Four die in workplace accident at Cronulla in 1968


What was possibly Sutherland Shire's worst workplace accident occurred in 1968 when a building being constructed at Cronulla collapsed.

Four workmen died when the newly laid concrete first floor came crashing down.

Seven other workers were injured and were rushed to Sutherland Hospital.

Police, ambulance officers and bystanders worked to free the dead and injured from the rubble.

The building, which was to provide a ground level shop and dwelling above, was being built next to the ANZ Bank in Cronulla Street.

One of the men who escaped said the first floor split and "collapsed like a house of cards".

The men, who were fatally injured while working at ground level, included the owner-builder, a plumber and two plasterers.

The project engineer told a coroner's inquest later in the year props that were supporting the newly laid concrete floor were taken away after five days instead of the stipulated 10.

Two senior detective sergeants said a vibrator, which ensures new concrete is free of air bubbles, was not used at the time of the pour.

However, at the end of the inquest, City Coroner, Mr J Teece said he was not able to say what caused the collapse although many possible causes had been given.

Mr Teece said the evidence had not established any prima facie case to warrant a criminal charge against anyone or any company, and he did not propose to criticise anyone.

Just two months after the building collapse, there was another serious accident, but with far less serious consequences.

More than 20 cars were damaged when 600 feet (200 metres) of water pipe fell from the roof of Miranda Fair's underground car park.

A high topped delivery truck rammed a section of the piping and sent it crashing .

The 6 inch (15cm) diameter pipe carried Miranda Fair's main water supply.

Firemen were called to cut off the water, which flooded some cars.

Fortunately, the car owners were upstairs shopping and no injuries were reported.


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