A brilliant engineer, soil guru

August 03, 2017

Husband, father, friend, colleague, distinguished engineer, scientist and true gentleman are all terms to describe Wangaratta’s Roger Wrigley.

Mr Wrigley died in his home town of Wangaratta on July 7, aged 61, after battling a rare hereditary bone/blood cancer for the past four years.

Mr Wrigley was born in Ballarat on November 5, 1955, into an air force family and spent his teenage years in Sale, Gippsland, before undertaking his Bachelor of Civil Engineering at RMIT in Melbourne, graduating in 1978.

After completing his degree Mr Wrigley undertook his Master of Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering Science at the University of Melbourne, graduating in 1984.

For his Masters, Mr Wrigley studied soil dispersion and stabilisation of earthen embankments on failed dams throughout Victoria and remained an expert in the practical management of these soil/engineering issues throughout his career.

In 1982, he began his long career working at Dookie College for the Department of Agriculture, Victorian Colleges of Agriculture and Horticulture and then the University of Melbourne while he and his family lived in Benalla.

While working at Dookie, he filled many roles including: lecturer, senior lecturer, head of campus, principal lecturer and associate professor. During this time, Mr Wrigley also undertook consulting engineering work as an expert for the VCAH/University of Melbourne and as a private consultant.

From 2003 to 2005, he undertook the role of project manager for the Wimmera-Mallee Pipeline Project before returning to the University of Melbourne.

Mr Wrigley was a very capable and professional person in the areas of geotechnical, environmental and agricultural engineering and would regularly recite projects he completed successfully.

Just some of these projects included work with the Australian Dairy Research and Development Corporation throughout Australia and overseas.

Throughout Mr Wrigley’s 35-year-career as a lecturer, he supervised and mentored a number of students and it is often joked that there is a student taught by Mr Wrigley in just about every town and city in Victoria.

Away from work, Mr Wrigley donated his time to a raft of committees, working groups and management boards governing catchments, farms, the environment, irrigation, groundwater and river health.

Mr Wrigley has left an enduring legacy through his teaching and research with many students who still maintain they would not be where they are without his influence.

Throughout Mr Wrigley’s career, he produced more than 70 publications as a sole or co-author.

Mr Wrigley is survived by his wife Helen and three adult children Meredith, Hugh and Bronwyn.

■A commemorative gathering will be held for Mr Wrigley on Friday, August 25 at Dookie College’s Patrick Ryan Hall from 2.30pm.

If you wish to attend, RSVP to Dookie College by Wednesday, August 23 on 5833 9200 or by email:

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