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Railway Heritage and agricultural consultant in Australia

MWA International Pty Limited was incorporated in March 1978 as McKillop Williamson & Associated Pty Limited. Following the departure of one of its founders, it was formally renamed MWA International in 1982, while Robert and Kerry McKillop bought out the other shareholders in December 1984. 

MWA International has provided consulting services to government organisations and private firms in Australia, The South Pacific, Asia and Africa, often working through other firms such as Australian Agricultural Consulting & Management Services, Coffey International, Shedden Pacific, Shedden Agribusiness and the URS Corporation. Other clients include the Australian International Assistance Bureau/AusAID, Asian Development Bank, Food & Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations and UNAIDS. The firm has withdrawn from this international work since the retirement of Bob McKillop from overseas work in 2009, in order to concentrate more on domestic projects.

MWA International remains active as a provider of services in historical and heritage research, interpretation and assessment. We have undertaken 15 historical and heritage studies for the Heritage Unit of the NSW State Rail Authority and its predecessors since 1987, including:

  • Managing the design and implementation of the Australian Railway Monument and Rail Journeys Museum at Werris Creek (2002–2004). A presentation on the project and its outcome was delivered to the National Railway Heritage Conference at Tamworth in September 2005 and is published in Historic Environment, 21:2, July 2008, pp 52-57.
  • Preparation of the history of Central Railway Station for its centenary in August 2006. An expanded version of this study has been published by the Australian Railway Historical Society (NSW Division, 2008) as A Century of Central: Sydney’s Central Railway Station, 1906 to 2006.
  • Preparation of the history of the Great Northern Railway between Newcastle and Maitland for its 150th Anniversary celebrations in 2007. An expanded version of this study was published by the Australian Railway Historical Society (NSW Division, 2008) as Our Region, Our Railway: the Hunter and the Great Northern Railway, 1857-2007.
  • Preparation of a Thematic Historical Context Study of the NSW Railways as a base document for RailCorp’s review of its Section 170 Heritage and Conservation Register in accordance with the legislative requirement to have an up-to-date register completed by December 2009 and was updated by the author in 2017. This report is published on the Office of Rail Heritage website: http://www.nswrailheritage.com.au/railheritage5.htm

Books published by MWA International are described on the following pages.

Robert F (‘Bob’) McKillop, BRuSc (UNE), Dip AgExt (UQ), BA (UQ) is MWA’s principal consultant. He served in Papua New Guinea as an agricultural officer and administrator from 1962 before settling in Castlecrag with his family in 1976. Subsequently he has worked as a consultant in 24 developing countries in the Pacific, Asia and Africa and was team leader of the Papua New Guinea Department of Environment & Conservation Strengthening Project from 1994 to 1996.

Bob is an active author, editor and history consultant, and has a strong background in community affairs. His particular fields of historical interest are regional development, rail heritage, industry and corporate history. He has also been involved with a wide range of community activities within Willoughby City. His activities include:

Professional association: Bob is a member of Ag Institute Australia (AIA) and served as secretary of the NSW Division from 2008 to 2013. He awarded a Fellow of the AIA in 2015.

History & Heritage:

  • Editor of Light Railways – Australia’s magazine of industrial and narrow gauge railways – 1982–1992, Co-editor (Heritage & Research) 1997 to 2014. Has contributed numerous researched articles to the magazine over the years, particularly on the mining history of Cobar and the industrial railways of Papua New Guinea.
  • Leader of a project to research the history of the Lithgow iron and steel industry and lead author of the book Furnace, Fire & Forge: Lithgow’s iron & steel industry, 1874–1932 (LRRSA, 2006).
  • Compiler of the Australian Railway Heritage Guide 2010 (and similar titles for earlier editions) since 1986.
  • Editor of the Australian Railway History magazine published by the Australian Railway Historical Society NSW Division, from November 2013 to the end of May 2018.
  • Foundation member of the Walter Burley Griffin Society Inc (1988) including research into the Griffins’ role in the landscape architecture movement in Australia and preparation of documents for the WBGS website, and archival research and heritage significance assessment of the Castle Cove Golf Course.
  • Member of Willoughby District Historical Society since 2005 and manager at the Willoughby Museum since February 2010. Has guided a team of volunteers to develop a strategic plan, define a collection policy, rationalise the collection and develop the exhibition, ‘Tales of Flat Rock Creek’, which opened on 2 April 2011. The museum won the 2011 IMAGinE Award for best Exhibition and Public Engagement project for a volunteer run museum or gallery in NSW or the ACT for this exhibition.
  • Lead researcher and author of Furnace, Fire & Forge: Lithgow’s Iron and Steel Industry 1874–1932, published by the Light Railway Research Society of Australia, Melbourne 2006, 315 pages hardback

Community involvement: Committee member of the Castlecrag Progress Association (CPA) 1988–2010, President 1997–2001, Vice-President 2001–04, editor the CPA newsletter, The Crag, 2004 to 2010. Delegate to the Federation of Willoughby Progress Associations since its re-formation in 1993 and secretary 1999–2009 and vice-president from 2011-2013; serves as its representative on Willoughby Traffic Committee, 2006–2011. Secretary again since September 2018.

Kerry McKillop, BA (UNE); DipEd (UoS), serves as the company secretary and is active in community affairs. She was a high school teacher at Goroka and then a materials developer at the External Correspondence Section of the Education Department in Papua New Guinea, then served as a Tutor at the University of PNG’s English as a Second Language program. She was a foundation member of the Walter Burley Griffin Society Inc. and has been its secretary since 1988. She served as editor of the CPA newsletter, The Crag, from 1987 to 2004.