Time capsule to be reused for Millicent’s 150 celebrations

RETIRED KCA engineer, Richard Nobbs with the time capsule he designed 25 years ago. Pictured right is Janice Nitschke who, as Millicent's long running librarian, oversaw the filling of the capsule for Millicent's 125th celebrations and is doing so again for the 150th.

TWENTY five years after he designed it, Richard Nobbs will soon be helping to reveal the contents of a time capsule and then refilling it with a new trove of history as part of Millicent’s 150th celebrations.

Now retired, Mr Nobbs was an engineer at the since dismantled Kimberly-Clark Australia (KCA) Tantanoola pulp mill when a time capsule was constructed for Millicent’s 125th celebrations.

Built from high standard stainless steel left over from the construction of the pulp mill, the time capsule was designed by Mr Nobbs with other work undertaken by Prince Engineering boiler maker Peter Mackie and KCA boiler maker Craig Robinson.

Mr Nobbs said an inert gas, argon, was used to fill the capsule to ensure all oxygen was removed.

“Oxygen, weevils and moisture are the biggest threats to documents,” he said.

“So we pushed the oxygen out by filling the capsule with argon which in turn ensured no weevils would survive, and we put a basket of desiccant in the bottom to absorb any moisture that might come from the documents.

“It was a bit of challenge as I’d never designed a time capsule before but it was great to achieve this; something different.”

The time capsule will be opened at a special ceremony on Saturday, November 20 at 3.30pm at Millicent’s rotunda. Both Mr Nobbs and Mr Robinson will return for the event to help with the opening of the capsule they created. It is also hoped some of the people who put items into the capsule 25 years ago will be in attendance to retrieve and read out what they submitted.

There is believed to be about 80 items in the capsule ranging from articles from the then South Eastern Times, which has since been incorporated into The Border Watch newspaper, to stories from primary school children who would now be adults.

Wattle Range Council’s Manager Libraries and Cultural Services, Janice Nitschke said the time capsule spent many years in the foyer at the Millicent library but in recent times has been in storage and is being readied for its change-over.

Having worked at Millicent’s library for 50 years Ms Nitschke oversaw the 125th time capsule filling process and is doing the same for Millicent’s 150th.

“We have been collecting stories from a wide range of sources to put into the capsule after it is opened,” she said encouraging people to come forward with further stories and memorabilia to put in.

“Children from the primary schools have been doing stories on what Millicent means to them and they will be put in the capsule, along with history pieces, and transcribed interviews conducted with some of the residents of Boneham Aged Care.

“We will be digitising the stories and allowing people to view them through a QR (Quick Response) code and it is expected that the capsule will be reopened for Millicent 175th celebrations in 2045.

“It is anticipated that we will publish a book in the New Year.”