Month: July 2015

Cinema Centre

I picked up the phone and was told that there had been an explosion at the Cinema Centre in Canberra and that a man had been killed. We were asked to investigate. The picture below shows the Old Cinema Centre in the centre of the picture and the Dendy Cinema Centre of today in the top right hand corner and a petrol station was located opposite but to the left. I had mapped the excaavation on which the Cinema was built shortly after my arrival in Canberra. In the north wall there was a depression in the top of weathered clayey mudstone that was filled with gravel and water was leaking from the gravel during and after rain. After the Cinema was built water ponded behind the north wall and algae grew in the sump inside the building. The management realised that there was ponding of water and drilled a hole in the wall to allow the water to enter the sump and then pumped into the stormwater drain. During rain the water level rose until it flowed through the hole into the sump; however. Petrol also flowed in through the hole. The plumber was called in to install a pump to remove the water. When the plumber lit his blowtorch the pertol exploded; he was knocked unconcious and fell into the sump and drowned in three inches of...

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Narrabundah Community Affairs

Robert Menzies was prime minister of Australia from 1949 to 1966, and was Australia’s longest-serving prime minister. Gough Whitlam led the Labour Party to power for the first time in 23 years at the 1972 election. He went on to win the 1974 election before being controversially dismissed by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, at the climax of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis. Lionel Murphy Australian politician and jurist, was Attorney-General in the government of Gough Whitlam and a Justice of the High Court of Australia from 1975 until his death. He drafted all legislation passed by the Whitlam Government which included: improving the position of women and our indigenous population; introducing Medibank, the precursor to Medicare; needs-based funding for schools and free university education; introducing the Trade Practices Act; ending conscription; diplomatic and trade relations with the People’s Republic of China. Narrabundah had cheap fibrolite houses built for the workmen who initially built Canberra and the ACT administration placed single mothers and divorcees with children in them.  Roz Kelly was the Member for the ACT and she lobbied for a Health Centre to be established and it operated initially from an empty Doctor’s surgery, the baby health clinic, and one of the fibro houses. Plans for a health Centre were drawn by the National Capital Development Commission, funds were allocated and the Centre was built containing...

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Lake Burley Griffin

My first job in Canberra with the Bureau of Mineral Resources was logging drill core during the investigations for a dam that would turn the Canberra floodplain into a lake as envisaged by Walter Burley Griffin. The Canberra floodplain was about half a kilometre wide and the low level bridges were frequently flooded. In 1911, a competition for the design of Canberra was launched by King O’Malley, Minister for Home Affairs, and Scrivener’s detailed survey of the area was supplied to the competing architects. Walter Burley Griffin won the Design Competition. Burley Griffin’s wife, Marion Mahony Griffin, also an architect, collaborated with him on the design competition entry, and is known to have prepared the design drawings that accompanied the Burley Griffin entry. I attained a Science Degree in Geology with Honours at Queensland University in 1957 working on sediments to the southwest of Brisbane. I transferred to the Bureau of Mineral Resources in Canberra in May 1958 and felt the cold. I worked from an old military prefab hut that was also cold. I wore a greatcoat for 7 years, inside the office as well as outside until one day I felt hot and never wore it again. I was map editor for the maps of northern Australia, sited bores for farmers in the ACT and adjoining NSW, supervised drilling the bores and conducted pumping tests. I added...

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Googong Dam – Construction

Googong Dam lies to the south of Queanbeyan, NSW, and is a water supply dam for Canberra. Googong Dam is a minor ungated earth and rock fill dam with a clay core and a concrete chute spillway plus a nearby 13 metres (43 ft) high earth fill saddle embankment. It dams the Queanbeyan River upstream of Queanbeyan in New South Wales, Australia. The dam’s purpose is to provide a water supply for Canberra and Queanbeyan. The impounded reservoir is called the Googong Reservoir. Googong Dam was created through enabling legislation enacted via the passage of the Canberra Water Supply (Googong Dam) Act, 1974 (Cth).[1] Completed in 1979, the Googong Dam is located approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) south of the town of Queanbeyan on the lower reaches of the river. The dam was built by Thiess based on designs developed by the Commonwealth Department of Construction; and is now managed by ACTEW Water. The site for a dam on the Queanbeyan River had been identified and geophysical traverses were carried out by the Bureau of Mineral Resources in the 1950’s.  A cable was strung across river and a bosun’s chair used to cross to the other side of the river. The Supervising Geophysicist was Willy Weibenga, an irascible Dutchman, and Willy decided to go to cross the river on the bosun’s chair.  When he was halfway across, they disconnected...

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