With a view to recognising exceptional services rendered to the Association, the FMBA awards members with a Life Member tribute. Dick Elder was one of two members to be elected a Life Member.
A review of ones life in the Building Industry in Fiji and the South Pacific, of necessity, becomes a visit to those building projects and the people associated with those projects with which one has been primarily been involved; particularly the projects, architects and engineers, and construction team that one has had to work with, and, the particular idiosyncrasies of each individual project and person.
My memories in Fiji begin as the young engineer employed in one of the leading construction companies of the day, Narain Construction Company Limited, being offered the chance to be Project Manager of the first significant high rise building in Fiji, learning as I went, and later joining J S Hill and Associates Limited, in what was to become employment for the rest of a working life.
My mind flits between the various multi storey projects with which I have been involved and project managed, keeping in mind that our industry is very much a team industry and no one person can complete a project single handedly: Ratu Sukuna House, Stinson Building in Walu Bay, Kelton House (the onetime American Embassy), The Reserve Bank Building, and Ro Lalalabalavu House, to name a few.
The experience and trailblazing of the works to install the numerous Telecom, Vodafone, and Digicel towers, dotted around the country in the most awkward of places, reminds me of the joy of going to places off the beaten track, and to parts of the country which most people will never go and sights never see.
Working underwater, repairing slipways, installing sewer outfalls in Levuka Harbour, new skills learnt in order to achieve the desired objective.
Uduya Point Subdivision, many industrial buildings throughout the country, office buildings and specialised projects such as the Suva Private Hospital and Douglas Pharmaceutical in Nadi, where engineering input was combined with onsite experience to achieve a particular result.
The memories of the characters, many long gone who have helped mould the character for myself and the industry; engineers, architects and contractors, Gordon Larsen, Frank Holtom, Pat Maybin, Albert Threadingham, and Peter Morgan of LHM, Sethi Narain and Prakash Sami of Narain Construction Company, John Hill, and Malcolm Brain of J S Hill and Associates, Malcolm Bonnington, Denis Biggs,Cedric Power, Stuart and Gilly Huggett, Filipe Tauva, and the many others with whom I have worked, The supervisors, foreman and tradespersons, Bob Muni Lal, Shiu Dutt, Mahesh Prasad, Sam Lal, Hari Singh, Oliver Brown, John Magoon, Bhudist Prasad, names roll on evocatively as Projects flit past the memory cells.
The endearing and not so endearing comments and insults born and worse from people upset.
Memories, memories, what a pity they disappear with time.