Poet Progressing to Prose

Daily Archive: November 14, 2016

Indestructible Fibres: Asbestos Endures

Fibres such as these have been shedding into the atmosphere for aeons.  These fibres have been floating in the air since the year dot, it is estimated that for every million people, one will contract mesothelioma without ever being in direct contact with asbestos materials.

The Whens of Wittenoom 


Somehow the information I collated during the construction of the chronology has now been distorted, conflated or exaggerated. Anyone sufficiently keen to explore the content can use Coupon JG29X for a free copy from Smashwords. (Limit of 25 free copies) 

(My many thanks to Allen Kelly for doing the legwork in the library on my behalf in locating and copying the cited articles. Armed with a list of several hundred, these were either immediately accessible or fitted within his time frame and my budget. Thus the Bibliography can be regarded as a semi-random sample of the literature available.)

My personal view: The Reason This Document was Created 

If people want to place themselves in any form of danger, that is their right – as long as they are aware of the danger at a time when they are able to make such a choice.

For instance, tourists and travellers often look to camp for the night about late afternoon. Few really want to deal with kangaroos at dusk or night-time if it can be avoided. At the time of compiling the above, no warning was available until arriving on the very outskirts of the town. The choice was camp for at least one night or move along forty kilometres of gravel road at night.

The ABC came to town to tape a show for the WA “Today Tonight.” A car load of young European backpackers had booked into the caravan park where I was caretaking (and getting to grips with the above.) The lads heard the discussion during their evening meal at the café and later came to me for my side. One of them had been to Wittenoom before and had recommended it to his friends. He and one other asked me what all the fuss was about. One listened as I explained and the other watched my every movement. I told them that were my children to be visiting their country and about to enter an area of potential danger known to locals, I would hope that their mothers would inform them of the risk, advise them of their freedom to choose and wish them well whatever their choice. They drove into the night.

Spent Christmas Day being warned off with scarcely veiled threats of dirt in my fuel tank; accounts that 25% of the population (including my informant) already had cancer, so what the heck – though he himself had cured himself with meditation or marijuana? Also, many chose to live in Wittenoom attracted by the fact there was no police presence in town.

I left.


The information contained within was drawn from:



1953 Australian Blue Asbestos

Report of Operations at Wittenoom Gorge, WA

1978 The Health Hazard at Wittenoom

Public Health Department

1979 Exposure to Crocidolite in Wittenoom

Public Health Department

1984 Report on the Health Hazards of Asbestos

National Health and Medical Research Council 1985 Wittenoom Environmental Engineering Study

Geraldton Building Co Pty Ltd

1986 Wittenoom Airborne Asbestos Study Department of Conservation and Environment

1990 Asbestos Cement Products

The Western Australian Advisory Committee on Hazardous


1992 Inquiry into Asbestos Issues at Wittenoom

Nevill & Rogers Report

1993 Australian Mesothelioma Register Report

The incidence of mesothelioma in Australia 1989 to 1991 1994 Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Constitutional

Affairs and Statutes Revision in relation to a

Petition concerning the town of Wittenoom

1994 CMPS & F – Wittenoom Rehabilitation Study and Risk Assessment

Building Management Authority

1994 Report of the Select Committee appointed to Enquire into Wittenoom.

(Transcripts given in evidence to the above

Parliamentary Library, Parliament House, Perth)

(back to top)


AN 120/4, 1003, 14/58 Public Health Department 473/64

AN 21, 21/62 Minister for North West



AN 350, 964, 413/43 Department of Mines





789/45 Gaps in list below indicate files not seen as it seems the Department of Minerals and Energy called in four of the files on the “hit list” just hours before my being due to view them in the Archives Not tending to paranoia, I took it as a sign that it was time to go home.









1962 Medical Journal of Australia 2, 953-4

Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma in an Asbestos Worker

J McNulty

1969 British Journal of Industrial Medicine 26, 294-301

A study of the mortality of workers in an asbestos factory ML Newhouse

1969 British Journal of Industrial Medicine 26, 302-7 Validation of death certificates in asbestos workers

ML Newhouse, JC Wagner

1970 Cancer, 26, 914-9

Epidemiology of primary malignant mesothelial tumours in Canada

AD McDonald, A Harper, OA El Attar, JC McDonald

1971 British Journal of Industrial Medicine 28, 59-66 Epidemiology of mesothelioma on Walcheren Island

J Stumphuis

1972 British Journal of Industrial Medicine 29, 134-141 A study of the mortality of female asbestos workers ML Newhouse, G Berry, JC Wagner, ME Turok

1973 South African Medical Journal 47, 165-171

Asbestos and malignancy

I Webster

1973 Cancer, 31, 869-876

Primary malignant mesothelial tumours in Canada 1960-1968

AD McDonald, D Magner, G Eyssen

1973 British Journal of Cancer, 28, 173-185

Mesothelioma in rats after inoculation with asbestos and other materials

JC Wagner, G Berry, V Timbrell

1973 Canadian Medical Association Journal, 109, 359-362 Epidemiologic surveillance of mesothelioma in Canada

1974 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 31, 91-104 Mesothelioma Register 1967-1968

M Greenberg, TA Lloyd Davies

1974 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 31, 105-112 Mortality and morbidity among the working population of anthophyllite asbestos miners in Finland

LO Meurman, R Kiviluoto, R Hakama

1976 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 33, 115-122

32 cases of mesothelioma in Victoria, Australia :

a retrospective survey related to occupational asbestos exposure.

