It's demolition day. Stay with us for live coverage of the Port Kembla Stack demolition. Don't forget to refresh your browser for the latest updates.
Stay with us for the Port Kembla Stack demolition aftermath.
Don't forget to tweet your pics using #stackdemo. All tweets can be seen here (scroll down the page).
4.30PM: Don't forget to pick up the Mercury tomorrow. We're working on an eight-page wrap of the stack demolition. Lots of great pics in there!
4PM: This from the post-demolition media briefing Mercury reporter Dominic Geiger attended:
Port Kembla Copper general manager Ian Wilson said initial testing of the dust from the demolition had confirmed no asbestos fibres were present.
‘‘Our experts have concluded any short term exposure to the dust does not pose any form of a health risk,’’ he said.
3.45PM: Some extraordinary shots taken of the stack by our readers. Check them out here.
3.25PM: The all clear has been given. This from Mercury reporter Ben Langford.
2.45PM: Another one from Nick Triantafillou @xelfer.
2.30PM: Thanks to Nick Triantafillou @xelfer for this video of the stack demolition.
2.10PM: The Transport Management Centre said all roads around Port Kembla have reopened.
Local buses are no longer being diverted and there are no delays to drivers in the area.
1.54PM: Text message from PKC: "The Port Kembla Copper exclusion zone is still in place. We will advise when it is safe to return. Apologies for the delay and thank you for your patience - PKC''
1.45PM: Mercury photographer Adam McLean watched the stack demolition from the roof s of the Port Kembla Leagues Club. Here's his video of the stack demolition.
1.40PM: Don't forget to check out these beautiful black and white pics. Many were taken during the stack's construction.
1.25PM: News just in - Wollongong's reaction to the stack demolition has made it to BuzzFeed.
12.40PM: Would you like one of the Mercury's Fall of an Icon t-shirts? Email email@example.com with your name, size and contact number. Cost: $25.
12.35PM: We're busy compiling a gallery of #stackdemo pics. Stay tuned.
12.14PM: Great shots from Merc photographer Sylvia Liber.
12.05PM: Mercury reporter Glen Humphries says: ''Port Kembla wasn't the only stack on display today.''
11.58am: Stack Fail. Gemma Khaicy reports: We didn't hear the siren from here. Nathan Vaughan and Roger King were disappointed and angry. They didn't catch it on their phone.
Nathan said: "That's bullshit. I'd want them to rebuild it and give us a warning."
11.53am: Raw vision from YouTube
11.47am: We're starting to pull our photographers pics together for a gallery. Stay tuned, some fab shots.
11.45am: This from Natalie Kirk.
11.42am: Mercury photographer Adam McLean captures the stack falling.
Just watched the Port Kembla Stack being demolished... Did anyone else see it? pic.twitter.com/22JRuLYUMd— Shellharbour Connect (@ShellConnect) February 20, 2014
11.32am: Great shot from Mercury photographer Kirk Gilmour.
11.21am: Final words...
A final note, I’ll miss you all. Special thanks to Port Ke…oh god, oh god— ThePortKemblaStack (@PortStack) February 20, 2014
11.20am: Photographer pics still being filed. These from reporter Gemma Khaicy. WOW!
11.15am: Boom. The Port Kembla Stack has fallen.
11.12am: Sirens are being heard.....things are happening.
Sirens are sounding and Port Kembla stack is about to fall #stackdemo— Bevan Shields (@bevanshields85) February 20, 2014
11.04am: Reporter Gemma Khaicy's vantage point is from the top of a fire engine.
11.02am: Pic from reporter Joshua Butler.
11am: Ian Wilson from PKC has just told the Mercury it will be within 15 minutes.
Feel like starting a crowd chant, "Blow the stack! Blow the stack!" #stackdemo— Sarah (@DarthGalvin) February 20, 2014
10.51am: It's late. Stay with us. It can't be too much longer....
Did anyone inform the demolition team it was happening today? #stackdemo— Ben Floro (@benfloro) February 19, 2014
10.47am: Last we heard from PKC the demo will still be before 10.50am......
