Water Research Australia is sad to advise that well-known and respected water industry researcher and mentor, Denis Mulcahy, passed away on 7th May 2023 aged 81.

Dennis had a major impact on the water industry in Australia and will be remembered for his ability to effortlessly make those around him feel welcome, relaxed, and cheerful.

Throughout his career with the University of South Australia, Dennis made many significant contributions to science in physical, analytical and environmental chemistry and water technology, publishing more than 160 papers.

Dennis was a key player in the development of the CRC in Water Quality and Treatment (now WaterRA) and led the Education Program from 1995 to 2008. Dennis was meticulous in his oversight of the 100+ students that graduated during his tenure, and exposed them to the water industry and its people from day one. Dennis had a detailed understanding of not only the projects being undertaken by the students but also their personal circumstances, providing an excellent level of care, encouragement and mentoring.

His significant achievements are evident in many awards over his career, including a very early career Royal Australian Chemical Institute (SA) (ChemEx) award for excellence in chemical education in 1979. He was later elected a fellow in RACI.

In 2011 Dennis was awarded The South Australian Premier’s Water Medal, the highest award given by the Australian Water Association in SA. The award recognised the excellence of his teaching and mentoring for the water industry.

In 2014 Dennis was made a University Fellow at UniSA in recognition of distinguished service to the University, particularly with respect to the education and training of students for future careers in the water industry.

Our thoughts are with his family.

UniSA will hold a memorial for Dennis in September. If you are interested in attending please contact Carolyn Bellamy for further details.


Dennis Mulcahy (left) with former South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill.