60 years of ANSTO in photos


Lucas Heights has seen major change over the last several decades since an industrial committee composed of scientific and Government representatives evolved to become the Australian Atomic Energy Commission (AAEC) in 1953, leading to the redevelopment of land 40 minutes south of Sydney into one of Australia's leading research centres.

Development was rapid with a number of research buildings constructed and culminating in the completion of Australia's first nuclear reactor HIFAR that operated for over 50 years. 

Renowned Australian modernist photographer, Max Dupain, captured a series of intimate photos of life at Lucas Heights during the 1960s, which have been brought back to life in the image gallery. The gallery below gives some sense of the evolution of ANSTO in the early decades of its existence.


Digging the foundations for the HIFAR research reactor, circa 1956 The steel structure of the HIFAR research reactor, circa 1957 Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies officially opened HIFAR on 18th April 1958 The Lucas Heights campus in 1958, the year HIFAR was officially opened
HIFAR, Australia’s first multi-purpose research reactor operated between 1958 and 2007, circa 1960, by Max Dupain ANSTO’s 1.3 MV Van de Graaff electron accelerator, circa 1960, by Max Dupain ANSTO’s original Site Control Centre operated by the Commonwealth Police ANSTO’s HIFAR reactor hot cells, circa 1960, by Max Dupain