Tuesday 30 April 2019

A web of steel and concrete – design and construction of the Anzac Bridge – Talk by Rob Renew

In the 1980s the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority began the process of designing a new bridge to replace the low-level Glebe Island Bridge which had been in use since 1903. This bridge, one of the first to use an electric motor to open and close a swing span, connected the western part of the inner-city with Balmain, Rozelle, and suburbs further west, while allowing ships to enter and leave Rozelle Bay and Blackwattle Bay.

After considering site constraints and design options, engineers at the RTA  proposed a cable-stayed design for the main span across Johnstons Bay. This design would require two tall towers, one at each side of the Bay, to support the cables which would hold up the road deck. This novel design was approved, amid much criticism of the tower heights and the visual impact the bridge would have when finished.

Construction of the massive piles and pile caps to support the towers commenced and these were completed in 1990. But, by then the NSW government had decided to delay the project until other sources of finance were found. Two years later the project resumed and in 1995 the new Glebe Island Bridge was opened.

Early in the construction period, David Moore, perhaps Australia’s most accomplished photojournalist, began a project to document the workers on the bridge, its most interesting visual features, and the unsurpassed views of the city seen from the bridge towers. The hundreds of photographs taken by David provide a fascinating visual record of the bridge project. A selection of these will be used to illustrate the talk.

Rob Renew was previously Principal Curator, Science & Industry at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.  He made many site visits to the new Glebe Island Bridge during its construction, to interview engineers involved in its design, and to document the innovative construction processes used. He authored a chapter in the book To build a bridge: Glebe Island Sydney Australia which showcases a selection of David Moore’s photographs. Rob is currently president of the Australian Society for History of Engineering and Technology Inc. (ASHET).

Venue: History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney
Time: 5.30 for 6 pm
Cost: includes light refreshments on arrival; RAHS and ASHET members $10, others $12
Bookings: phone RAHS on (02) 9247 8001, email history@rahs.org.au

Anzac Bridge under construction

Anzac Bridge under construction

Tuesday 28 May 2019

Smart cities : platforms for liveable cities – Talk by Paul Budde

Cities around the world are growing exponentially. Cities are where the current global problems are coming together: climate change, energy supply, sustainability, migration, refugees, economic transformations. Rather than operating in silos, cities should take a holistic approach using their services and infrastructure as a platform from where to address issues such as: circular economy (waste, water, energy); the digital economy (communication, interconnection) ; mobility (transport); wellbeing, liveability, entertainment; future capacity building (new jobs, education, R&D, innovation, start-ups, new tax revenue).

New digital technologies (smarts) are the enabling tools in these transformations. Building smart cities requires leadership from mayors and city CEOs and collaboration between all three levels of government, private industry and the research and development community. Once that is in place smart cities should be developed together with the citizens and the local communities.

Paul Budde is the CEO of Paul Budde Consulting, which specialises in strategic planning of government and business innovation and transformation around the digital, sharing and interconnected economy, resulting in the building of smart cities and smart communities. He advised the Minister for Broadband in Australia on strategy and policy developments of the original NBN. He has been an adviser in discussions on the national interest concept of smart infrastructure in the White House, the FCC, United Nations and governments of the Netherlands, Australia, Britain, Qatar, Ireland and New Zealand.

He is a director of the Global Smart City and Community Coalition (GSC3), an advisor to the Australian Smart Communities Association, founder of Smart Grid Australia and a founding board member of the Global Smart Grid Federation. In 2016 he organised the Dutch Australian Smart City Summit and in 2017 was awarded the prestigious Charles Todd Medal for services to the telecommunications industry.

Venue: History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney
Time: 5.30 for 6 pm
Cost: includes light refreshments on arrival; RAHS and ASHET members $10, others $12
Bookings: phone RAHS on (02) 9247 8001, email history@rahs.org.au

Paul Budde

Paul Budde

Thursday 20 June 2019

The Apollo Moon Landings: From Challenge to Achievement – Talk by Kerrie Dougherty

In 1961, President Kennedy set the United States’ space agency, NASA, the challenge of “landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth” by 1970. This was a daring task to give an agency barely three years old; one that had, at the time, only flown a single astronaut on a suborbital mission. To meet this challenge, NASA initiated the Apollo lunar program. In this presentation, space historian Kerrie Dougherty will look at how NASA took the Apollo program from concept to reality in less than a decade, solving engineering, technical and scientific issues to win the greatest prize of the Space Race against the USSR, a successful landing on the Moon with the Apollo 11 mission.

Kerrie Dougherty is an independent space historian, author and freelance curator. Formerly Curator of Space Technology at the Powerhouse Museum, with over 30 years’ museum experience, Kerrie is also a lecturer in Space Humanities studies for the International Space University. A Member of the International Academy of Astronautics, she also serves on their History of Astronautics Committee. She is the author of “Australia in Space”, a comprehensive history of Australian space activities (published 2017) and the winner of the 2015 Sacknoff Prize for Space History.

Venue: History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney
Time: 5.30 for 6 pm
Cost: includes light refreshments on arrival; RAHS and ASHET members $10, others $12
Bookings: phone RAHS on (02) 9247 8001, email history@rahs.org.au

the design evolution of the Lunar Module

The design evolution of the Lunar Module