Vale Aurelio Pezzimenti – 1948-2021

The trenchless industry is very saddened by the passing of Aurelio Pezzimenti on the 12th June 2021. Aurelio has been a very long friend and supporter of the ASTT and a true Pioneer for the Australasian trenchless industry. Jim Shooter, a decades long friend and colleague of Aurelio pays tribute to the ‘Father of Australian Microtunnelling’.

An era in Australian microtunnelling came to an end on Saturday 12th June 2021 with the passing of Aurelio Pezzimenti after a few years battle with pulmonary fibrosis. He passed away peacefully surrounded by his beloved family.
Aurelio was a truly remarkable man and a claimant to the title of ‘The Father of Australian Microtunnelling’. In the mid to late 1980’s, in partnership with his brothers Gilbert and Frank, Aurelio developed the vacuum extraction microtunnelling system which is ideally suited to Australian ground conditions.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then many flattered Aurelio over his life time. Many have built their own vacuum microtunnelling systems based on Aurelio’s original ideas and concepts.

In 2013, Aurelio was awarded the ‘Person of the Year’ by the ASTT for his outstanding contribution to the industry.

The 1981 film ‘Chariots of Fire’, tells the story of Eric Liddell, who won a gold medal at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games. In the film Liddell is credited with saying ‘God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure’.

Aurelio was not gifted to run fast but was given a brilliant mind and using his mind gave him pleasure. Aurelio’s passion and joy were evident when he got on a roll and outlined his latest idea, innovation or project. The words flowed as he grabbed the nearest piece of paper to sketch out his thoughts. He was able to envision components assembled and the end product at work long before the drawings were started. Aurelio was also a problem solver. He was never stuck for a solution to a site problem. I knew Aurelio as a friend for 30 years and for 25 of those I worked closely with him. In all that time Aurelio never lost his temper, raised his voice nor blamed others for mistakes made.

Eric Liddell saw his purpose NOT as a runner but to serve the people of China, the country of his birth. After the Olympic games, Eric rarely mentioned the gold medal to his wife or his young family. On reflection, Aurelio’s purpose was not primarily to use his gift of a brilliant mind. His primary life purpose was as a son, brother, husband, father, family member, community member, friend and one of his greatest joys of all-as a grandfather. Aurelio was greatly loved and admired by his family and friends. Aurelio well fulfilled his life purpose as well as exercising his giftedness.
Aurelio is survived by his wife Norina, their children Joseph, Angella and Louise and their families. The cost of great love is deep grief.

Joseph will become the Managing Director for the group of companies having been in executive management for the company for over 20 years.

Jim Shooter
NSW State Manager