Plant Section - 1970
I joined the Plant Section of the HEC in Hobart in June 1970. I was a recently graduated Mechanical Engineer from Wollongong NSW and travelled down to Hobart in June with my wife to start work in Tech 2B of the plant section. From memory, the Plant section at the time consisted of 4 sections- Tech 1, Tech 2A, Tech 2B & Tech 3, all supported by a Plant design/drawing office. Each section was involved with supplying various different types of plant to HEC construction sites. Tech 2B where I was working was involved with concrete handling equipment such as cableways, haulageways, cranes, winches etc.
Initially the work was associated with the Mersey Forth scheme & I remember working on slipforming plant for the Cethana dam face and concreting equipment for the Fisher shaft and tunnel. Work then became more associated with the Gordon scheme where I was involved with the installation of various cranes and the Gordon Haulageway. An interesting (and stressful) project at the time was the installation of one of the beam tracks for the haulageway which could not be reached by the main radial cableway and had to be lowered and cantilevered into position using the only recently commissioned haulageway main winch.
I still think back in wonder at the great variety of equipment that was supplied by the Plant section during this time. Sometimes this could be purchased (but usually required special features defined by the Plant Engineers) but often needed to be designed & manufactured from scratch using the imagination & technical expertise of HEC Plant Section personnel.
Names that I remember from this time are- Max Bruce, Peter Fone, Neville Harrop, Mac McChesney, Tom Thompson, Bill Jakins, Ted Rugg, Graham Gibson, Derek Caldwell, Geof Andrewarthur, Dave Caro, Geoff Marshall, Terry Strugnall (please forgive some of those spellings and also the many names forgotten). All were great friends and support to me & made working at the HEC a very enjoyable period of my life.
I left the hydro in August 1973 and embarked on a working holiday in the UK, starting as a design draughtsman with Aveling Barford in Grantham (the result of HEC contacts).
I feel very blessed that I was able to have this HEC experience (plus general experiences in Tasmania during this time).