Emeritus Professor Mackay’s work over nearly forty years has encompassed wide ranging aspects of water resources management and analysis, groundwater engineering and modelling, pollution studies, geological characterisation and the investigation and modelling of coupled groundwater and geomechanical processes. He has spent the last six years in the Latrobe Valley exploring those aspects not previously investigated of ground movements and ground processes affecting brown coal mine stability.
Emeritus Professor Mackay graduated with a Civil Engineering degree from Imperial College of Science and Technology, London University in 1978 before joining Sir Murdoch Macdonald and Partners (MMP); first as an irrigation engineer and subsequently as a groundwater engineer and finally a groundwater modeler. He spent a significant part of his time in his early years with MMP working in the Middle East, Africa and the Indian subcontinent before moving to the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK to take up a research post in the Water Resources Systems Research Unit. There his research was concerned with developing numerical models to simulate groundwater pollution phenomena. During this time he worked on a wide range of groundwater related research problems including the underground burial of radioactive waste, contaminated land pollution, groundwater – surface water interactions, and agriculture land salinization. His research focused largely on quantitative probabilistic analysis of groundwater pollution risks. In 1995 he was awarded his Doctorate and in his last year at Newcastle University, he became the Director of the Centre for Land Use and Water Resources Research.
In 1997, he became Professor of Hydrogeology at the University of Birmingham and Head of the Hydrogeology Research Group as well as Director of the internationally respected Master of Science in Hydrogeology. He continued to expand his research across the broad range of interests developed during his time at Newcastle University, culminating in his leadership of the environment theme of a major European Union project concerned with improving sustainability of urban water systems internationally. He also worked extensively with the UK nuclear waste disposal industry throughout this period.
Emeritus Professor Mackay moved to the Latrobe Valley in 2011 to take up the Directorship of the newly formed Geotechnical and Hydrogeological Research Group at the Gippsland Campus of Monash University, now Federation University and has since worked extensively on aspects of stability of the Latrobe Valley mines. During this period, he was also a member of the Victorian Government’s Technical Review Board prior to his appointment to the Commissioner’s role.