Report on Progress, 1959



In October 1957 a meeting of representatives of interested bodies was held to outline proposals to erect major controlled climate facilities at Palmerston North. This report is to provide information on progress made since that meeting.

Dr K. J. Mitchell travelled overseas from 5th November 1957 until 5th March, 1958 and made a critical study of controlled environment installations in France, Germany and Holland. He was joined in North America by Mr C. Philpot of Ministry of Works, who is responsible for engineering design and together they made a detailed examination of the Earhart Laboratory, California, and of more recent installations at Ottawa and London, Ontario. Visits were also made to other centres in the United States of America and Hawaii which are concerned with controlled Climate investigations.

Modifications to the proposal resulting from these visits were incorporated in the design and in January, 1959 Cabinet authorized the expenditure of £10,000 for use on development work and the construction of a test unit to provide information on design and costs necessary for planning the main project. This design study is now in progress.

A building will shortly be erected to contain two controlled environment chambers, which after fulfilling their role as test units of lighting, heating and instrumentation design will become part of the permanent installation. Most of the equipment for this test is now on order, and it should be in operation about the middle of 1960.

A five-acre site has been selected for the installation adjacent to Grasslands and Plant Chemistry Divisions, an d a site survey has been completed by Ministry of Works. The Ultimate layout of the buildings on the area will be decided upon within the next few weeks, and it is hoped to have complete proposals ready for submission to Government for approval during the latter half of 1960.

In recent years interest in controlled environment facilities has grown rapidly and large sums of money have been invested by overseas countries in major installations of various designs. The experience of these secured by Dr Mitchell and Mr Philpot, the successful operation of small scale facilities for some years by Dr Mitchell at Palmerston North and the current progress with design studies, encourage confidence in our ability to design and operate an effective major installation in New Zealand.

(I. L. Baumgart)
23 November, 1959.

The original of this report is held by Archives NZ, in the file P.W. 24/2520/3 part 1 Aug 1957 – Dec 1963

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