On Monday 6 April 1981, the wave tank at Monash University was officially opened. The ceremony itself was performed by the Federal Minister for Science and Technology, the Hon. David Thomson MC, MP and the State Minister for Public Works, the Hon. Alan Wood MP.
The wave tank was built for the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at a total cost of $120,000. Funding for the build came internally, from the University as well as from external sources, including the Collier Charitable Fund, which contributed $6000.
The tank itself measured 50 metres in length, 2.2 metres wide and 4 metres deep with an adjustable floor. Jon Hinwood was actively involved in the development of the wave tank and used it to facilitate research into industry related problems, such as off-shore structures and fluid mechanics.
In 1984 Monash was involved in the Bass 84 project – the largest collective exercise in physical oceanography ever undertaken in Australia at the time. Bass 84 also involved collaboration with CSIRO and the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology. Monash was involved in testing wind, wave and tide conditions in the Bass Strait on the Woodside Petroleum North Rankin A oil rig. As well as conducting tests using ‘Scylla’, Monash University’s floating instrument platform, Jon Hinwood and his team were also given a model of the rig to run tests on in the wave tank.
The wave tank testing facilities at Monash University are world class. The facilities have been upgraded and the tank is now 80 metres long, which means it can successfully simulate the actions of any large body of water. Like many of Monash’s research facilities, the wave tank is used for both commercial and research testing.