating to Australia. His initial reaction was “What have I done, am I to be subjected to transportation?”

Having been given only three days to decide, he moved to Melbourne to join Harland Engineering Australia, which later became Indeng Pump Division, and was involved in a number of hydroelectric projects including the 7.2MW Keepit Dam Project.

He married the ‘much younger’ Meredith in 1956, who was told at the time that she risked being a widow for many years because he was so much older. As we now know, David defied this prediction by reaching the grand age of 95.

Living initially in Hawthorn and then Surrey Hills, Meredith and David raised Kate, Patrick, Hilaire and Sarah in a loving family environment complete with many pets including stray cats rescued from Indeng Pumps’ works.

He served as the Indeng Pump Division General Manager for many years, retiring in early 1984. He served with distinction as APMA president in the early 1980s and was instrumental in planning the highly successful APMA Canberra convention.

David’s strong musical interests were a constant source of joy for himself and to others; he was choir master for four years at Kew Presbyterian Church, taught singing and music, played the violin and the cello, and was a distinguished and loved presenter on the 3MBS classical music radio station for many years after retirement.

A compassionate man with a strong social conscience, both David and Meredith were actively involved in many community projects and social causes.

Those of us who attended his funeral shared in a moving and tender celebration of David’s life with Meredith, Patrick, Sarah, Kate and Hilaire and he was remembered as generous and outstanding man.

Our thoughts remain with David’s family and loved ones.

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