HISTORY OF THE AAAC
In the mid-late 1960s and early 1970s, Jim Madden, Peter Knowland, Louis Challis and Roger Wilkinson were in Sydney, practicing the then-new art of ‘Consulting in Acoustics’. At the same time, (Hugh) Vivian Taylor, Gerald Riley and Ron Carr were showing the Victorians (and others) how noise control and architectural acoustics could be done. Talent in the form of Jim Watson, Graham Moss, Doug Growcott, Graeme Harding, Sam Richardson, Rob Burton and others were also busily engaged.
A few years after their involvement in the formation of the Australian Acoustical Society, (AAS), Jim Madden, Peter Knowland, Roger Wilkinson, Louis Challis, Ron Carr, Gerald Riley and H. Vivian Taylor, started mutual-interest meetings about acoustical technologies and practicalities. Out of these meetings grew the idea of the formation of an independent Acoustical Consultant Association, at arms-length from the AAS, which would formulate and implement a standard of professional behaviour and performance for specialist Acoustical Consultants which could be recognised and accepted on a similar level and status as the Institution of Engineers Australia (IE Aust) and the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia (ACEA).
Preliminary meetings regarding the formation of the Professional Association were held every few months, in both Sydney and Melbourne, over a period of some 18 months. During which time a Constitution was prepared, together with a set of Rules of Eligibility and Membership, and a Code of Ethics and Professional Practice. The new Association of Australian Acoustical Consultants, AAAC, was officially formed in 1978, with the following Founding Members:-
Ron Carr - Ronald J Carr Acoustics (President);
Peter Knowland - Peter Knowland and Associates (Vice President);
Jim Madden - James A Madden and Associates (Secretary/Treasurer);
Gerald Riley, H. Vivian Taylor and Roger Wilkinson - Wilkinson Consulting.
Following suitable qualifying periods Graeme Harding, Mark Eisner, Barry Murray, David Eden, Richard Heggie and Athol Day became members.
Reflecting back to those early years, we imagine that some of our readers will boggle at the idea that, in the early 1960s, a third-octave Sound Level Meter was state-of-the-art. The meter weighed about 20 kg (44 lbs, in those days) and required 240 volt power to drive it. Some field work required 200m-500m of 240v cable – just to get some real-time noise measurements. The old-acousticians often had to rely on brute strength for their information.
Statistical analysis of long-term noise logging was conducted with a tape recording in the field for perhaps 30 minutes followed by office processing with a Level Recorder. Data was dropped into 5 dB bins for calculation of L10’s and L90’s. Leq’s were an after-thought.
After this type of measurement the various third-octave results were depicted with the aid of coloured pencils! Then coloured ballpoint pens became available, what joy: we really could upgrade the presentations of our reports! The current, impressive computerised presentations were not even envisaged until the early 1990’s.
In 2010, the AAAC comprises some 40 member firms across Australia. They provide a wide range of Consulting, Testing and Research facilities to Community, Industry, Commercial and Government organisations as well as to individual projects and programs.
Full up-to-date information and details of AAAC Members and their respective skills is available on the AAAC website, www.aaac.org.au An earlier ‘edition’ from Jim Madden, found in a blue file called “AAAC Secretary Handbook” in a very dusty box recently uncovered, follows:
Contributors to this article:
The combined memories of Sydney-based Founding Members Peter Knowland, Jim Madden and Roger Wilkinson, plus ‘newer member’, Athol Day, are now being tested! Any help, omissions, additions or corrections will be welcomed. Those with better memories than the above-mentioned contributors may respectively submit their recollections to the AAAC secretary.