For those of you who don’t know the history of the IPWEA ‘magic tie’, it entered IPWEA folklore when it was worn by Kristin McKechie from OPUS International Consultants at the 2005 Adelaide IPWEA International Public Works conference. The tie became notorious as a famous – and valuable – accessory when it was cut in half and returned to one piece on the night, by ‘magic’.
The tie made a comeback at the Darwin conference Gala Dinner and it has continued its run as a conference fixture ever since as a charity auction item. The ‘magic tie’ raises funds for IPWEA’s charity RedR, which provides on-the-ground engineers to help communities in war-torn and impoverished countries.
The tie earned trophy status 14 years ago when it was framed for display by its first owners, the Walkom twin brothers, John and Kevin, who are well known in local government for the services of their company, Techni-Clean Australia. The brothers donated the tie to IPWEA on the condition that it is auctioned at each conference with its successful charity bidder acting as custodian until the next event.
The magic tie timeline:
2011: $2,500 – Canberra, with Complete Urban the winning bidder,
2013: $3,600 – Melbourne, with Ron Sanderson (CEO) the bidder from Brighton Council, Tasmania setting a new benchmark. Brighton Council was also the successful bidder at the Melbourne 2009 conference.
2015: $4,000 – at Rotorua, with a new record set by Complete Urban.
2017: $4,000 – the previous bid was matched by IPWEA’s Platinum Partner Komatsu with a bid from Leo Kaloglou, Komatsu Australia GM Mining & Construction.