Deaths of dam builders re­mem­bered

Dubbo Photo News - - Weekender - By NATALIE HOLMES

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.


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