Deaths of dam builders remembered
THE number of deaths at the time of construction of Burrendong Dam is well-known to Wellington Museum curator Dorothy Blake, who has spent time researching the lives lost during that period.
Mrs Blake contacted Dubbo Photo News following the publication of the article “Dam supervisor recalls lives lost’ (Dubbo Photo News, July 4)
“Sue Jones and I had done some research for State Water (now Waternsw) when they were considering putting up a memorial plaque some time ago,” she explained.
Mrs Blake was able to shed some more light on the fatalities, including the tragic circumstances in which the workers were killed.
“The man you numbered two should have been, I believe, Franciscus Lambertus Johannus Houton.
“Aged 24, he died when the vehicle overturned on February 2, 1962. He had only been married for five weeks.
“Ted Carter was the man who fell into the diversion tunnel on June 2, 1961. Tony Cunneen, whom you numbered three, had only become a father to his fifth child the day before his death on February 13, 1963.
“Scott Caslick died on November 15, 1962 after falling from scaffolding.”
Mrs Blake also revealed further information, but explained that not every dam builder that died has been identified – even though it has been 52 years since the dam was completed.
“There is also another man, Ross Charnock, who was one of the three who died in the explosion in the tunnel. He died on September 21, 1965.
“Research into the names of the other two who died in the tunnel has so far not yielded any names.
“There was also a chap called George Spackman who died on his way to work at Burrendong when his truck crashed on September 15, 1949, but not actually at the dam.”
A Waternsw spokesperson confirmed that a commemorative plaque, in memory of the workers who died during construction of Burrendong Dam, was unveiled at the 50th celebrations in August 2017.
The dam builders worked under difficult and dangerous conditions to make the project a reality, ensuring the future water security of the Macquarie Valley.
PHOTOS: SUPPLIED TO DUBBO WEEKENDER BY MAURICE CAMPBELL