10.44am: The stack has taken its last selfie.
10.42am: Best seat in the house?
10.40am: Stay with us. It shouldn't be long now...
10.39am: Gemma Khaicy tells us: Mask on. Paul O'Connell has come all the way from Narwee in Sydney to watch the Big Bang. He's got a mask on, 'to stop the possibility of getting asbestosis'.
Paul said: 'I used to do a lot of ocean racing on my boat, the Katinka. The flame coming out the top of it was a good landmark before the advent of the GPS.'
10.37am: We're hearing five minutes. Get excited!!! Make sure you hit the play button on the live stream.
10.35am: Fire truck or viewing platform?
10.34am: #stackdemo is trending in Wollongong.
#Stackdemo livestream is working - yay! My students think I'm nuts watching this.— Rebecca Fernandez (@chainedchaos31) February 19, 2014
10.29am: Could be in the next 10 minutes.
Police are saying #stackdemo should happen in the next 10 minutes— Rosie O'Meley (@_mohini) February 19, 2014
10.25am: The Port Kembla Community Preschool changed their plans, the kids were so well behaved so instead of going to another Big Fat Smile centre they are sitting together in some shade to watch the big explosion.
10.20am: Josh Butler at the Steelworks Hotel says people are yelling ''I love you stack," out the front of the pub.
10.15am: Gemma Khaicy tells us: It's d-day... That is, date day for this couple. Michael Ralph, 22, and Taryn Scrase, 17, can't wait for the explosion. Taryn: The giant cigarette is going to finally come down.
why do i feel sad? I've never even been to Port Kembla. #stackdemo— Donisthorpe, R. (@kipster003) February 19, 2014
10.10am: Gwynneville’s Boyd Thompson remembers exactly where he was when he heard the news that JFK had been assassinated – he was in the foundations of the Port Kembla Copper stack. He talks to the Mercury. Full story here.
10.02am: Duane Arnts from Dapto holds his 2-year-old nephew Kai Breen over the crowd. There's no way little Kai wants to miss the show!
''It was a mad rush to get here this morning, we didn't want to miss it.''
9.57am: The stack stops a city.
amazing how a demolition of an iconic 200m structure stops a city...goes to show the meaning the stack has in the gong #stackdemo— Jason Lima (@jasonlima01) February 19, 2014
9.53am: We work them hard at the Merc! Photographer Christopher Chan.
9.51am: Many residents are settling in for the viewing.
#stack Flocks of screaming cockatoos in the air at Mittagong - the stack is coming down!— William Verity (@WilliamVerity) February 19, 2014
9.47am: This in from Gemma Khaicy. "A firie wants to swap shirts, he'll give me his spare NSW Fire and Rescue shirt for the Mercury's Fall of an Icon stack tshirt! Seems like a fair deal to me."
9.45am: Pic from our reporter Angela Thompson.
9.42am: Fast fact - If you're watching the stack demolition from a distance you will see the stack fall before you hear it as light travels faster than sound.
9.36am: Reporter Gemma Khaicy says gates are being locked around the exclusion zone.
Gates are being locked on exclusion zone, suspense building #stackdemo— Gemma Khaicy (@gem_k) February 19, 2014
9.33am: Our readers are sending in some beautiful photos of the stack. This one from Gabe Bresolin. See the rest here.
9.27am: PKC have sent around a text message saying the stack demolition won't be happening until at least 10.15am. The live feed will switch over at that time.
9.26am: Some will be very sad to see the stack go.
9.25am: The Mercury's Renee Patino is watching the stack demolition from her sisters home on O'Donnell Street. She says: "People are hanging over the fence asking to stand on the verandah so they can take pics!"
9.23am: People are queuing to see the stack come down.
Down at Port Kembla for the smoke stack demolition. I'm like it to blow up, but I think it will crumble down pic.twitter.com/mfcaJofayP— Katriona Robertson (@KTunravels) February 19, 2014
9.21am: The Port Kembla stack itself has decided to share a few final words.
