“Lin qualified as a licensed surveyor in 1956 and immediately left the State Government where he had studied and trained for 4 years, and joined Mineral Deposits at Southport – their plant was on Brighton Parade where Rivage Royale now stands, across from the old Sundale site. Lin later was responsible for all the survey work for that building in the 1980’s Japanese boom.
Lin enjoyed his work at Mineral Deposits, he travelled extensively on the NSW coast, and on Moreton Island and up to Double Island Point. He spent a couple of seasons exploring for Tin on the Atherton Tableland and I worked with him there for two weeks with a geophysical team in my second year at university.
I had qualified as a licensed surveyor in 1964 and had a good job in Brisbane.
Although we were both surveyors we had never talked about going in to business together.
In 1968 Mineral Deposits proposed going to Sydney and Lin and Neana (Lin’s first wife) didn’t want to go. They preferred their Southport lifestyle. Lin saw a small survey practice in Southport for Sale, bought it and rang me at night. They came up to us in Brisbane (Jan was 8 months pregnant with Ross) and we had a brief discussion over dinner at home.
One day later (I had to think about it) I gave 2 weeks’ notice and 2 weeks later Bennett & Bennett Land Surveyors commenced business at Shepherd House at 97 Scarborough Street opposite the Court House.
Mineral Deposits didn’t want to lose Lin so he continued to work there. But work steadily picked up for Bennett & Bennett and after a time he resigned and came in full time. The partnership had originally been 60/40 but around this time Lin said “This won’t work unless we are equal” and the change was just made without any compensation to Lin.
When we were setting up, advisers pushed us about life insurance, trauma insurance, income protection insurance. The costs horrified us. We agreed that in the event of a disaster, the survivor would look after the family, and we shook hands on it. Fortunately no disasters hit us. We agreed not to fly together and not to holiday together. But fishing was OK!- just not from the same boat.
Over the years we fished quite a lot at Currigee, with Lin usually outfishing me. We also drank a bit of rum together when necessary to ward off the cold.
Our business was successful. We worked through the Cambridge Credit land boom of the early 70s, and the collapse in 1974, as well as several high rise surges. We also survived through several busts – life is seldom smooth for long.
Despite being land surveyors we became acknowledged titling experts and experts in surveys for high rise building construction. We had to develop these skills as the nature and scale of developments on the Gold Coast expanded and our clients required better solutions.
Throughout the 29 years of partnership, we had an excellent relationship. From time to time we obviously held differing points of view but we were always able to resolve issues and didn’t ever have a substantial problem.
Despite spending so much time together, we would often stroll over from our office at 99 Upton Street to Chevron Island, or later the Karp Court cafes to have a quick lunch together.
We sold the business in 1996 and 1997 to 5 of the surveyors who worked for us and Lin and I were both pleased that they have maintained the Bennett & Bennett name. They have taken the business from strength to strength and have maintained and enhanced the reputation of Bennett & Bennett. Several of those surveyors are here today.”