by John Robertson
I spent the day with the Ventel team and Mother Duck showing them how to use it in their context doing what she will do in the future.
“Mother Duck’s new life has begun. She is now owned by the Ventel company which lays and maintains communications cables – largely for Telstra. Many things remain the same – she still carries the Mother Duck name – with a rego plate DUCK01 to come shortly shortly. She is in very good shape, looks great and works as well as ever. She now does quite different things and does them below rather than above ground. The job today was to open up 1.4 km of underground conduit which carries phone cables and is to have fibre optic cable added. A Telstra crew had attempted the job and put it in the ‘too hard basket’.
One might suppose that when the conduits had been built with nice access manholes every 200 metres all would be right for evermore. Not so. There are innumerable other bodies putting things underground close by. Today we encountered high pressure gas, electric power cables, water mains and fire hydrants all close alongside the Telstra conduits. For example one of the fire hydrants had been so placed that it had broken the wall of one of the Telstra manholes. It had been like that for ages and the conduit was totally blocked in both directions with sand that had fallen in. However, using what is now the underground jetting function on Mother Duck we were able to clear it all and get access. By happy coincidence the full tank of water ran empty just as the last metre was cleared.
That was just the first day. A lot was learned about how to best use Mother Duck in her new role even in that short time. A lot more will be learned in future. The Ventel mob are a top team and the ideal people to have Mother Duck. Paul said that “Mother Duck is the best investment Ventel has ever made”.