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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

What’s Your opinion?


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90 Responses to
Royal Canberra Hospital ‘implosion’ Anniversary
Mr Gillespie 2:00 pm 13 Jul 12

Ah yes, so that is why we have to live in the Soviet Union of Australia where we are not allowed to know in advance when a bridge demolition is going to take place, and why all this overkill about exclusion zones and timing and traffic. The Government is SCARED, SCARED, SCARED of losing another precious Katie Bender, and earning world notoriety all because it takes just ONE death of a human being to declare a BIG FAILURE for the rest of the human race.

SnapperJack 1:50 pm 13 Jul 12

I remember the massive traffic jam on Adelaide Ave of people trying to get to Lennox Gardens and other vantage points. It was promoted relentlessly for weeks as a fun family day out and Mix106.3 were given the nod by the government to run a contest with the prize being the person to press the button for the implosion.

Because of the traffic jam, I turned off Adelaide Ave and went up Black Mountain where there were also many people watching the implosion. Word spread quickly about what happened because later in the afternoon someone told me that “three people were killed”.

The story was all over the front pages of every newspaper in the country the next morning except The West Australian which relegated it to page five.

colourful sydney rac 1:43 pm 13 Jul 12

steveu said :

If I recall correctly, Kate Carnell put alot of pressure on the contractor to do it during the day, against his advice, and turned it into a public spectacle. .

same.

Basilbrush 1:39 pm 13 Jul 12

I was born in the hospital and had my children there too. We all went down to watch the ‘implosion’ but it was sad to see it go. It was such a long wait which made it worse.

Then to see all the fire engines and ambulances go over to Lennox Gardens after the building collapsed – it was horrible and then word spread that someone had been killed.

Double sadness that day……..our thoughts go out to the Bender family. The papers mentioned that they hadn’t even planned to attend that day – they were just driving past after church and Katie wanted to see what was happening.

steveu 12:14 pm 13 Jul 12

If I recall correctly, Kate Carnell put alot of pressure on the contractor to do it during the day, against his advice, and turned it into a public spectacle. My personal opinion is that she should have resigned and taken at least some responsibility for her involvement in the event.

I also think it may be the only implosion where a fatality has been recorded, at least in recent times.

A tragic piece in Canberra’s history that most residents will be able to “remember what they were doing that day”.

At the end of the day, it wont bring Katie back, nor heal the wounds to her family which can never be healed. My deepest condolences to her family.

colourful sydney rac 12:07 pm 13 Jul 12

It absolutely destroyed her parents. they were broken people after what hapenned to poor Katie.

Skidbladnir 11:52 am 13 Jul 12

That 15 years later, it is still used internationally as both a Project Management What-Not-To-Do Case Study and an example of why qualification & certification checking should be an integral part of public tender processes, should give newcomers some indication of how colossal a f***up the Implosion was.

Sadly, it was only one of the failures we put up with before getting rid of Carnell, and we’re still in much the same groove now.

(If you weren’t there, the debris you see skimming across the pleasurecraft-filled Lake is what most people saw on the day…)

PBO 11:43 am 13 Jul 12

p1 said :

I really wanted to go see the blowing up of the hospital, but made the choice to spend the weekend caving out at Bungonia SRA instead.

PBO said :

….or even the human penis found at the bottom of civic pool in the 80’s.

I remember the other things, but that one slip through. Got a link? I am a little reluctant to google for it from a work computer…

I dont have a link but it was a joke by the students at the medical school from what I heard, someone noticed something on the bottom that was not a coin and thats how it was discovered apparently. Whilst it is off topic from the implosion or the “Carnell event” as i like to call it, it just highlights the short term memory that communities can suffer from.

DissolutionedHack 11:24 am 13 Jul 12

Was a terrible day. Weird how it was so sunny and calm. I took a bunch of kids down to watch and remember standing around listlessly as we waited for it to go off – I remember some pyrotechnics then a long delay… Then a crump and the eerie sound of shrapnel humming and fizzing over our heads at Lennox gardens… Then sirens and crying and me hurredly moving the kids away from the area… poor little girl and family.

The mig crash I definately remember, people were told that if they’d witnessed it to keep in mind they might need councelling as apparently seeing something like that can disassociate you from reality – you know… a Mig fighter crashing into the pines off Hindmarsh drive (where the pitch and put is now) in a trail of smoke and fire…

s-s-a 11:08 am 13 Jul 12

I was near one of the poplars across the lake probably less than 100m from the Bender family and vividly remember the eruptions of water from the lake as projectiles landed around the many spectators in water craft, as well as many branches falling around us from the trees as they were chopped off by shrapnel.

Looking through the NLA pics linked above, projectiles landing in the lake are obvious in several including this one.

I had my bike and went for a long ride on the way home to the north side. Arrived to a somewhat concerned house mate as she’d heard the news on the radio and knew I’d gone down for a look.

My thoughts are with the Bender family.

The MIG crash was 13/3/93. I was driving on Canberra Ave and saw the plane heading towards the airport, noted because it was an unusual looking aircraft. There was a puff of smoke then it ditched rapidly out of my line of sight and within seconds there was a column of black smoke. OMG I can’t believe it was nearly 20y ago.

p1 10:44 am 13 Jul 12

I really wanted to go see the blowing up of the hospital, but made the choice to spend the weekend caving out at Bungonia SRA instead.

PBO said :

….or even the human penis found at the bottom of civic pool in the 80’s.

I remember the other things, but that one slip through. Got a link? I am a little reluctant to google for it from a work computer…

grunge_hippy 10:36 am 13 Jul 12

PBO said :

I am still surprised how many people do not remember the MIG jet crash on Hindmarsh dr in the 90’s , the 16yr old who was shot by police last year or even the human penis found at the bottom of civic pool in the 80’s.

what? One would assume you are being factious about something, what that is I have no clue.

wrigbe 10:15 am 13 Jul 12

It was certainly a day I will never forget. We were there to farewell the hospital my husband was born in. The the stuff raining down from the sky was a little scarey but we had no idea someone was killed until we got home much later in the afternoon. We had left the lake and had a leisurely drive out to Tidbinbilla which took longer than we planned. We arrived home to frantic calls from friends worried because they knew we had been at the hospital site and were worried because we were late for an evening BBQ.
Katie Bender is still in our memories.

PBO 10:13 am 13 Jul 12

I am still surprised how many people do not remember the MIG jet crash on Hindmarsh dr in the 90’s , the 16yr old who was shot by police last year or even the human penis found at the bottom of civic pool in the 80’s.

Holden Caulfield 9:54 am 13 Jul 12

I wasn’t there that day and watching the TV footage it’s a miracle more lives weren’t lost.

If it wasn’t so damn tragic the whole debacle would make a great comedy.

Respects to the Bender family.

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