Our CTO (Luke Cole) previously worked for Hemisphere GPS (orginally called BEELINE, and now bought out by AgJunction) as a "Robotics Engineer" implementing auto-guidance solutions for various quadbikes and agriculture tractors that was used by 100's of vehicles around the world.
For 10 years, starting as a teenager in 1998 - Luke Cole has also worked for leading research institutes and companies such as NICTA (now called CSIRO Data61), CSIRO, Seeing Machines and ANU Robotics System Lab (lead by Alex Zelinsky, who received a rare prestigious AO award in 2017 and was Defence Scientist of Australia from 2012 for 6 years). Luke's work included various autonomous mobile robot projects, involving computer vision, and even a self-driving car early 2000's. Back then OpenCV and ROS didn't exist, so we did a "roll-your-own" called VisLib and DROS comprised of 364,578 lines of code.
Lance Cole has also worked at NICTA and has a background of various hardware development, such as working for a contract company to the US millary (EOS), building the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS).
Mining activity and community life increased apace during the succeeding years. In 1885 the first telephone in Blackstone established a link between the Aberdare Colliery and Bundamba Railway Station. Two years later the school was founded with 80 enrolled students, followed by the Blackstone Rovers Soccer Club in 1890 and a two-storeyed School of Arts in the following year. A setback occurred in 1893, when the great flood inundated the two churches and swept away many belongings. Despite this disaster and the ensuing depression, the Aberdare Cooperative Colliery Ltd came into existence in 1894 and leased the mine from Thomas until its insolvency in 1907.
Meanwhile Lewis Thomas, the patron of Blackstone, completed his ‘castle’, called Brynhyfryd (meaning ‘Pleasant View’), in 1890. This three-storeyed residence with a central tower and various outbuildings was built in rendered brick high on the Blackstone hill. Thomas was the Bundamba member of the Legislative Assembly from 1893 to 1899 and of the Legislative Council from 1902 until his death in 1913. During the early years his political opponent was Thomas Glassey, the miners’ man.
During the First World War, functions were held at Brynhyfryd to raise support for the troops and a Comforts Club was formed in Blackstone to aid the cause. The illegal game of two-up was held regularly at the Borehole near the creek every Sunday for several years, until the area was cleared for farming, and then further around at the old Cardiff pit site.
In the meantime, the Blackstone community suffered from the effects of living on top of a coal mine. Subsidence, which was always a problem in the area, damaged the Old School of Arts and parts of the roadway as well as Thomas Street. Underground fires were devouring the remaining coal reserves under Brynhyfryd and the honeycombed ground began to subside.