Two people on a stage, two stading in front of CSIRO banners

(L-R) Dr Megan Clark and the Hon. Chris Evans at the official opening of ASKAP.

October 2012: Pushing the right buttons

A ceremony in Western Australia saw the launching of the $160 million Australian SKA Pathfinder telescope, while in Canberra nineteen awards were presented at the annual CSIRO Awards.

  • 8 November 2012

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[Music plays]
[Title appears: CSIROnow]
Glen Paul: Welcome to CSIROnow.
[Image changes to a presenter at the UAV Outback Challenge, Kingaroy Queensland]
In early October CSIRO lent its support the Annual Outback Rescue Challenge.
[Image changes to participants around a table with a UAV on it]
Which places developers of unmanned airborne vehicles or UAVs into competition to find a missing bushwalker. As in previous years the outback is near Kingaroy Airport in Queensland.
[Image zooms in on the ‘missing bushwalker’ a dressed up mannequin]
And the missing bushwalker is a mannequin, but the unmanned airborne vehicles are very real.
[Image changes to a team preparing a UAV]
[Images changes to Dr. Jonathan Roberts, Autonomous Systems Laboratory]
Dr. Jonathan Roberts: So far over the five years we’ve run this event, nobody has won but some teams have come pretty close, and this year a team called Canberra UAV came very, very close.
[Image changes to different pictures of a UAV in flight]
They managed to launch their aircraft into the search area, it did a fantastic search. It reported the position of Outback Joe to within three metres of where he actually was, completely automatically with no human intervention. But unfortunately, their water bottle had already fallen off the aircraft, about ten minutes into the flight for some unknown mechanical reason, a failure, so they were unable to drop the water bottle near Outback Joe. But they did incredibly well. We’re hoping that in the future when we run this competition other teams will finally get the water bottle within a hundred metres and win the fifty thousand dollars.
[Image changes back to Dr. Jonathan Roberts]
[Image changes to show a UAV landing]
Glen Paul: Seventy teams entered the competition but only four teams made it through to actually launching their aircraft after all the final checks.
[Title appears: CSIROnow]
[Image changes to show the entrance of UNE, University of New England and title appears: Australian Agronomy Conference 2012, Arimdale, NSW]
Jasmine Leong: It’s been 20 years since the Australian Agronomy Conference was held in Armidale, New South Wales.
[Camera pans over the participants of the conference]
But in October, leading researchers, farm advisors and industry representatives descended on the University town to attend the 16th biannual get together.
[Image zooms in on a participant giving a presentation]
The conference showcases the latest advances in farming systems, technology and research and included more than 280 farming update presentations over four days.
[Image changes to a farm scape]
And away from the lecture halls, field visits to nearby farms offered a more practical demonstration of the issues faced by growers and the practical management solutions they employ.
[Image changes to people syphoning from a furrow]
Like this furrow irrigation technique known as syphoning.
[Image zooms in on a syphon hose with water coming out]
More than three hundred delegates took part in the conference, but one for CSIRO researcher, the conference held a special meaning.
[Image changes to Dr. James Hunt walking through fields]
Doctor James Hunt was announced as the co-recipient of the Young Agronomist of the Year Award, for his outstanding contribution to research.
[Image zooms in on Dr. James Hunt, Plant Industry]
Dr. James Hunt: It was around the area of dry land water use efficiency and particularly in Australian wheat farms, sheep and wheat farms, so looking at trade-offs and interactions with livestock, sheep and wheat yield, and their impact on soil and soil cover and erosion and that sort of thing.
[Image changes back to the Australian Agronomy Conference and its participants]
Jasmine Leong: The award was shared with New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Loretta Serafin, and seeing as the conference is held every two years, we think it’s only fair if they keep their titles until 2014
[Title appears: CSIROnow]
[Image changes to Wajarri Yamatji Woman doing a dance with the title: ASKAP Opening Ceremony, Western Australia]
Glen Paul: On October 5th a ceremony was held in the mid-west region of Western Australia, to open the largest project CSIRO has ever undertaken, the ASKAP, otherwise known as the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope.
[Image changes to Dr. Megan Clark, CSIRO Chief Executive]
Dr. Megan Clark: I acknowledge the Wajarri Yamatji people as the traditional owners of this land on which we stand and I pay my respects to Elders passed, and I pay my deep respects to the Elders who are with us today.
[Image changes to different pictures of ASKAP dishes]
Glen Paul: Located at the Murchison Radio Astronomy Observatory the 160 million dollar ASKAP is a super-fast survey telescope made up of 36 identical antennas, each 12-metres in diameter working together as a single instrument.
[Image changes to Dr. Megan Clark and the Honourable Chris Evans at the podium]
The telescope was officially opened by the Honourable Chris Evans, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, by the push of a big green button.
