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Royal Canberra Hospital ‘implosion’ Anniversary

By gooterz 13 July 2012 90

Seemingly unnoticed, today is 15 years on from old Canberra Hospital implosion.

July 13 1997 the public were encouraged by the ACT government to come and watch the end of an era, ending in a dark day for many.

It should have been a fairly trivial event but seemingly though sheer lack of technical expertise the job ended in a terrible failure.

15 years on it doesn’t seem like much has changed. There are still plenty of failings (GDE bridge collapse) and others.

So i wonder have we been learning from these mistakes or just repeating them?

[Thanks to Skidbladnir for pointing us at the video]

Here’s a picture.

screenshot


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Royal Canberra Hospital ‘implosion’ Anniversary
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HenryBG 2:55 pm 16 Jul 12

poetix said :

HenryBG said :

poetix said :

c_c said :

But then, we public school students did always notice the private schoolers in college were a bit detached from reality and insular.

Shouldn’t that be insula?

Don’t be silly – he’s clearly using “insular”, here, as an adjective.

Oh Henry BG, I am so grateful. I really had no idea.

Actually, I think you just proved c_c’s point.

But that’s more than enough cheerful banter from me on a thread about a child’s death.

You said it.

poetix 2:28 pm 16 Jul 12

HenryBG said :

poetix said :

c_c said :

But then, we public school students did always notice the private schoolers in college were a bit detached from reality and insular.

Shouldn’t that be insula?

Don’t be silly – he’s clearly using “insular”, here, as an adjective.

Oh Henry BG, I am so grateful. I really had no idea. Actually, I think you just proved c_c’s point.

But that’s more than enough cheerful banter from me on a thread about a child’s death.

Mysteryman 2:22 pm 16 Jul 12

johnboy said :

On the other hand the merkins manage to bring down casino’s in front of a hundred thousand drunken revellers.

The staggering incompetence of the contractor, and the award of that contract, are more culpable for mine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWCVIlktX-k

This. Public demolitions have been done safely for a long time.

HenryBG 1:52 pm 16 Jul 12

poetix said :

c_c said :

But then, we public school students did always notice the private schoolers in college were a bit detached from reality and insular.

Shouldn’t that be insula?

Don’t be silly – he’s clearly using “insular”, here, as an adjective.

ThisIsAName 1:40 pm 16 Jul 12

Disinformation said :

When mentioning this to a friend later that day, he revealed that he’d been very close to that same point and a guy just in front of them had his tripod mounted camera taken out by a chunk of shrapnel.

I think that it was incredible that more people weren’t killed, given the amount of near-misses that were obvious from the footage.

That may have been one of the news camera tripods. One of the stations covering the aftermath mentioned a large bit of shrapnel hitting a news station tripod. I have a recollection that one channel reported that particular piece going on to hit Katie Bender.

Some of the people in boats were lucky to get away unscathed. I noticed a small boat with 2 people in bottom right hand corner of this shot:
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/photogallery/act-news/fifteen-years-since-the-hospital-implosion-tragedy-20120713-220l7.html?selectedImage=0

They are dwarfed by the closest splash, despite being closer to the camera.

EvanJames 1:16 pm 16 Jul 12

johnboy said :

The staggering incompetence of the contractor, and the award of that contract, are more culpable for mine.

In my googling for Rod McCracken (the powder monkey, “shot firer” being the official term), there’s quite a few references to enquiries and issues with work done. It’s an interesting industry. Many years ago, a club I was in was extending its accommodation facilities, and the builder who had oversight of the project hired some powder monkeys to get rid of some massive boulders on the site, so we could excavate. They laid their charges, we retreated inside, and what followed was the most almighty series of explosions. The powder monkeys looked shocked. When we went outside, bits of boulder – BIG bits of boulder – were everywhere, including on vehicles way down the street, on other buildings… significant destruction.

The powder monkeys muttered something and disappeared. Neither we, nor the builder, ever heard from them again.

JazzyJess 11:31 am 16 Jul 12

Poor kid. Katie went to my school (though I didn’t know her) and I remember it took people a long time to recover from the loss. Unfortunately her family will never recover. I cannot believe it was promoted as a fun family day out. Kate Carnell should have been driven out of town for this stuff-up.

EvanJames 10:48 am 16 Jul 12

Not sure if this has been linked-to here:
http://www.sieves.com.au/sieves-articles/1999/3/21/a-death-that-should-not-have-been-told-part-two/
but it’s quite good, lot of info chimes with what I remember too.

EvanJames 10:28 am 16 Jul 12

LSWCHP said :

I also wonder why no heads rolled as a result of such a colossal stuffup. The footage I’ve seen of the explosives being laid indicated to me that the contractor had no idea about how to bring a structure down. They charges actually looked to my slightly educated eye like they were laid to blow the place upwards.

Testing my memory now, but we were retained by the contractor to find him some labourers. The contractor was a family business, him and sons, they blew into Canberra and never stopped dropping the usual cliched “jokes” about how bad Canberra was. The labourers were to fill sandbags and pack them around the explosives, the heavy work.

Also from memory, the contractor had made some assumptions about the hospital’s construction which proved on examination to be misplaced, there was a lot more steel in the concrete than he’d originally thought, so evidently he upped the explosives. Thing is, you see that design of hospital everywhere in Australia, must have been a flurry of hospital building in the late 50s/early 60s. I’d imagine they were built in a similar manner, so it’s puzzling that the construction came as a surprise to him.

I imagine that Carnell and co didn’t want their tendering methods looked-at too closely, hence the lack of a proper enquiry. I bet that particular powder monkey didn’t put THAT job on his future tender submissions however.

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