Vale Bernie Moriarty

At SIBA|GITA we would like to pay respects to prominent industry figure and member Bernie Moriarty. We have included some kind words provided thanks to David Sinclair.

"Bernie Moriarty was one of those larger than life characters that the surveying and mapping industry was fortunate to “own”. He left a lasting positive impression.

Bernie was born on 11/9/1942 and passed away in the company of loving family on 4/3/2020 after battling Myeloma and Parkinson’s Disease. He was well known and highly regarded, a natural leader and a high achiever with high expectations. He was hands on, outspoken and passionate, with that never give in attitude no matter what the odds.

Bernie was a Registered Surveyor, Commercial Pilot and Photogrammetrist. He started his career in 1960, working for a private practice for four years before joining AAM and surveying remote mining sites in Western Australia. He returned to Sydney in 1965 for his wedding to Diane, then briefly joined the NSW Lands Department to learn photogrammetry. In1968, he re-joined AAM and moved his family to live in Perth for two and a half years.

Bernie was proud of his time with AAM but left to return to the hills area of Sydney where he co-founded his business known as Control Surveys. When large aerial mapping company Qasco went into receivership Bernie took a big leap of faith and Control Surveys bought Brisbane based Qasco in 1975. Hard work and business smarts changed Qasco to be a proud and innovative Aussie company, expanding to include Sydney in 1975, Melbourne in 1976, Darwin in 1981, Perth in 1995 and a number of regional centres. The company has since gone on to further success under different names. Bernie retired in 2011 and, in a pleasing twist of fate, the company is now in AAM’s hands.

Bernie had a hands-on approach that inspired his work colleagues. He was devoted to the company throughout his business life and had a few simple but successful business rules. Number one was “Make the client love you”. That was supported by: “Always keep in touch”, “Never let a client down” and “No surprises”. Sometimes “no surprises” was a challenge. He expected every employee to put the company first, a philosophy which resolved almost all conflicts of interest.

Bernie loved the cut and thrust of negotiating a big contract, and when successful, did his utmost to retain the client for life. The key was the personal contact that Bernie had with all his clients. He would drive his Alfa Romeo “Batmobile”, later complete with Batphone, anywhere just to deliver a plan or photo, but really to keep in touch, have a chat and find out about the next project. The number of times that Bernie came back with important information is legendary.

Bernie’s entrepreneurial flair has been evident since he first met Diane in 1959. To make extra money before they were married, Bernie would go to to the Sydney fruit and vegetable market early every Saturday morning, then sell his produce door to door in his local neighbourhood.

On a personal level, Bernie’s honesty and ethics were beyond question. He was emotionally strong, sticking to his principles and doing things his way. He enjoyed taking you on his ride of life, being a life mentor as well as a business mentor to many colleagues and industry friends.

He gave so much back to his profession and was an enormous inspiration to countless others within the mapping and surveying industry. Bernie enjoyed contributing on the boards and committees of our professional bodies and business associations. He developed his own strong Australia wide network of leaders.

Bernie was a Fellow of our professional body, the Institution of Surveyors Australia, now the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI). He was an Honorary Life Member of the Association of Consulting Surveyors NSW (ACS NSW), and an Honorary Life Member of the Association of Consulting Surveyors Australia (ACSA), now Spatial Industries Business Association (SIBA). He was the 2001 Professional Surveyor of the Year for NSW. His CV listed him as a former Chairman of six industry groups.

Along with many others, Bernie was a vocal supporter of ACSA and the vital role of the private sector in Australia’s economy. He campaigned against any form of government competition and advocated for the private sector and government working as a team. He contributed to ACSA establishing their permanent home, National Surveyors House, in Canberra. He was a major player in the establishment of the surveyors’ own professional indemnity insurance body, Association of Consulting Surveyors Insurance Society (ACSIS). Bernie was on their board for many years and saw its growth to now be an impressive success story, with long term industry influence and financial sustainability.

Bernie was not one for continuing along the same path, just steering the ship down the middle. He got things done. While Chairman of ACSA, Bernie established the Member Firm Register, a well-used resource in the days before numbers were stored in phones, and well before Google. In 1994, Bernie found that the original copper plates used to make Major Mitchell’s Maps, first published in 1834, were stored in the State Archives of NSW. Somehow, he persuaded the principal archivist to allow further printing to be done on parchment in the same way as originally occurred. The set of three intricate maps of the 19 counties surrounding Sydney are highly prized.

In 1997 ACSA held a 25th Anniversary Dinner in the Great Hall of National Parliament House. Bernie, along with surveyor and politician Gary Nairn, organised the venue and the special guest attendance of Prime Minister John Howard to that amazing night of celebration. Bernie got things done."