“Inspired By John Monash The Engineer…”: Dr Joseph Gattas at the Monash Commemorative Service in Brisbane

Joe Gattas Comm Service June 2014

2010 John Monash Scholar Dr Joseph Gattas spoke with passion and insight to over 400 students and dignitaries at the annual Monash Commemorative Service in Brisbane on 3rd June 2014.

The Service, organised by the Spirit of Australia Foundation and hosted by Anglican Church Grammar School (“Churchie”), was the second conducted in Brisbane. The event is a dignified and moving tribute to one of Australia’s greatest leaders. It combines reflection on Monash’s military achievements with his broader contributions to the Australian economy and society.

Joseph Gattas is a graduate of the University of Queensland. He was awarded the University Medal in 2009 for his Bachelor of Civil Engineering. Following graduation he was an engineer with international firm Arup in Brisbane. He is also a proficient musician (cellist and pianist). Joseph used his John Monash Scholarship to undertake a Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering Science, focused on advanced structural technologies, in the Special Structures Group at the University of Oxford. There he worked in an emerging field known as origami engineering. Origami-inspired shell structures have numerous applications, including deployable and modular housing; energy-absorbing packaging and barriers; and lightweight automobile and aircraft components. Having completed his doctorate in 2013, Joe returned to take up a position as a Lecturer at the University of Queensland, and is already taking on leadership roles in the education of engineers.

Joseph’s speech followed an address by Major General Stuart Smith DSC AM, Commander 1st Division, Australian Army, delivered on behalf of the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison AO.  Major General Smith detailed the military brilliance of Sir John Monash.

Joseph spoke of Monash as an engineer, and highlighted his great skill in considering the human aspects and implications of new technologies. He noted “Monash harnessed the part of an engineer’s ability to assemble a complex, precise solution from a large number of parts, but he is a rare example of an engineer who extended his awareness of the parts he needed to assemble beyond the technical, to encompass the social and political environment around him“. Speaking to the assembled students, he proposed: “…from Monash’s life we can see that by combining empathy and creativity with a strong technical capability, engineers can effect greater change in society for the good”. He made a commitment; he, as a teacher at the University of Queensland: “…strive to ensure that this understanding of the need to develop an emotional awareness alongside the ability to technically solve a problem, is a trait that is imparted into the next generation of engineers.”

To view Joseph’s speech in full click the following link: Dr Joseph Gattas – Monash Commemorative Service Brisbane – 3 June 2014.