It is with deep sadness we advise that one of the very early and oldest stalwarts of the ACA, John L Bristow, passed peacefully away in Brisbane on 4th Nov 2021 at the venerable age of 90. Born and educated in Brisbane, John graduated BSc in 1956 from the University of Queensland majoring in chemistry. His immediate and then lifetime work was in the water industry, with a focus on correct analysis and assessing the myriad of impacts by corrosion.  He joined the ACA in 1963.

Following a decade working in various water equipment areas, John teamed up as an analytical chemist with former Brisbane City, then Queensland State chemical/water engineer, Alan Simmonds. They finally established the enduring water and wastewater company, Simmonds and Bristow Pty Ltd. The initial partnership commenced in Alan’s home and downstairs laboratory. John’s career soon flourished with increasing troubleshooting and consulting work for the water industry, corrosion issues a notable focus; he became Managing Director in the early 1980’s.

Interaction with ACA in its early days led John to be part of the organising committee for the 1967 8th annual Conference in Brisbane, after which he was President of the Qld Branch for several years. Despite company management calls on his time, John subsequently spent innumerable hours on ACA (Qld) business as Secretary and Treasurer for lengthy periods. S & B Yeronga was the venue for committee meetings over decades. John served as Branch President on several more occasions, also as A’Asian President in 96 – 97. He was heavily involved with the Qld ACA Branch, organising conferences, symposia, trade shows, regular Branch and mixed industry group meetings.  In all, he was an encourager for innovation and unswerving in reliability.

John was a regular and respected ACA Councillor and Conference attendee, receiving the ACA Life Membership award in 1989. He interacted easily and openly with a wide cross-section of the ACA membership being a leader in his field. He was exemplary in voluntary work, generous, enthusiastic, resolute, dependable. He was always prepared to share his expertise and was highly regarded for both his technical and organisational abilities.

Concurrently, John was heavily involved in membership and service with other technical organisations;  FRACI, CompIEAust,  M (Life) AWWA (now AWA), M Nat Pks Assoc. plus local organisations (Scouts, Rural Environment).  He leaves a great legacy with a ripple still moving through time.  In retirement in 2003, S & B management passed over to John’s son, David. Then John became more active with another passion – enjoying bush camping and taking small parties to many different parts of the Australian outback.

Those of us who have known John also know his wife, Ruth. We extend our sincere condolences to Ruth and family as we all say our farewells to a true gentleman, highly respected in so many ways.

G J Kelly (complied with thanks to contributors  W.B., P.H., H.F., A.A., J.McM., L.B., D.N,. J. McC., G.M., B.M., A.F., R.T., R.L.)


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