As a resident at the then-government hostel, Gorman House, and working in Barton in the very early 1960s, I remember the Molonglo River flooding enough to cause the closure of the old timber single-lane Commonwealth Avenue bridge and blocking the Lennox Crossing causeway.
In those days, when I worked as a PMG telephone technician in Old Parliament House, there was a glass case on the lower level which displayed a plaster relief map of flood contours in the Molonglo flood plain. It showed flood levels from 1890 with one flood going into the area of the planned suburb of Braddon. This flood map was part of the early planning for Canberra.
In 1961-1962, during the excavation for the foundations of the new Braddon Telephone Exchange in Lonsdale Street, (the old exchange was destroyed by fire in 1961), large water-smoothed boulders were recovered, indicating that the Molonglo flood plain was inundated by flood waters in the prehistoric past.
Another flood in the late 1960s caused the Captains Flat mine slag heaps to slide into the Molonglo river, causing poisonous metal contaminants to pollute the newly created Lake Burley Griffin.
This major health risk was never publicly acknowledged.
Alan Thompson, Chifley
That choking feeling
To use the time-honoured phrase, I slightly choked on my muesli last Sunday morning when I was reminded of more Liberal foolishness in The Sunday Canberra Times.
First, in regards to the Yarralumla Forestry School of which I am a proud alumni. I was reminded that the school had been sold by the Howard government and then leased back to the present occupiers, the CSIRO, with the lease presumably paid by us taxpayers.
Then I read a large puff piece on Dave Sharma, of Australia's Embassy in Jerusalem fame. In the article Mr Sharma opines that DFAT has to fight for its funding allocation. Surely, even a Liberal ex-diplomat would recognise that funding for DFAT should mirror the government's international agenda, that the department shouldn't have to fight for funding, and that well-resourced diplomacy is a good thing with a value for dollar far better than the government's recent large defence spending announcement.
Rod Holesgrove, Crace
A backwards step
The decline in climate change research ("Climate research has 'plummeted' over last decade" July 30, p4), transforming Australia from being a world leader in several aspects of climate science to being a follower - and even then in a piecemeal fashion - is deeply regrettable.
Australia is scientifically, climatically and geographically equipped to be an ideal continent-sized climate laboratory, generously endowed with sunshine, wind, and wide open spaces suitable for solar and wind farms. Furthermore, it is now widely recognised that renewable energy, with battery storage, out competes even the cheapest coal-fired energy, despite the fossil fuel industry being subsidised by $12 billion annually.
The decline in climate research has, for the past seven years, been on the watch of Coalition governments, and the Morrison government seems hell-bent on supporting the coal industry.
At least some of that $12 billion would be far better spent on climate change research. Australia could - and should - resume its place as a world leader.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Ian Warden has rightly drawn our attention to the debate around whether Vikings are an appropriate symbolic representation of the Canberra Raiders NRL team ("Lets Cheer on the Mighty Canberra Fog", July 26, p13). I concur.
On the one hand we are talking about a population of drunken, barbaric, looters and pillagers. On the other we have the technologically, militarily and culturally advanced inhabitants of southern Scandinavia from the late 8th to 11th centuries. The misrepresentation is stark to say the least.
Peter McDonald, Hughes
Well done Ian
A big thank you to Ian Warden for the well-written farewell to the Qantas "Queen of the Sky". It brought a tear to my eye, as I am sure it did many. I hope this is not a farewell to the "Golden Age" of international travel.
Michaela Campbell, Yarralumla
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