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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 6

I Construction During The Settlement Years

II The Use Of Timber As A Structural Material

III Structural Steel

IV Concrete Technology

V Housing

VI Industrialised Pre-cast Concrete Housing

VII Ports And Harbours

VIII Roads

IX Heavy Foundations

X Bridges

XI Sewerage

XII Water Engineering

XIII Railways

XIV Major Buildings

XV Airports

XVI Thermal Power Stations

XVII Materials Handling
i For grain:
ii For salt:
iii For sugar
iv For iron ore
v For coal
vi For bauxite:
vii For alumina:
viii For cement:

XVIII Oil Industry

XIX The Snowy Mountains Scheme

XX The Sydney Opera House

XXI The Sydney Harbour Bridge

XXII Hamersley Iron

XXIII North West Shelf

Sources and References


Contact us

For cement: (continued)

As in all developing countries, an industry such as materials handling builds up in response to specific problems. With growing sophistication and growth, however, like communication networks, the tentacles expand and finally interweave and interact on each other. This stage is rapidly being reached in Australia, and the size and in-depth penetration can be gauged from present estimates that the cost of distribution of goods absorbs some 40 per cent of Australia's GNP. It is clearly a major influence on the social and economic life of the community.

The growing tendency to interlink separate systems at the control and operational level, with increasingly complex computer programs, foreshadows the dream of very large -even national -systems carefully optimised for major distribution cost savings for the economic benefit of all. Future materials handling projects, rather than initiating their own distribution systems, may well in the future stand or fall on their capacity to link with established national networks.

Paralleling the bulk movement of material is an equally exciting story for discrete article handling of metal ingot, postal items, spare parts, materials in bottles, cans, and a myriad of other packages with its own history of innovation and sorting, stacking, blending, and handling, from manufacture to consumption.

Liquids and gases in matching manner are being moved about the country in bulk in rapidly increasing quantities. Early Australian experience in piping water to Kalgoorlie, and early irrigation in the lower Murray Valley, were breakthrough examples of technical initiative. The later oil and gas system, connecting extremely remote fields to population centres, already matches world standards, and talk of 'national grids' linking the whole continent is moving rapidly towards the positive planning level.

Slurry pipelines and multi-product lines exist, and proposals are under discussion for encapsulated bulk material to be handled inside liquid pipelines.

The spectrum of materials used by man, and the variety of states in which they are handled, is vast. The Australian citizen's quality of life -as far as material welfare can help -is dependent to a significant degree on the ability of the body of engineering professionals and technicians designing, constructing, and managing the means of movement of materials.

Many of the leading groups of Australian professional consultants have grown with the knowledge and experience gained in the major post-war development in the materials handling field. The members of their professional society, The Association of Consulting Engineers Australia (ACEA), now include many groups equal in performance record to any in the world.

Fortunately the need for this competent body of people is met by an excellent and widespread infrastructure of education and training facilities, provided by the Universities and Colleges within Australia. From this base of training, and with our on-site achievements, it is clear that in the field of the handling of materials we have moved historically from the primitive to at least equality on the international scene, and have the skills and ability to stay there and help the less fortunate to join us.`

May we have the wisdom to do so.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Association of Consulting Engineers Australia (A.C.E.A.); Institution of Engineers, Australia

People in Bright Sparcs - Peacock, E. E.

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 414 - 416, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher