Page 4091 - Week 11 - Thursday, 21 September 2017

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East Block is an even more pleasant memory for me. As Canberrans will remember, it was the GPO but also Canberra’s central telephone exchange and the trunk exchange. Both mum and dad worked at East Block. Mum was a telephonist and dad was the leading technician or supertech. I can remember vividly joining my father on his shifts in the exchange and would often sleep overnight on the camp bed there. I loved the industrial feel of the place but also seeing the pride on dad’s face at the completion of each of his tasks, knowing that he helped people to connect with their family and friends.

Dad told me of the early days, when Canberra was very young, and his important work. Even getting to work was a challenge. New roads were being built and it was exciting to see so many new immigrants coming to live in the capital. I still have a photo of dad on his BSA Bantam. He would dink mum to work from Reid on the bike each day, out of Gooreen Street, down Elimatta onto Currong and Anzac Parade. Where Rond Pond is now was the track down onto Scotts Crossing and after Scotts it was through the sheep paddocks past Parliament House to East Block. It is hard for us to imagine this now, of course, but certainly it was adventurous at the time.

My fondest memory of East Block, though, was in 1969, when dad was tasked with ensuring the connection from Honeysuckle Creek to Goddard Space, through Deakin. I was given the day off school to attend the MDF desk with dad as we watched the first man walk on the moon. At 12.56 pm on 21 July 1969, 600 million people watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. Dad later was presented with the Apollo achievement award and I proudly wear his Apollo pin each year as we commemorate the achievement.

I table log 13 and log 15 from Honeysuckle, showing the touchdown and the walk, for members’ interest. I present the following papers:

Apollo 11 mission—Honeysuckle Creek DSIF log sheets, dated—

20 July 1969.

21 July 1969.

Members will also be aware that Honeysuckle picked up the first signal of transmission to the moon, well before Parkes was in range. Honeysuckle log shifts 13 and 15, as I said, show the touchdown and the detail of that and the walk on the moon as well. I want to thank John Saxon and the whole Honeysuckle team and Glen Nagle from Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Station for their continuing efforts to remind us of the importance of Canberra’s history in this mission.

Ms Lawder made a comment earlier that this is not a motion for Canberrans; it is one that is a federal matter. I think if you were to ask the hundreds of Canberrans that helped to complete this moon mission, and of course the thousands more that understand the value of that heritage, they would have a different view. I understand the importance of maintaining the history of this precinct as these buildings are restored and redeveloped, which is why we will engage with our federal government

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