The Australian Disputes Centre is deeply saddened at the passing of friend and colleague Ken Hinds, who passed away peacefully on 3rd September 2018, aged 74.
Ken was a highly respected engineer, project manager, forensic expert, mediator, adjudicator, arbitrator and an art collector extraordinaire. Speaking at Ken’s funeral service in Caloundra on 10 September 2018, ADC’s Director, Professor Doug Jones, described Ken as ‘’a true renaissance man’’.
Ken was a lead innovator in the engineering field and Doug Jones spoke of Ken’s strong legacy succeeding him, through Ken Hinds Engineering and Hinds Blunden, one of the leading claims and expert witness consultancies in the region. Another part of Ken’s significant professional legacy is his work on a number of key engineering projects, including the development of the new Parliament House Canberra, Sydney Airport’s runway and terminal expansion and Sydney Harbour Foreshore redevelopments.
As an expert in his field, Ken’s forensic skills were deeply respected by prominent construction lawyers, many of whom are now senior judicial figures. Ken become one of Australia’s chief expert witnesses as well as an esteemed mediator and arbitrator. Unusually for the construction industry, Ken continued to participate in project delivery during his forensic career and this served to enhance his value as an expert and arbitrator.
Speaking fondly of Ken, Doug Jones also reminisced about his laugh, which both relieved the tension of stressful situations, and invited immediate forgiveness for the occasional imparting of unwelcome news to those he advised. A Queenslander by adoption, although Sydney born and bred, Ken’s work and interests knew no state boundaries.
Ken had an unrivalled commitment to collecting art and the Ken Hinds Collection is widely recognised as one of Australia’s most distinctive and extensive collections. It consists of more than 30,000 items and includes a vast array of toys, books and ancient artefacts from around the globe, as well as 3,000 Australian artworks. Ken started collecting Aboriginal Art in the late 1980s and from 1999, travelled to Alice Springs to spend time with the artists whose works he was collecting. He travelled the vast tracts of the Western Desert, experiencing firsthand the stories behind the paintings which later came to grace his walls. Doug Jones spoke of Ken’s personal contact with the artists and how his love of their works moved the collection into a unique dimension as he acquired copious numbers of canvases, often of a large and impressive scale. A number of these dynamic aboriginal artworks grace the walls of the Australian Disputes Centre, enjoyed by mediators, arbitrators, experts, lawyers and their clients, who use the space for their own work.
Ken’s life work as a great collector, reflecting much skill and dedication, ranks as one of the great contributions to Australia’s cultural heritage. It is all the more remarkable an achievement for an engineer whose resources stood in contrast with other significant Australian collectors, and one for which he will always be admired by his friends, family, colleagues and the Australian community.