500 explosive safety meetings

On Wednesday, June 5, the 500th meeting of the Thales Australia Explosives Safety Committee (ESC) was conducted, at Benalla.

The committee was established by Baron Casey, Minister for Supply & Development on October 2, 1939. Mr Casey went on to become Governor General.

Membership of the ESC Committee includes Department of Defence, Thales Australia and independent representatives, and usually meets quarterly.

“The current committee has a combined experience in excess of 350 years in the manufacturing, military, mining, development, and research and development sectors,” Corry Roberts, Vice President Land, Thales Australia told the Yarrawonga Chronicle.

“Over the last 10 years, Thales has invested $25m in new capital infrastructure towards new product capabilities for the Australian Defence Force and its allies, as well as $20m in self-funded R&D activities across the Benalla and Mulwala facilities.”

Mr Roberts said that over the last 20 years, Thales has safely:

  • produced over 12,000 tonnes of Propellant and 6,000 tonnes of High Explosives at Mulwala.
  • handled more than 380,000 tonnes of Explosive Ordnance through the EO Services Network.
  • driven explosive product over 75 million kms around Australia (that is the equivalent of over 94 return trips to the moon)
  • disposed in excess of 800,000 kg of out-of-life, obsolete or waste ADF inventory.

Committee membership has varied over the years, but under Thales it has always been nine to 10 members. Members are appointed on the basis of their knowledge and experience to maintain the membership at this level.

The total of 350-plus regarding experience of committee members would be well over 400 years when other contributions are included, including the Mulwala factory manager, the late Bill Pheasant, who served longer than anyone with his 28 years on the committee.

Other Mulwala factory personnel and their length on the committee were Neil Griffiths and Les Welsh who both served 10 years.

Current committee members at Mulwala are Warwick Spencer who has served eight years and Peter Henderson, with seven years.

Originally Published by Robert Muir in the Yarrawonga Chronicle