Derek [Derek Leonard Gregory] Jones LFRAIA (1938-2021) died on the 14th July. He is remembered in particular as a long-serving Principal Architect in the office of the Commissioner of Queensland Railways. After his education at the State Industrial High School, he joined the Works Department in 1954 as a Junior Clerk in the Materials Supply Branch. He soon chose to enroll in the part-time architecture course at the Central Technical College, but, having left school after Junior (Year 10) – like most Queenslanders at the time – he studied the necessary Senior (Year 12) subjects at night in order to matriculate. He was the first in his family to undertake tertiary training. Late in 1957 he transferred to the Works Department’s Architectural and Quantity Surveying Branch as a Cadet Architect while continuing his studies. He learnt much in the Police Stations and Court Houses Section under Bob Gladwin, he learnt much and proved outstanding at Professional Practice, for which he received a High Distinction. He registered as an architect late in 1967. After qualifying, Derek became a member of the Legal Section in the Architectural Branch, working with Bruce Woolnough under Bill Buchanan. Among their tasks was writing the “Variations” section of the NPWC 3 edition of the Conditions of Contract, which was subsequently adopted by similar authorities throughout Australia. They also vetted submissions to the Treasury Department for Government subsidies for building projects.
Seeing little opportunity for advancement Derek Jones applied in 1969 for a position with Queensland Railways, resisting the entreaties of Roman Pavlyshyn and Peter Gardiner to remain with Works. For an extended period at QR he regretted his decision but for the second half of his 22 years with the Department he served with distinction, as Principal Architect, later called Manager, Architectural and Building Services, overseeing a team of 100 architects, engineers, draftspersons and others. He was Project Architect and Project Director on many significant railway projects and was justifiably proud of his success in saving Brisbane’s Central Station from demolition when the Railway Centre and Sheraton Hotel were built. Its preservation contributed to an important heritage precinct which extended from Central Station across Anzac and Post Office Squares to the General Post Office. After leaving Queensland Railways, Derek was awarded a University of Queensland scholarship to research methods of procuring University buildings. After his son Mark commenced private architectural practice in 1992, Derek worked as a consultant and mentor. From 1990 to 1994 he served on the Queensland Board of Architects and was an examiner for many years. He also lectured in technical subjects at the QIT/QUT over an extended period.
Throughout his life, Derek was strongly committed to community service. Continuing his love of scouting as a teenager, he was a scout leader, senior scout leader and Senior Scout Commissioner for many years. He joined the P and C committees of his children’s schools and was a President of the Kelvin Grove State High School committee. Committed also to Rotary International, he was a member of district committees, including as Director of the National Youth Science Forum and Assistant District Governor. Derek was a recipient of Rotary international’s highest award, the Paul Harris Fellowship. He was a enthusiastic sportsman and yachtsman.
After joining the RAIA as a student member in 1964, Derek remained a member until his death. In 2018 he was elevated to Life Fellowship. In addition to his many contributions to the profession, he leaves a formidable architectural dynasty. Of his four children, Paul and Mark are architects who have practiced successfully in Brisbane, Mark now Industry Fellow in the Department of Architecture at the University of Queensland. Two of Derek’s cousins, his brother-in-law and a grandson are also architects. Another grandson is studying architecture.
– Don Watson
Derek led a long and distinguished career as a public-sector architect from the 1950s as a cadet with the State Works Department until his retirement in the 1990s as Principal Railway Architect. Derek qualified from the CTC in 1966. During his studies, he joined the RAIA as a student member and has maintained continuous membership for over 60 years.
Derek worked at the State Works Department until 1969, then moving to the office of the Principal Railway Architect. In 1980, Derek was appointed Principal Railway Architect. Derek was Project Architect and then Project Director on many significant railway projects across Queensland during his tenure.
Of significance in his career, Derek was responsible for saving the old Central Railway Station Building on Ann Street. Development pressures were moving to demolish this grand sub-tropical building from the 1800s. Derek was able to hold firm against internal and external pressures to save the building. On termination at QR in 1991, Derek was awarded a scholarship at UQ to prepare a research paper on methods of procuring University buildings.
Derek served from 1990 to 1994 years on the Board of Architects and assisted for many years as examiner. He also spent many years lecturing at QIT/QUT in several technical subjects.
During his life, Derek served several community organisations. He was a scout leader and commissioner through the 1960s and 1970s and was P and C President of the Kelvin Grove High School for several years. For the last 25 years, Derek has served in Rotary International being President of the Rotary Club of Mitchelton in 2005.
Both of Derek’s sons are architects and he has two architect cousins, one architect brother-in-law, and two architect grandsons. In point of fact, Derek inspired an architectural family dynasty.
Derek is an eminent member of the profession, part of the proud tradition of public sector architects in Queensland, committed to the public good, and to preserving and improving our built environment.
Derek Jones is a worthy recipient of Life Fellowship of the Australian Institute of Architects for his long-term and principled involvement in architecture, teaching, practice and service to the profession and to the wider community.