Vale - Chris Hutchison

Chris HutchisonThe AIMS Board wishes to express sincere condolences, on behalf of all members, to the family and friends of Chris Hutchison, AIMS Fellow since 2010 and highly respected member since 2004, following his recent passing.

VALE - Christopher Richard Hutchison
31 October 1943 - 24 August 2023

Hutcho3Professional History
Christopher Richard Hutchison (Chris) was born in Newcastle in October 1943 and commenced his surveying career as an article cadet with Consulting Surveyors, Bennet and Francis in Brisbane in 1960. Here he began to develop his skills in urban and rural land development surveys, before returning to the Hunter Valley in 1963. Between 1963 and 1969, Chris worked for a number of companies including one in Maitland conducting urban and rural subdivision surveys in the area during a period of high growth.

Chris later worked for the Department of Main Roads conducting engineering and cadastral surveys in rural NSW and in Wollongong. Subsequently, whilst employed by the Hunter Water Board, Chris was heavily involved in the provision and densification of horizontal and vertical control survey control networks for numerous water and sewerage schemes. That followed a period with Namoi Valley County Council where Chris was responsible for route selection and planning surveys, easement creation and tower setout.

Chris was registered as a Surveyor by The NSW Board of Surveyors on 3rd October 1967.

In 1969, Chris was selected as Surveyor on the Australian Antarctic Research Expedition to Mawson and was involved in the mapping of a Mountain Range inland from Mawson for the Division of National Mapping and the Commonwealth of Australia. Chris found seven new mountains when he was put on the supposedly southernmost mountain of the Prince Charles Mountain Ranges. In recognition of this discovery, one of these Mountains was subsequently named in his honour, Hutchison Numatak (Numatak meaning top of a mountain sticking out of the ice field).

For forty years from 1970 to 2010, Chris was self-employed in private practice as a Consulting Surveyor, in a business known as C.R. Hutchison and Co. Pty Ltd. Chris grew the company into a diverse surveying consultancy, carrying out work for private enterprise as well as local and state government bodies. Chris also obtained Registration as a Surveyor in Queensland in 1982 and held both Cadastral and Consulting endorsements.

Chris was involved with surveys for the construction and operation of tunnels and underground mines since 1982. Chris’ early involvement in tunnelling included the Springfield Tunnel near Gosford, Norah Head outfall tunnel on the Central Coast and Burwood Beach Ocean Outfall near Newcastle, the 10km Boomerang Creek Tunnel and Boulder Bay outfall tunnel. Chris had been operating surveying gyroscopes since purchasing a Wild GAK 1 in 1985 and has devised innovative methods involving a GAK1 gyroscope to complete underground and tunnelling survey work.

Since that time Chris completed Gyroscopic orientation surveys for numerous road and infrastructure tunnel construction projects on the East Coast of Australia including Sydney Airport Link, M5 road tunnel, Epping – Chatswood rail tunnel, Brisbane Airport Link, and desalination plant tunnels for Adelaide, Melbourne, Gold Coast and Sydney.

Chris’ work with underground coal and metalliferous mines grew since the mid 1990’s when the effect of horizontal refraction on the accuracy of underground control surveys began to be widely publicised. Chris’ reputation on tunnelling surveys became known in mining circles and along with the introduction of Survey & Drafting Directions for NSW Coal and Metalliferous Mines in 2000 and 2001 respectively, saw Chris’ services in demand, allowing control survey in deep mines to achieve the prescribed standards. Aside from Gyro work, Chris oversaw various other surveys for Mines, including mining leases, subsidence monitoring and establishment of Mine baselines. Chris obtained Registration as a Mining Surveyor in NSW on 24th July 2003.

Chris was one of the early adopters of GPS technology for everyday use in control and detail surveys and was at the forefront of users pushing the boundaries of its application and trialling new research findings in the field.

Chris also developed innovative systems of measurement for the calibration and installation of equipment associated with many Australian Defence Force projects and completed precise gyro alignment surveys on the Navy’s submarine and frigate fleet, Air Force’s Hercules Aircraft and Army’s Tiger attack helicopter systems.

Chris sold his business in January 2010, but continued to work as a consultant for the business until 2012, completing and advising on precise gyro orientation surveys for Defence projects along with coal and metalliferous mines and various tunnel projects in Australia and overseas.

