Robert Eric Steel OAM – Community recognition of a surveyor’s integrity and service to the community

ISV congratulates Rob Steel on being awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year.  Rob is a well-respected and trusted stalwart of the profession across Victoria and New South Wales, and his efforts over the years are worthy of recognition.

The award recognises Rob’s sterling efforts as a leader in the community and his positive impact on surveying, making a tangible difference.

The recognition of his service reflects well on the surveying profession.

Rob has always been an advocate of knowledge succession, good professional governance for land administration and cadastral surveying, as well as a role model for the past decades.  Rob has shown how courage and integrity, key attributes for cadastral surveying, are paramount in leading improvements in the way the profession serves the broader community’s needs for a reliable, efficient and effective title boundary system.

Through Rob’s mentoring, Licensed Surveyors are reminded of the essential role they must play in partnering with government to maintain and improve the land boundary framework upon which the registration of title dealings and transactions are based.  Rob also demonstrates the dedication and discipline needed by members of our unique and highly specified surveying profession to serve the community by providing confidence in Victoria’s land boundary system.

Rob Steel is an outstanding contributor to the Victorian land surveying profession and a long-standing active community leader in regional Victoria, around Wangaratta.

Rob has contributed substantially to the profession of land surveying through leadership roles, especially as a long-standing board member of the Institution of Surveyors, Victoria (ISV), which was established in 1874 to improve and safeguard the Victorian community’s property boundary system which gives confidence to land ownership and underpins the State’s cadastral based, land administration economy.  Rob has served as President (2011-13) for two years, Vice-President (2010-2011) and Immediate Past President (2013-15) for two years.  In addition, he has held active leadership positions in ISV’s Murray Regional Group since the 1990s.

Rob, of his own initiative, has for many years mentored young professionals through both training and guidance, to enable many young surveyors and even school leavers to pursue successful surveying careers, including obtaining professional registration.  Victoria faces a significant shortage of experienced Licensed Surveyors in the coming decade – the average age now exceeds 55.  In dealing with this matter, Rob has shown great vision to government, Surveyors-General, Surveyors’ Boards and the profession, by devising practical training programmes which focus on Torrens Registration based on the laws of evidence and quasi-judicial processes.  Throughout his career, and in “semi- retirement”, Rob has been a driving force in organising and delivering seminars and workshops to achieve significant knowledge succession across the profession in his expert knowledge fields.

Rob has also had community service roles in rural Victoria, as a long-standing Rotarian and Industrial and Agricultural Society representative and organizer. Rob spent many years involved in the Wangaratta Showgrounds Committee of Management, the North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve in addition to his various roles for the Wangaratta Clay Target Club. Rob was involved in the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail and continues that interest. Rob has provided local mentorship to medical students aspiring to become doctors and for nearly 10 years was an independent witness (youth) for the Wangaratta Police.

Surveying Profession

Rob Steel has been a land surveyor since the later 1970s, after graduation from the Royal Melbourne Institution of Technology (RMIT) in 1977, with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Surveying) and he was licensed by the Surveyors Board of Victoria in 1986.  Rob continues to be registered as a Practicing Licensed Surveyor, fulfilling annual professional development requirements as he engages fully in the profession, and he leads the cadastral (property boundary) surveying training programs for the Association of Consulting Surveyors Victoria.

Rob has held many positions of responsibility within the profession, which has often involved frequent travel to Melbourne and other parts of the State to support the profession. His services and offices held include:

  • Active member of the Institution of Surveyors, Australia and the Institution of Surveyors, Victoria (ISV) since 1977
  • President ISV, 2011-13 (two years)
  • Vice-President ISV, 2010-2011 (one year)
  • Immediate Past President ISV, 2013-2015 (two years)
  • ISV Board Member 2000-15
  • President of the Murray Group of ISV, 1998-2000 and again later for another 2 years
  • Chair and Conference convener of ISV regional conferences 2002 and 2009 in Beechworth, Vic
  • Trainer and mentor to young professional surveyors since 1990s.

Rob’s expertise in rural cadastral (property boundary) surveying is recognized by ISV as being above his peers. Rob tirelessly gives his time and expertise to individual trainee surveyors who seek in-depth assistance in preparing for Surveyors Registration Board (SRBV) exams. Rob is known for traveling to Melbourne at his own expense for one-on-one tutoring.  Through ISV, Rob devises and delivers rural surveying workshops to the whole profession, which are considered as key foundations, augmenting formal training.  Credit is due to Rob for instigating the training programs and sustaining them for so many years.

Consulting Surveyors Victoria (CSV) has also recognized Rob’s value to the future of the profession by appointing him to the role of cadastral training coordinator.  This role includes preparing syllabi and delivering content to assist professional training agreement candidates to achieve the competencies required to obtain registration with SRBV as a Licensed Surveyor.

Government Service

As a Graduate Surveyor Rob commenced with the Victorian Country Roads Board in 1977 in Benalla before moving to Kew, where he continued until 1986. Thereafter he returned to Benalla and was with VicRoads until 2003 – amassing some 25 years with the State road authority serving as both senior and district surveyors.

In 2003, Rob was appointed to the Division of Crown Land Management under the Department of Sustainability and Environment, as a Senior Property Officer, where he served with distinction until 2011.

Upon leaving government service in 2011, Rob has continued with some service in the private sector and training and mentoring of young surveyors.

Community Service

Rob Steel’s community is very broad, covering many areas.

Rob has been a dedicated, proud and passionate Rotarian, active in regional Victoria, including as Wangaratta President, (Paul Harris Fellow) and as a Rotary Independent Police Witness to represent young people in trouble with the law – those under 18 without a parent.

Active member of the Wangaratta Industrial and Agricultural Society, and annual organizer of the animal nursery for many years (Life Member).

Alpine Valley Community Leadership Program – 2001/2002 alumni

Wangaratta Clay Target Club – member and various leadership roles since 1974

Career Overview

Rob has been involved in the planning, design and implementation of major projects across Victoria, and has worked in construction surveying, cadastral surveying, legal land status advice, land subdivision, bridge and road design & construction, strategic and statutory planning, property management, crown land management, waterway management, involvement in innovative rural water and sewerage projects and municipal works.  Rob has also used his extensive cadastral surveying expertise to assist with implementation of land acquisitions for major projects through sitting down with farmers and land owners to discuss how to best subdivide or manage their properties into the future.

Congratulations Rob.