JEH Milne

1976 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 33, 147-151 Prediction of mortality from mesothelioma tumours in asbestos factory workers

ML Newhouse, G Berry

1976 Cancer Research, 36, 2973-2979

Fundamental carcinogenic process and their implications for low dose risk assessment

KS Crump, DG Hoel, CH Langley, R Peto

1977 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 34, 169-173

A mortality study among workers in an English asbestos factory

J Peto, R Doll, SV Howard, LJ Kinlen, HC Lewinson

1977 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 34, 174-180 Insulation workers in Belfast. A further study of mortality due to asbestos exposure (1940-75)

PC Elmes, MJC Simpson

1977 The Lancet, December, 1211-1212



1978 South Africal Medical Journal, 279-281

Mesothelioma in relation to asbestos fibre exposure

E Cochrane, I Webster

1979 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 36, 187-194 Mortality of chrysotile workers at the Balangero Mine, Northern Itlay.

GF Rubino, G Piolatto, ML Newhouse, G Scansetti,

GA Aresini, R Murray

1981 International Journal of Health Services, 11, 227-245

The social context of occupational disease : Asbestos and South Africa

J Myers

1980 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 37, 11-24

Dust exposure and mortality in chrysotile mining, 1910-75 JC McDonald, FDK Liddell, GW Gibbs, E Eyssen, AD McDonald

1980 Cancer, 46, 1650-1656

Malignant mesothelioma in North America

AD McDonald, JC McDonald

1980 Cancer Research, 40, 3875-3879

Mesothelioma associated with the shipbuilding industry in coastal Virginia.

I Tagnon, WJ Blot, RB Stroube, NE Day, LE Morris,

BB Pearce, JF Fraumeni Jr.

1981 JNCI, 67, 965-975

Relation of particle dimension to carcinogenicity in amphibole and other fibrous minerals.

MF Stanton, M Layard, A Tegarie, E Miller, M May,

E Morgan, A Smith

1982 Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 26, 347-369

Deposition and retention of fibres in the human lung.

V Timbrell

1982 Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 26, 869-887

Estimates of dose-response for respiratory cancer among chrysotile asbestos textile workers.

JM Dement, RL Harris, MJ Symons, C Shy

1982 Cancer, 45, 124-135

Mesothelioma mortality in asbestos workers : Implications for models of carcinogenesis and risk assessment

J Peto, H Seidman, IJ Selikoff

1982 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 39, 369-374

Dust exposure and mortality in an American factory using chrysotile, amosite and crocidolite in mainly textile manufacture.

AD McDonald, JS Fry, AJ Woolley, JC McDonald

1982 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 39, 344-348 Mortality of two groups of women who manufactured gas masks from chrysotile and crocidolite asbestos: a

40 year follow-up.

ED Acheson, MJ Gardner, EC Pippard, LP Grime

1982 Australian New Zealand Journal of Medicine, 12, 229-232 Convential treatment and its effect on survival of malignant pleural mesothelioma in Western Australia

AW Musk, SD Woodward

1983 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 40, 1-7 Mortality of workers manufacturing friction materials using asbestos

G Berry, ML Newhouse

1983 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 40, 145-152 Asbestos-related mesothelioma: factors discriminating between pleural and peritoneal sites.

K Browne, WJ Smither

1983 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 40, 361-367 Dust exposure and mortality in an American chrysotile textile plant.

AD McDonald, JS Fry, AJ Woolley, J McDonald

1983 The Lancet, July, 112-113

Trends in mortality of diffuse malignant mesothelioma of pleura

VE Archer, WN Rom

1983 American Journal of Public Health, 73, 1054-1062 Sentinel health events (occupational): A basis for physician recognition and public health surveillance DD Rutstein, RJ Mullan, TM Frazier, WE Halperin,

JM Melius, JP Sestito

1984 American Review REspiratory Diseases, 130, 1042-1045 Lung asbestos content in chrysotile workers with mesothelioma.

A Churg, B Wiggs, L Depoli, B Kampe, B Stevens

1984 Medical Journal of Australia, 141, 86-88

Epidemiology of malignant mesothelioma in Western Australia

1984 Canadian Medical Association Journal, 131, 1069-1071

Recent trends in incidence rates of pleural mesothelioma in British Columbia

HI Morrison, PR Band, R Gallagher, J Spinelli, DT Wigle 1985 Britsh Journal of Cancer, 51, 121-126

