Founder behind Brisbane’s iconic development

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In 1945, Harold Davies along with Gerry Cardno established a Brisbane-based engineering consultancy called Cardno & Davies, following stints working for the U.S. Army command in Brisbane during WWII.

Cardno was a driving force in the development of Queensland, with the duo engaging in private practice on the design and supervision of the construction of highways, streets, real estate developments, reclamation, water and sewerage plants, dams, bridges and general municipal engineering works. 

Their work became instrumental in Queensland’s development during the post-war boom.

Harold Davies graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) 1st Honors in the early 1920s. After he completed his degree, he joined the Harbour Bridge team of the Department of Public Works where he worked as the assistant to John Bradfield, the bridge's designer. He worked on the bridge until it was opened in 1932, ending up as one of the supervising engineers as the north and south sides of the arch joined in 1930.

Davies completed his Master of Engineering (Civil) and was the first masters graduate to gain a university gold medal. His thesis was about the design and construction of an overpass on the northern approach to the Sydney Harbour bridge.

Early headshot photo of Harold Davies

During World War II Davies was assigned to the United States Army in Brisbane where he developed a number of innovative engineering solutions for General Douglas MacArthur's Pacific islands campaign, including designing a build-by-numbers kit of airfield support structures.

The design allowed the troops, rather than qualified builders, to quickly and efficiently erect the full range of military infrastructure, using simple tools and step-by-step instructions. This innovative approach has inspired many engineers in their client work at Cardno.

During the post war years, Harold was either President or Secretary the Queensland Branch of Consulting Engineers Panel.

Throughout his time on the panel, he sought to ensure changes were made to the Consulting Engineers Code surrounding leave entitlements and commissions. The southern states were much further in front of Queensland and Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the consulting space, and Harold wanted to see changes that meant Queensland and PNG were in the same position as their southern counterparts.

The legacy of community works that Cardno and Davies began in the mid-1950s, lives on today through our International Development work. Davies himself served on boards of many community and charitable organisations after his retirement from Cardno.

In the mid-1970s Harold Davies was awarded an Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the Australian engineering industry and took great pride in receiving the award from the Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

Not long after his acceptance of his MBE, Harold retired from Cardno at the age of 75 in 1978.


Person looking at Cardno 75 Years website page

75 years of great people, 75 years of community-defining projects and 75 years of making a difference. Make sure you check out the other moments in our history!

visit celebrating 75 years