Year

1986

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Hons.)

Department

Department of Science and Technology Studies

Abstract

Technology permeates and is an integral part of the whole social, economic, cultural and political fabric of society. The state of the technology which exists at a particular point in time is, amongst other things, the product of many individual decisions and preferences by governments, industry, individuals and the community. Whilst some technology involves substantially new developments, much of it is evolutionary and occurs largely out of sight. The same is true of the process of Technology Transfer which at its most fundamental level involves the movement of knowledge across boundaries. The processes and methods of technology transfer vary according to the type and nature of the technology to be transferred. During any transfer process however a number of factors may be involved either dependently or independently, these include people, organisation structure and culture, and the economic and political environments. The Snowy Mountains Scheme, a dual purpose hydro-electric and irrigation complex, widely regarded as being one of Australia's greatest engineering achievements, provides an example of the transfer of technology from one country to another. The Scheme as it was finally constructed was first suggested in 1926 though no firm action was taken until 19^8 when a joint committee comprising representatives of the Commonwealth, New South Wales and Victorian Governments confirmed the viability of a dual purpose scheme. The Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority was created by an Act of Federal Parliament in 1949 and was charged with the responsibility of constructing the Scheme. It is argued that neither the technology nor the resources necessary for the planning and construction of the Schenne were available in Australia at that tinne, and that without the assistance of the United States Bureau of Reclannation (U.S.B.R.) the commencennent of the Scheme and its subsequent development would have been significantly delayed. It is further argued that this assistance was a form of technology transfer with the U.S.B.R, transferring to the Snowy Mountains Authority (SMA) and thus to Australia, technology in the form of hydro-electric and irrigation concepts, designs and work practices. An examination of how and why this transfer took place provides insights into aspects of the technology transfer processes particularly within Government and Statutory Bodies.

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