Mesothelioma of the peritoneum during 1967-82 in England and Wales

MJ Gardner, RD Jones, EC Pippard, N Saitoh

1985 British Journal of Cancer, 51, 699-705

Trend and distribution of mesothelioma in Denmark

M Andersson, JH Olsen

1985 Medical Journal of Australia, 143, 185-187

Trends in mortality from malignant mesothelioma of the pleura, and production and use of asbestos in Australia Zhong Xu, BK Armstrong, BJ Blundson, JM Rogers, AW Musk, KB Shilkin

1985 Cancer, 55, 672-674

Malignant mesothelioma in British Columbia in 1982

A Churg

1986 Cancer, 57, 1905-1911

Mesothelioma and Mineral Fibres

Charles S Mott Prize

JC Wagner

1986 American Journal of Epidemiology, 123, 30-40

Excess mortality from stomach cancer, lung cancer and asbestosis and/or mesothelioma in crocidolite mining districts in South Africa

JL Botha, LM Irwig, PM Strebel

1986 American Review Respiratory Diseases, 133, 5-13

Asbestos exposure – quantitative assessment of risk

JM Hughes, H Weill

1987 JNCI, 79, 31-37

Geographic patterns for pleural mesothelioma deaths in the United States 1968-81

PE Enterline, VL Henderson

1987 International Journal of Health Services, 17, 651-666 Asbestos and asbestos related disease: the South African case

JE Myers, J Aron, IA Macum

1987 Medical Journal of Australia, 147, 166-172

The Australian mesothelioma surveillance program 1979-85 DA Ferguson, G Berry, T Jelihovsky, SB Andreas, AJ Rogers S Chung Fung, A Grimwood, R Thompson

1989 Medical Journal of Australia, 150, 242-246

The incidence of malignant mesothelioma in Australia 1947-1980

1989 Medical Journal of Australia, 151, 616-620

Predictions of future cases of asbestos-related disease among former miners and millers of crocidolite in Western Australia.

NH de Klerk, BK Armstrong, AW Musk, MST Hobbs

1990 Science, 247, 294-301

Asbestos: scientific developments and implications for public policy

BT Mossman, J Bignon, M Corn, A Seaton, JBL Gee

1990 Medical Journal of Australia, 152, 617-618

Low level asbestos – the priorities are wrong

D Ferguson

1991 The Lancet, 338, 50 (letter)

Mesothelioma and non-occupational environmental exposure to asbestos

C Magnani, G Borgo, GP Betta, M Botta, C Ivalvi, F Mollo, M Scelzi, B terracini

1993 International Journal of Cancer, 54, 578-581

Malignant mesothelioma after environmental exposure to blue asbestos

J Hansen, NH de Klerk, JL Eccles, AW Musk, MST Hobbs


(My many thanks to Allen Kelly for doing the legwork in the library on my behalf in locating and copying the above articles. Armed with a list of several hundred, the above were either immediately accessible or fitted within his time frame and my budget. Thus it can be regarded as a semi-random sample of the literature available.)



1948 Minerals of Western Australia (Three Volumes)

Mines Department

1978 Asbestos – Work as a Health Hazard

M Peacock, ABC Science Unit

ABC with Hodder and Stoughton 1979 2000 Cancer Causing Agents

R Winter

Crown Publishers, New York

1986 Asbestos – Its Human Cost Jock McCulloch

University of Queensland Press, St Lucia 1987 Asbestos-Related Malignancy

Edited by K Antman, J Aisner

Grune & Stratton, Inc. Orlando, Florida, USA 1988 The Genetic Jigsaw

R McKie

Oxford University Press

1988 Silent Killers

K Gay


1991 Managing Occupational Health and Safety in Australia

M Quinlan, P Bohle


1994 Malignant Mesothelioma

  1. DW Henderson, KB Shilkin, D Whitaker, SLP Langlois Hemisphere, New York.

(With great appreciation to Lenore Layman. Her very thorough research enabled me to access documents within the State Archives with great rapidity.)

The Encyclopedia Britannica for details relating to pneumoconiosis.



Copy of tenement records for West Pilara Goldfield.

Note : due to the late finding of a page missing from the batch of microfiche copied, it is possible that the acreages are not as accurate as I would prefer. I am missing information relating to ten applications. These may have been made by persons other than either ABA or Hancock; or by ABA alone; Hancock alone; or between the two or with others. All up the maximum total acreage affected would be 3000 down to less than 300. As this does not affect the Chronology in a substantial manner – and I have a distance to travel to correct it, I will have to let it stand.

Title searches Department of Minerals and Energy and the Department of Lands Administration.

Australian Bureau of Statistics Year Books

Iron Ore (Wittenoom) Agreement 1972

Iron Ore (Wittenoom) Agreement Amendment Act 1992

Shire of Ashburton Council Minutes 1990 – 1994

Supreme Court of Western Australia

View of all 1993 and 1994 Writs and related documents.