Rabaul Eruption

ATOM and our sister company, Bishops have an over 40 year history, The below image was dug out of our archives recently showing the damage done to the Bishops (then Bishop Brothers Engineering) Rabaul Branch in the volcano eruption of 1994.

Rabaul is located on the north eastern end of the island of New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Rambaul was the capital of the province until it was destroyed by the falling ash of the volcano eruption in 1994.

On 23rd September 1994 Rabaul's active volcano on the northern tip of Papua New Guinea erupted violently, destroying the city. Two of the volcanic cones, Vulcan and Tavurvur started erupting in the morning, ash fell all over the town, at first reports it was 20-25cm deep but later was recorded to be as deep as 75cm. Heavy rains turned the ash into mud which dried to be almost as hard as cement, causing many roofs of buildings to collapse under the weight. Lava flowed from a vent near Tavurur and slowly flowed for approximately 25 days.

The eruptions declined in strength over time and by 2nd October Vulcan had ceased erupting while Tavurvur continued through October and November.

Luckily, the town of Rabal had educated their residents who had been expecting an eruption someday and were aware of the dangers. When earthquakes started the night before the eruption, the government and volcanologists evacuated almost all of the town before the eruption started. Nearly 50,000 people were moved to safety.

The volcano is surrounded by a steep volcanic ridge and is still active today. It last erupted in 2014.

To find out more about our sister company, Bishops in Papua New Guinea, visit their website.

Rabaul Branch before the eruption.

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ATOM acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands in which we operate in Australia. We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them, their cultures; and to elders both past, present and emerging.