Wonders Never Cease
100 Australian Engineering Achievements
Engineers Australia is celebrating its centenary year in 2019. To mark this occasion, Engineering Heritage Australia has produced a book of 100 significant Australian engineering achievements, from the Stump Jump Plough, to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, to the Snowy Mountains Scheme. A celebration of our rich engineering heritage, these stories will appeal to engineers and non-engineers alike, and are accompanied by an array of remarkable images. Engineers have taken often visionary ideas and turned them into practical realities, and the pages of this book highlight the combination of toil and genius which have shaped the Australia we live in today.
Don’t miss your chance to secure part of Australia’s engineering history.
Members: $49.95 + freight
Non-members: $59.95 + freight
Excerpts from the book
Cochlear Hearing Implant
Using a beach shell for inspiration, Professor Graeme Clark led a worldwide race to develop a bionic ear and bring sound to the profoundly deaf
A breathtaking solution decades in its development, the Cochlear implant gives the severely or profoundly deaf a degree of hearing. It is important to note that complete, clear hearing is not the outcome; rather, the implant bypasses the defective elements in the ear and stimulates the auditory nerve to send messages to the brain. It is especially relevant to profoundly deaf, for whom hearing aids typically cannot overcome a hearing system that is defective, damaged or absent.
Hearing aids amplify sounds, particularly in the lower or higher frequency ranges, where a hard-of-hearing patient may need assistance, but the ear must be capable of transmitting those sounds to the brain. This is where the brilliance of the Cochlear solution, a surgical procedure which has provided the gift of hearing to more than 180,000 people worldwide, was – and is – so evolutionary.
To understand its impact, it’s essential to understand how hearing ‘works’. Sounds waves enter the ear and travel along the ear canal to the ear drum, the movement of which makes tiny bones in the middle ear vibrate. These vibrations are transmitted to a fluid-filled part of the inner ear, known as the cochlear.
Bringing a Country Together:
Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme
No Australian engineering project has been so ambitiously grand in scale yet superbly executed as the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme of the mid-20th century.
Has there been a more lasting, impactful engineering project in Australian history than that of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme? The answer will belong to the responder’s perspective, but there is no argument this was by far the largest engineering project ever undertaken in this country, and indeed one of the most complex hydro-electric schemes ever attempted in the world.
Put simply, the Scheme is designed to collect water from melting now and rain in the Snowy Mountains of NSW. It stores that water and diverts it via long tunnels through the Great Dividing Range, generating electricity in multiple power stations and – using the inland Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers – delivers water to Adelaide and the important irrigation areas in NSW, Victoria and South Australia.
Boom Time for Travel: Scramjet
The evolution of scramjet technology is unfolding in outback Australia as engineers seek to seemingly conquer physics.
Next stop? London in two hours.
If the idea of flying from Sydney to London is two hours seems fanciful, it is worth considering the development of aircraft – with particular reference to speed – since Orville & Wilbur Wright’s Wright Flyer 1 took to the air at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on 17 December 1903. The Wright brothers’ longest flight that historic day covered 260m and took 59 seconds.
It’s average speed? 16 kmh.