Dr Ray Eden Holmes, a highly respected and experienced surveyor in Victoria, was conferred an Order of Australia Award in the 2019 Australia Day Honours.
Ray commenced his career in 1945 at the Department of Crown Lands and Surveys and then transferred to the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission (SRWSC).
At the SRWSC Ray gained his cadastral licence and worked on engineering and cadastral surveys associated with water supply, irrigation and dam development throughout northern Victoria. Ray held a number of senior management roles in SRWSC becoming Superintending Surveyor for North Central Victoria and was appointed Chief Surveyor in 1972.
In 1979 Ray was appointed Surveyor General of Victoria and served in that position until his retirement in 1988. In 1994 he was awarded a Doctorate of Surveying Honaris Causa for his services to the surveying profession in Victoria by the University of Melbourne.
During 1970 and 1971 Ray was seconded to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) on the Awash Valley Hydrological Project in Ethiopia and during his ‘retirement’, Ray continued working as a consultant to both the World Bank and the UNFAO as an expert adviser on land administration.
Ray was an active participant in the Institution of Surveyors Australia for a number of years, serving and convening a number of sub committees and as President of the Victorian Division in 1975. Ray served from 1985-1986 as the 28th Federal President of the Institution of Surveyors Australia a forerunner body of SSSI.
During his time as Federal President Ray drew attention to the need of the profession to develop its profile in international and overseas activities and warned against the risk of becoming elitist in attitude, with being primarily concerned with the narrowing field of cadastral surveying and ignoring some of the other related disciplines, which might perceive surveyors with cadastral surveying being their sole area of expertise. He stated that it is in all our interests to continue to foster and strengthen our relationship with related bodies
Ray also raised the matter of involvement in the international arena in particular the Southern Asia Pacific Region. A major step was ISA sponsoring the first South East Asian Conference in Singapore in 1979 and it was Ray’s suggestion that it was timely to achieve the formation of a regional association under the auspices of an existing international body such as FIG.
As part of ISA's maturing roles and responsibilities in the international scene, Ray played an instrumental role in the successful bid for the XX FIG Congress held in Melbourne in 1994, the first time it was ever awarded to a country in the southern hemisphere. He was also the congress director for this highly successful event.
In recent correspondence to the Victoria Region Ray stated that "I have always been proud to be a member and a strong advocate of an institute representing the full range of our profession".
When one considers that later this year we are hosting the South East Asian Congress in Darwin and are taking a leadership role through Rob Sarib in the development of a FIG Asia Regional Capacity Network, it is as a result of the visionary groundwork of people such as Ray Holmes that today we can implement such initiatives with our regional neighbours.
The recognition bestowed on Dr Ray Holmes as a Member to the Order of Australia is richly deserved.