Hutcho2Outstanding Performance

  • Chris commenced in the Surveying industry in 1960 and continued to work as a Consultant to the business that he founded until 2012, a career spanning over 50 years, 40 of those as a self-employed consulting surveyor.
  • Chris always maintained a strong field survey presence, regularly carrying out field surveys, in particular in recent years with GPS and Gyro equipment for large and small projects.
  • Chris always upheld the most ethical principles, ensuring that his client’s needs are met and that the most cost effective and accurate solution is achieved. Chris proudly stood behind his work and his clients were assured that he had achieved the most accurate result possible.
  • Chris carried out Gyro orientation surveys in nearly every State of Australia, in addition to Indonesia, Hong Kong and Mongolia.
  • Chris practiced in various speciality surveying areas including Cadastral, Geodesy, Engineering, Construction, Mining, Tunnelling, Land Development and Industrial Measurement. A diverse range of skills held by an individual surveyor that has rarely been seen.


  • Lead a diverse surveying consultancy for a period of over 40 years, with practise areas in Cadastral, Engineering, Construction, Mining, Tunnelling, land development and precise surveys.
  • Introduction of innovative technology to the industry including Wild GAK1 Gyro in mid 1980’s, Wild/Leica GPS technology in the early and mid 1990's, DMT Gyromat 2000 Gyro to Australia in 1998 and a second Gyromat 2000 in 2003. (Only two known to be operated in Australia).
  • From 1991, Chris developed and operated within a formal Quality Management System that was ultimately recognised with Quality Assurance Certification to ISO9001 standards in 1994, an accreditation rarely achieved by a small business and a system that the company maintains to this day.
  • Played a key role in the development of the F.e.E.T. Fee Estimating tool in the early 2000’s for use by the industry, in association with ACS and ISNSW.
  • Chris supervised and mentored numerous candidate surveyors over his career, ensuring that they held the requisite experience and knowledge to be competent surveyors and future leaders in their field.

Service to the Profession

  • Institution of Surveyors NSW – Member since 1970
  • Association of Consulting Surveyors - Member since 1973. Elected as Honorary Member in recognition of his service to the ACS committee over a period of many years.
  • Country Surveyors Association – Member since 1970.
  • Australian Institute of Mine Surveyors – Member since 2004, elected as a Fellow in 2010 in recognition of his commitment to the mining industry through the provision of Gyroscopic orientation surveys.
  • Australian Photogrammetric and Remote Sensing Society – Member since 1985
  • Urban Development Institute of Australia – Member since 1996
  • Chris has for many years held roles on the University of Newcastle Surveying Programme Advisory and Industry Liaison Committees representing the Association of Consulting Surveyors NSW Inc.
  • Chris presented papers at numerous CPD events on his work and was a regular attendee at conferences and seminars, supporting fellow surveyors.

Hutcho-300.jpgPeer Recognition

  • Under Chris’ leadership, the company gained recognition at NSW Excellence in Surveying and Spatial Information Awards for quality and innovative solutions to surveying problems, including the category Public Infrastructure and Community Facilities in 2000 for the project, “Sutton Park Estate, Medowie” and in the 2002 awards in the Extra Dimension Category for the project “The Cooranbong/Mandalong Collieries Correlation Survey”.
  • Honorary Member Association of Consulting Surveyors NSW in recognition of his role on the Committee of ACS NSW.
  • Elected Fellow of the Australian Institute of Mine Surveyors in 2010 in recognition of his service to the industry over many years.
  • Provided expert evidence to the inquest on the Gretley Mine disaster.
  • Chris was the recipient of 2012 Professional of the Year, NSW Excellence in Surveying and Spatial Information Awards.

Chris was a proud family man and professional surveyor whose involvement in the surveying industry extended over a period of fifty years and covered nearly every facet. Chris was married to wife Diana for over 58 years and has a son Richard (Registered Surveyor), Daughter Catherine (Doctor) and Daughter Helen (Lawyer) and was a proud grandparent and great-grandparent.

He was highly regarded by his peers as much for his high class work as for his professional and approachable nature. Chris always thrived on challenges and during the course of his career, was instrumental in introducing many new and innovative techniques and was well known in the industry for finding the answers to the most difficult problems. Chris can be best described as a gentleman who always inspired the best from people through leading by example. One of the most endearing characteristics is that he delighted in freely sharing his acquired knowledge with any surveyor who wanted to learn and proudly saw numerous surveyors under his tutelage gain their Registration.

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