Vale Arvo Tinni AM

Arvo Tinni, the first ASCP Honorary Member, passed away peacefully on 17 January 2023.

He was born in 1935 in a small village Keila, to the south west of Tallin in Estonia. He was an epic man; a giant in physique, personality and achievement. Known to many as the “big fella”. One of the foremost road engineers in Australia in the second half of the 20th century. He achieved excellence at both strategic and detail levels. In the old NSW DMR/RTA he rose to the position of Chief Engineer Roadworks before joining the private sector at Statewide Roads then Abigroup.

As Divisional Engineer DMR Goulburn in the 1980s, he was responsible for many pioneering concrete highway projects in southern NSW during the Fraser Government ABRD Program. Notable among them was the legendary 12km dual carriageway Tumblong Deviation Stage 1 on the Hume Highway. It ushered in the first combination of multi-lane concrete slipform paving and high output concrete site production plants. 2023 marks 40 years since its construction.

A suitable monument to a giant such as Arvo would be the Warringah Freeway in Sydney. He would always forcibly remind people that its formal title was Freeway not Expressway. He was the Supervising Engineer for its construction in the mid-1960s. In overall concrete pavement area, it remained the largest contract until the 1990s. Nearly 60 years later, and carrying more than 200,000 vehicles daily, that pavement remains effectively maintenance free.

Arvo was a mentor to many in industry including the current ASCP President Jamie Egan.

There was never any doubt as to where Arvo stood on any issue. He enjoyed a debate on any topic as long as those opposite agreed that he would win it. In his relationships with people around him he had a signature and typical direct Arvo approach “do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution”. With him loyalty was a two-way street, loyalty given to him was more than repaid in return. He was a man about whom it can be genuinely stated – they do not make them like that anymore. It is arguable that there is nobody who cannot be replaced. Arvo probably came as close to that compared with others.

He received many high honours and awards, among them;

  • Member of the Order of Australia (AM) (2015. For significant service to engineering through contributions to the road construction sector, as an industry leader, innovator and mentor.)
  • Estonian Order of The White Star. ( Arvo received the Order of the White Star from the President of the Republic of Estonia as a distinguished Engineer for services to the Estonian Community and engineering technology)
  • Reserve Forces Decoration (RFD) (Arvo rose though every rank from Sapper to the rank of Colonel in the RAE Reserve and received the RFD for the required minimum15 years continuous service as a Commissioned Officer)
  • Roads Australia John Shaw Medal (RA’s most prestigious Award honouring an industry champion who has made a lasting contribution to Australia’s roads.)
  • Honorary Member of the Australian Society for Concrete Pavements, the first such recipient

The “big fella” has now peacefully left us.


















We welcome you to share your condolences and any memories you may have with Arvo on our LinkedIn post.

John Hodgkinson has provided details of Arvo funeral arrangements.

  • Funeral service will be conducted on Tuesday 31 January at 2:30pm at Rookwood Cemetery South Chapel
  • No restriction on attendance
  • The family will host a wake at the same location following the service
  • Friends and colleagues are invited to share ‘brief’ comments during the wake. following the service
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