Dr. Megan Clark: We do want to do a countdown from ten back to zero to mark the opening of the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder project, and to set the dishes in motion. So, you ready?
[Camera pans out on the audience and then zooms back in on Dr. Megan Clark and the Honourable Chris Evans as they all countdown]
Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, zero.
[Camera zooms in on the Honourable Chris Evans pressing the green button]
[Image changes back to the ASKAP dishes]
Unknown: You should see movement.
[Camera zooms in on the ASKAP dishes starting to move]
Dr. Megan Clark: There we go.
[Audience applauses]
Glen Paul: As well as being a world leading telescope in its own right, ASKAP now paves the way for the International SKA, the Square Kilometre Array, which will be the largest and most sensitive telescope ever constructed.
[Title appears: CSIROnow]
[Camera pans over the participants of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Symposium 2012, Geelong Victoria]
Jasmine Leong: In October world renowned scientists gathered at the Emerging Infectious Diseases Symposium, to help improve our ability to protect people and animals from increasing biosecurity threats.
[Image changes to a slide with sponsors names]
The Geelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases hosted the two day symposium, which brought together the critical areas of One Health, a combined approach to animal, human and environmental health.
[Image changes to Dr. Andrew Bean, Animal, Food and Health Sciences
Dr. Andrew Bean: This meeting is really about bringing people together, it’s about trying to develop collaborations.
One of the really important things we can do is all get together to try and fight these types of diseases and when we come together we can really work hard to solve the problems that are associated with these things. So, a meeting like this updates people on work people are doing right now.
[Image changes back to Dr. Andrew Bean]
But it also gives them an opportunity to listen to each other and work out what can we do, how can we work together to really try and solve this?
[Image pans over the participants again]
Jasmine Leong: The conference provided an opportunity to share research into new diagnostic tools. Drivers for emergence of disease and innovative control strategies, that will not only allow scientists to respond to disease outbreaks more effectively, but explore ways to predict where and when the next pandemic might strike.
[Title appears: CSIROnow]
[Camera pans over ceremony attendees conversing outside the front of the National Gallery. Title appears: CSIRO Awards, National Gallery, ACT]
Glen Paul: On October the 3rd, the Annual CSIRO Awards Ceremony was held at the National Gallery in Canberra. An important day on the CSIRO calendar, the event brings people together to celebrate some of the Organisations most outstanding achievements.
[Camera pans over ceremony attendees seated at tables]
There were 19 awards over a number of different categories presented during the course of the ceremony, recognising and celebrating the achievements of CSIRO staff that are exemplary of the Organisations scientific impact, purpose, beliefs, values and strategic direction.
[Camera zooms in on attendees receiving awards]
The most coveted of the awards is the Chairman’s Medal which honours CSIROs most outstanding scientific achievement and is awarded to the scientist or team whose research is of national or international importance in advancing scientific knowledge, technology application or commercialisation. The Ngara Backhaul Project Team was awarded the CSIROs Chairman’s Medal, being recognised for outstanding achievement in developing the world’s fastest ten gigabyte per second microwave link.
[Camera zooms in on the Ngara Backhaul Project Team receiving their award]
[Title appears: CSIROnow]
[Image changes title appears: AAHL open day, Geelong, Victoria]
Jasmine Leong: The general public were allowed a rare opportunity in October to go behind the scenes of the world’s most bio secure containment laboratory, CSIROs Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong, Victoria. AAHL, as its otherwise known is a frontline defence, helping to protect Australia from the threat of exotic and emerging animal and human diseases.
[Camera pans over the visitors]
The 90-minute tour gave visitors a taste of what it’s like working in a bio secure area, with various demonstrations, such as operating an air-lock door.
[Image changes to show presenters giving a demonstration]
[Audience laughter]
[Image changes to show presenters giving a different demonstration]
Many were also keen to try out the wearing of a bio secure laboratory suit.
The restricted bio secure areas weren’t part of the tour, but visitors were able to access some of the lower level working laboratories and other vital areas of operation, such as the control room and air-handling systems.
[Image changes to show visitors walking through different areas of AAHL]
[Image zooms in on different visitor]
How was that?
Visitor: Fantastic.
Visitor: No, it was really, really good.
Visitor: I enjoyed the visit very much, it was a good presentation and I was quite impressed by the security arrangements.
Jasmine Leong: And that’s CSIROnow. For more information on these stories or to follow us on other social media, go to
[Title appears: CSIROnow along with the CSIRO website address]