Douglas Partners Joins Forces with Engineers Without Borders & Holding Hands Under Ground to Aid Flood-Affected Families in Northern Rivers

Between the 25th of February and 2nd of March 2022, a series of relentless rain and flooding events took a toll on the east coast of Australia. Among the regions significantly affected, the Northern Rivers in New South Wales, was confronted to important damage to properties and infrastructure, leaving families struggling to cope with the aftermath.

As the community perseveres, the process of rebuilding lives and restoring normalcy remains ongoing, highlighting the enduring impact of the floods on the region.

Earlier this year, we partnered with Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWB) and Holding Hands Under Ground (HHUG) to provide pro bono geotechnical assistance to support the Northern Rivers Floods.

At Douglas Partners, corporate social responsibility has always been at the heart of our values. This joint Endeavor with Engineers Without Borders reflects our commitment to give back to the community and share our expertise and resources, as individuals striving to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our neighbours.

Geotechnical testing

Engineer Without Borders Australia

Angus, a geotechnical engineer at Douglas Partners, is among the volunteers who collaborated with Engineers Without Borders and HHUG to offer their expertise and support. Recently, Angus was on-site, performing geotechnical mapping in multiple locations, Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP) tests, and drilling boreholes to obtain essential soil samples from varying depths and log soil strata. We are pleased to share his testimonials providing insight into his motivations to volunteer and recounting his experience throughout the first part of this journey.

What inspired you to volunteer for the EWB Northern Flood Recovery Project?

I wanted to be involved in the EWB Northern Rivers Flood Recovery Project for many reasons. Firstly, I saw the devastating impact of the floods on TV. People had lost everything, and I wanted to do something to help.

I had been involved with EWB at university and thought it would be a great opportunity to get involved with them professionally for the first time. I believe my humanitarian values align well with EWB.

I saw this project as an exciting challenge and an opportunity to apply the skills and experiences I have gained from working at Douglas Partners to improve the lives of the communities affected by the floods. I think it is terrific Douglas Partners has become a partner with EWB and supported my involvement in EWB Northern Rivers Flood Recovery Project.

House affected by the Northern Rivers floods. There is metal and wood debris on the floor. A person is leaning over in the bottom left hand corner examining something.

Engineer Without Borders Australia

What were your initial thoughts upon arriving at the site?

My initial thoughts were the shock of seeing the extent of damage from the landslips at each of the four sites. You could clearly see the damage to the house, the steepness of the slope and debris that had fallen down from the landslips.

Geotechnical testing is incredibly important to the recovery process as the information can be used to provide accurate parameters and information essential for the design of remediation options at each site including retaining walls, anchors, soil nails and underpinning.

Person in high-vis jacket holding a pole, performing geotechnical testing.

Person in high-vis orange jacket, performing geotechnical testing.

Engineer Without Borders Australia

What was the most rewarding part of working on this project?

The most rewarding part of the EWB Northern Rivers Flood Recovery Project was hearing the community members’ stories about the floods, how high the water level got to and them showing appreciation for the work we were doing. It was also rewarding to meet so many people through EWB and community partners.

I think these kinds of projects are great opportunities to help and learn. I would encourage anyone to get involved. I would like to get involved with more of these kinds of projects in the future because I share strong humanitarian and social justice values and want to put myself out there to help others in times of need.

geotechnical testing

Engineer Without Borders Australia

As we conclude Angus’s testimonials, we extend our heartfelt gratitude for his selfless dedication and commitment to aiding the flood-affected communities of Northern Rivers. We would also like to thank Gary for his on-site support and David and Josh for their work on this project.
Our collaborative efforts with Engineers Without Borders are just beginning, and we look forward to sharing more updates and progress on our work.