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Dog sledge: CSIRO's barking mad fuel solution

Date

Ian Warden

Failed experiment: in the 1970s, when this photo was maybe taken. CSIRO's answer to an efficiency dividend was a dog of an idea.

Failed experiment: in the 1970s, when this photo was maybe taken. CSIRO's answer to an efficiency dividend was a dog of an idea. Photo: CSIRO

The RSPCA will not be amused, at first, but three very dingoesque dogs appear to be harnessed to a CSIRO vehicle, pulling it along a track at a CSIRO establishment at Gungahlin, in this 1970s-ish picture unearthed by Cris Kennedy, director of the organisation's Discovery Centre.

It is from the internal staff newspaper CoResearch (1950s to 2006) which liked to publish witty things. The photo's caption says ''Staff - and animals - at the Division of Wildlife Research in Canberra are looking for ways to help reduce operating costs during the current financial squeeze.''

The CSIRO in Canberra is feeling very history conscious now, what with the centenary looming and with a need to harvest everything to do with the organisation's long, long association with this city. Today and tomorrow the CSIRO is holding Memory Collection Days at the Discovery Centre on Clunies-Ross Street, Acton, between 11am and 3pm. You're invited to take along any realia and memories relating to the CSIRO's important presence in Canberra. Staff will be scanning photos, making notes about them and recording oral history.

Last Tuesday's column used a fine picture of two women of the wartime Land Army in an experimental field of CSIRO opium poppies out where the suburb of Downer stands. One of the many readers who wrote to correct me for calling their tools ''mattocks'' when they were a kind of hoe went on to reminisce that mattocks and pickaxes were once upon a time called ''death adders'' or ''black snakes'' because of the reluctance of lazy workers to pick them up.

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