9.19am: Mercury reporter Josh Butler has the best vantage point - Steelworks Hotel. The punters have this to say:
Kelly Balfour, "I'm amazed at the turnout here. I was born June 1965, the stack went up June 1965. I'll see my 49th birthday but it won't. I've outlived it. I've brought my daughter because it's history in the making. It's the thing on everyone's minds. It might be a sign for better things to come for port "
Adam moxon "I live in Unanderra but I took the day off work to be here. The thing is an icon. Coming down the escarpment from being away, when you see the stack, you know you're home. It says "fall of an icon" on your t shirt, and I can't say it any better myself".
Gary Cook, "I don't care if it comes down or not. It's not doing much, what's it doing for me?"
Michael McDonald, "Port Kembla is on the up. There's nothing at the steelworks now. We've got te billy cart derby and new shops, artists. It's a completely different town now. I'd like to see us become like Newcastle. "
Michael Naumovski "it will be bad for base jumpers."
Stephen Jones "Mixed feelings. I lived in kembla street for a few years in the 1980s. If you live here, everyone see it from their kitchen window. Everyone had a theory on the best view point to see it come down, but I wanted to come here and enjoy the spectacle with the locals"
9.17am: Gemma Khaicy says: Bill and Doreen Wilson have come from Oak Flats to watch the show. They are drinking a cup of tea on the edge of the exclusion zone with their poodle Max and Maltese Shih Tzu Ellie.
Bill said: '' I think it's good to get rid of the stack because it has caused too much cancer.''
9.15am: People are getting a final look at the stack any way they can.
9.12am: There's a large media contingent waiting for the demolition. No one wants to miss the big moment.
9.10am: PKC have said the stack won't be coming down before 9.30am.
9.09am: Is Google having a laugh?
9.05am: This just in from Gemma Khaicy: ''It's quiet inside the eviction centre, barely anyone around. How are people keeping entertained? John Timothy from Wentworth Street is reading his book, wondering what all the fuss is about.
Meanwhile, crowds have gathered in the Port Kembla Leagues Club carpark and on the edge of the exclusion zone. Police, firies and SES workers are on the scene. Water sprinklers are on near the stack.''
9.03am: Apparently the stack isn't the only thing coming down today.
The Bum Tree on Gerroa Road is coming down this morning. Reporter Rob Crawford is on the scene.— South Coast Register (@SCRegister) February 19, 2014
9.02am: Reporter Gemma Khaicy is near the evacuation centre. She said lots of residents have gathered near the exclusion zone to watch the stack come down. Rumours abound the stack could come down in 15 minutes.
9.01am: We're hearing differing opinions of how long it will be until the demolition starts. This from MP Stephen Jones.
8.58am: Reader Carly Portch thinks the stack demolition is worthy of an action movie.
8.51am: Don't forget to pick up today's souvenir edition of the Mercury. Fall of an icon. For 50 years it has reflected the industrial heart of this region. Today it comes down.
8.47am: Butcher Lloyd Burchell, who has worked in Port Kembla for 40 years, shared a rather interesting rumour with the Mercury this week.
‘‘I heard that when the stack was finished, someone stood on top and did a hand stand,’’ he said.
‘‘I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I think it could be.’’
That would require some serious skills.
8.42am: This just in from Port Kembla Copper:
''Today’s Port Kembla weather forecast shows favourable conditions for the demolition of the stack. A network of dust suppression systems will mist the air during the demolition to wet dust created, making it unlikely any dust will reach the border of the PKC site. Any dust that does escape the site is expected to be taken out to sea by a westerly wind, away from homes.
Whilst winds are favourable and the dust is not considered to pose a risk to the health and environment of Port Kembla, residents can take their own additional precautions during demolition, which could include the following:
a. Staying inside and closing doors and windows
b. Removing washing from lines
c. Parking cars under cover
d. Washing home grown produce consumed after the demolition event
e. Disconnecting water tanks.''
