Hawker students discover joys of engineering at ANSTO

ENGINEERING: Luke Ellis from Hawker Area School, left, tests the work of fellow students who had to build a functioning bionic leg out of basic materials.
ENGINEERING: Luke Ellis from Hawker Area School, left, tests the work of fellow students who had to build a functioning bionic leg out of basic materials.

Hawker Area School put their engineering skills to the test amid fierce competition this month.

ENGINEERING: Ebony Rose, Rebekah McKenzie, Sarah Ellis.

ENGINEERING: Ebony Rose, Rebekah McKenzie, Sarah Ellis.

The moment of reckoning came at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s Discover Engineering Day.

Challenges included designing and building a functioning bionic leg out of basic materials and building a stable tower out of paper.

The event, organised by Engineers Australia, gave about 150 students the chance to meet with some of the organisation’s inspiring young engineers.

The 11 students from Hawker joined students from 16 Sydney schools to find out more about what it’s like to be an engineer, as part of their two-day visit to the campus in Sydney.

Rod Dowler, from ANSTO’s Discovery Centre, said the Hawker students were able to see a lot of the Lucas Heights campus, and much of the ‘amazing technologies’ the centre’s scientists and researchers use every day. 

“One of the highlights was showing the students the many sites of Indigenous importance surrounding our campus, and connecting that to what we do at the organisation – the different techniques used to date historical artefacts and rock art across the country,” he said.

Mr Dowler said that the engineering challenges the students took part in were a great opportunity to make students aware of the important role of engineering in our society.

“Discover Engineering Day was a great opportunity for the visiting students to get a better understanding of what it might mean to be an engineer, as it is a field that has a great diversity of applications and could take you down any road,” he said.

The High-Flux Australian Reactor at Lucas Heights was Australia's first nuclear reactor.

It was built at the Australian Atomic Energy Commission (later ANSTO) Research Establishment.

The reactor operated between 1958 and 2007 when it was superseded by the Open-pool Australian lightwater reactor, also in Lucas Heights.

Based on a reactor in the United Kingdom, the High-Flux Australian Reactor was cooled and moderated by heavy water and the fuel was enriched uranium. There was a graphite neutron reflector surrounding the core.