19th Chief Engineer Works – a new history

The History of 19th Chief Engineer Works

By Michael Tyquin
Published by Big Sky Publishing
RRP $34.99, Hardback, 294pp • ISBN: 9781925675078

The 19th Chief Engineer Works (19 CE Works) is the Australian Army’s (and Australian Defence Force’s) only design and project management agency. 

The story of this unit begins with the identification of a requirement for a specialist unit tasked with the design and project management of infrastructure. This requirement was met with the raising of 19 CE Works in 1963. 

Since that time, this small unit has assisted partner nations, improved the welfare of remote communities, and supported Australia’s military at home and on operations with a myriad of activities ranging from the supply of safe water to the construction of airfields, medical facilities and wharves. 

This new history of 19 CE Works is the first since 1993, which marked the 30th anniversary of its formation. This new book covers the first fifty-five years of 19 CE Works, explaining the unit’s origins and the projects it has undertaken.

In reading this history of 19th Chief Engineer Works, it’s clear the work of the unit was not without its challenges, both technical and environmental. What adds considerably to the narrative are the personal recollections of people who have served in its ranks and their collective memories of some of the more challenging aspects of the work.

Overall, however, what you see in this history is a sense of satisfaction from the team members involved in many of the projects, particularly those involving the improvement of living standards for indigenous communities.

This book will be of particular interest to past and present members of 19th Chief Engineer Works and to those who are interested in the less publicised work of a modern army. It isn’t always about war and battles. Sometimes it’s about community good and helping neighbours in need.

To find about more about the current activities of 19 CE Works, I’ve included a link to the unit’s Facebook page. 



Dr Michael Tyquin is a well known consulting historian based in Tasmania. He is the official historian of the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps and a former Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland’s Centre for Military and Veterans’ Health. Click on the link below to see a list of titles written by Michael Tyquin



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