What is an ICON?

Wikipedia includes the following in its description of icons: "edifice or even a person readily recognized as having some well-known significance or embodying certain qualities: one thing, an image or depiction, that represents something else of greater significance through literal or figurative meaning, usually associated with religious, cultural, political, or economic standing". To us an Engineering Icon is an outstanding engineering achievement that we believe a majority of the profession would agree demonstrates world class success.

Who made this web site?

The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering Limited conceived and implemented the Engineering Icons project with the strong moral and financial support of a range of sponsoring organizations.

Why is this web site here?

The website exists to demonstrate the richness of the engineering world through showcasing extraordinary Australian engineering achievements and making their context and detail accessible to students and teachers alike.

How were the things on the site chosen?

The Warren Centre used its extensive network of industry, government and academic contacts to short-list those Australian engineering achievements that might be regarded as "iconic". Sponsorship for content development was then sought from companies or organisations that participated in, or were associated with, their implementation. More icons will be added as sponsorship funding is received.

In developing the short-list, many other examples of highly successful and innovative Australian engineering achievements were identified. These have been categorised as "Clever Engineering" and links to them are included on the web site.

What is engineering?

Wikipedia gives the following definition at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineering:

"Engineering is the discipline and profession of applying technical and scientific knowledge and utilizing natural laws and physical resources in order to design and implement materials, structures, machines, devices, systems, and processes that safely realize a desired objective and meet specified criteria."

Broadly speaking Engineering of one form or another has made possible and practical just about everything in our world today that is not a live plant, fish or wild animal! And engineering is even behind some of them!

Who can I contact to find out more?

The contacts page on this website offers many sources of additional information about engineering and engineering courses. If you look at them and still cannot find what you are looking for, email Robert Mitchell at [email protected]!

How can I suggest an icon?

Follow this link to suggest an Australian Engineering Icon, some clever engineering or a World Engineering Icon that you think we should include on the site.

Who pays for this web site?

Development of the site is paid for by sponsorship.

Who writes the text on the site?

Where possible the companies most closely associated with the Icon's development and implementation provide the words used on the website. Otherwise they are written by The Warren Centre.

Why does the flash animation run so long at the start?

Mostly because they tell a big story – and also because a picture tells a thousand words!

Who made the cool Flash objects on these pages?

Devotion a cool development company that helped us to create the site.

How do I cite the information on this site?

It depends on the system you use. The Harvard referencing system suggests the following for web references: Author/editor year, Title, [Type of medium]. Available: site/path/file [access date]. So an appropriate reference might be:

The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering Limited (2009), Engineering Icons – Sydney Harbour Bridge [online, html]. Available http://www.engineeringicons.org.au/engineering-icons/australian/sydney-harbour-bridge/ [2009, 24 February].

Can I use the information on this site for assignments and homework?


Where are all the photos from?

All over! Sponsors, photo libraries, archives. Sometimes getting photos is easy (particularly where sponsors of the site were involved with the project) other times it took a lot of work.

Where can I get more information?

There are links throughout most of the pages on this site and there are links on the networking page and the sponsors page that might be useful. If all else fails, Google!

Can I talk to an engineer about these projects?

Yes. There are links on the networking page and the sponsors page that might be useful. If all else fails contact Robert Mitchell at The Warren Centre on [email protected].

What are pounds, shillings and pence? How much would that be today?

Prior to 1966 Australia used pounds, shillings and pence as its currency! Twelve pence in every shilling, 20 shillings in a pound. In 1966 Australia introduced decimal currency and a pound became two dollars. Inflation since then has taken its toll and one pound in 1966 would be the equivalent to roughly $22 in 2009.

Why aren't there any more iconic organisations other than the sponsors?

No doubt there are, and we will gladly include them on this site in return for a relatively tiny sponsorship! Please contact Robert Mitchell on [email protected] if you have a suggestion in this regard.

What has the Sydney railway got to do with the harbour bridge?

A significant feature of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was the railway between the city and North Sydney and the suburbs beyond. The development of the whole North Shore was facilitated by the rail link with the City.

Can I trust the opinions on this site?

Never trust an opinion without giving due consideration to the person whose opinion it is! Certainly you can trust the facts presented on the site … we have tried not to include too much opinion!

Is there a glossary of engineering terms that I can get to?

Google turns up quite a few glossaries of engineering terms. www.contractorsunlimited.co.uk/glossary.shtml seems to be fairly comprehensive!

Where would I go to find more information about engineering courses?

We wish this were easier than it is.

A list of courses that are available is at our disciplines page and a list of the universities that offer engineering (as at late 2008) is available at our study page and TAFE also offers engineering study, go to the TAFE website in your state. Another place to look is The Good Guides website which allows you to search for the course that might interest you.

How many hits does this site get?

Its too early to tell, but we expect many thousands.

How can I get a copy of the animation on the homepage?

You can download the animation files by Right-clicking on the links below and choose "Save As...":
Sydney Harbour Bridge – Download
Wandoo Offshore Oil Platform – Download

What is the Warren Centre?

The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering Limited is an independent not-for-profit think-tank that aims to:

  • Stimulate the application and further development of new engineering technology.
  • Encourage the integration of innovation and engineering technology into the development of Australia's public policy and wealth creation.
  • Provide independent comment and advice to government and industry on these and related issues.
  • The Centre helps to create wealth in the nation from technology.


  • Australian Constructors Association
  • Cochlear
  • Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO)
  • Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO)
  • Leighton Holdings Limited
  • Resmed
  • Thales
  • ARUP
  • KBR