8.41am: The Mercury has a team of 12 reporters and photographers out in the field keeping you up to date. Stay with us - it won't be long now!
Police on scene after onlookers began walking up a nearby railway to get closer to the #stackdemo— Dominic Geiger (@Dominicjgeiger) February 19, 2014
8.37am: This pic just in from photographer Robert Peet.
8.36am: Reporter Kate McIlwain tells us people are crowding at vantage points around the Illawarra to watch the stack fall.
8.34am: Some people are super keen to see the stack demolition. From Lake Illawarra LAC's Facebook page: A 51-year-old Port Kembla man has been charged with entering enclosed lands after he jumped the fence and entered the Port Kembla Stack site overnight. At 2.45am, the man was allegedly spotted climbing over the fence and entering the site. He was approached by security staff and allegedly told them: "I'm sleeping in the bush and watching the stack come down, I know there's explosives on site." Police were then called and arrested the man a short time later.
8.28am: Reporter Dominic Geiger is at the media briefing point on Foreshore Road - he found William Nicholson who started working at Electrolyte Refining and Smelting Company (which became PKC) in 1954. He worked there for 41 years as a labourer, train driver and loco driver. He told Dom: "I've seen this chimney go from the ground up. It's very very sad, it's an icon. It's part of the family as far as I'm concerned. Everywhere you go you can see it and I'm going to miss it."
Onlooker william nicholson: i saw this stack go from the ground up. It's part of the family #stackdemo— Dominic Geiger (@Dominicjgeiger) February 19, 2014
Meantime, nearly 300 people have gathered at Foreshore Road as the stack's demolition draws nearer.
8.22am: This just in from Gemma Khaicy: The first preschoolers to arrive from the Port Kembla Community Preschool, to the evac centre at Port Kembla Leagues Club.
8.17am: Here's some of our readers' stack memories:
It seems the stack has been featured in the stories Illawarra parents tell their kids.
Louise Rowland Davidson writes: "My kids would always comment about the "tower" when we drove to my parents house and they decided that Fiona from the movie shrek lived in that tower!’’
Alana from Balgownie say that as a child, she believed ‘‘it was the North Pole where Santa lived!"
8.15am: And this from David Finlay
8.12am: IRT chief executive Nieves Murray tweeted
Today's the day that my dad's GPS gets demolished. Hope dad can find his way home. Goodbye #thestack PortKembla— Nieves Murray (@nievesmurray) February 19, 2014
8.08am: Reporter Gemma Khaicy is at the stack evacuation centre. She's just called in this update:
Bill Talevski, one of the first people at the evacuation centre. Emotional and sad to see the stack go. "My father worked 10 years next to the chimney in one of the furnaces"
She says when Bill Talevski visited the Greek Islands, people knew where Wollongong was because of the stack.
8.06am: Great pic from reporter Angela Thompson of photographers cramming onto the viewing platform on Hill 60.
8.02am: Police started evacuating residents in the evacuation zone from 7.30am. Reporter Dominic Geiger is at the media point. He had this to say:
Wollongong Police superintendent Kyle Stewart, who is in charge of the operation, has just addressed the media. He said the evacuation was "all but complete."
He could not comment on the exact number of people inside the exclusion zone. He was not aware of anyone who had attempted to breach the exclusion zone, despite reports one man had tried to jump a fence last night.
Spt Stewart urged anyone preparing to protest that any breach of the exclusion zone could result in them being charged with a criminal offence.
Meanwhile, a group of local residents have set up chairs and tables and are eating breakfast underneath the shadow of the stack. Resident Reg McFarlane said the stack was an icon.
"It's a symbol of the region's industrial heart," he said.
"The stack can be seen from anywhere in the Gong - it's the Opera House of Wollongong".
8.01am: Check out this amazing pic from Arthur Cratchley of the stack on its first day of operation. Photo of stack's first puff buried in files
8.00am: Good morning everyone, it's demolition day! The Port Kembla Stack is coming down. The Mercury has a team of reporters and photographers out in the field keeping you up to date. Stay with us for live coverage.