Posted on Aug 29, 2006, 11 a.m.
By Bill Freeman
Biologist Philip Rhoades has won approval from health authorities to build the complex -- believed to be only the third in the world. Mr Rhoades, 54, told the Herald Sun he believed future medical advances would bring them back to life in coming centuries.
Biologist Philip Rhoades has won approval from health authorities to build the complex -- believed to be only the third in the world.
Mr Rhoades, 54, told the Herald Sun he believed future medical advances would bring them back to life in coming centuries.
He has already spent $650,000 developing plans for underground storage at Cowra, 200km west of Sydney, and hopes to start building on the 60ha site within six months.
"My parents are both science types, like me, and with my siblings are interested in this great experiment," Mr Rhoades said.
"If I can eventually help other people whose lives should be longer, this would also be a good thing to do."
Mr Rhoades -- along with his mother Dorothy, 74, a science teacher, and father Gerald, 79, an industrial chemist -- would be frozen in -150C liquid nitrogen after they die in the belief advanced nanotechnology might bring them back to life.
At least one of Mr Rhoades' sisters, Jocelyn, will undergo the process, and his two other sisters and two brothers are interested.
But he said his partner, although accepting his views, did not want to be suspended after death.
"So far she has not been interested, which is sad because I'd really miss her in the future," Mr Rhoades said.
He said there was a need for a cryogenic centre in Australia because US religious fundamentalists could sabotage operations in the US or a more conservative US government might outlaw the process.
"The US is more likely to have problems with religious extremists who might be inclined to cause damage, and the US political situation is heading for trouble, I think," Mr Rhoades said.
The Cowra plan comes after a seventh Australian underwent the cryogenic process in the US.
Canberra maths academic Thomas Donaldson flew to the US in January suffering a rare brain tumour.
After Mr Donaldson died, his body was frozen at Alcor Life Extension in Arizona.
Under the cryogenic process, bodies are drained of blood, pumped full of chemicals and dipped in liquid nitrogen to preserve them.
They are snap-frozen and entombed upside down in cylinders.
NSW Health Department director of population health Dr Greg Stewart wrote to Mr Rhoades advising there was nothing in the Public Health (Disposal of Bodies) Regulation 2002 to stop the centre being built.
"The regulation does not need amendment to allow the cryogenic process to be installed and operations commence," Dr Stewart wrote.
But he noted the only hurdle was clause 9 of the regulations, which requires a contingency plan if the freezing process is interrupted.
"The department would need to be satisfied no public health implications would arise from the storage process, and that contingencies existed which considered malfunctions of the process," he said.
NSW Health said once an application was made to freeze someone, officers from the public health unit would seek details of the cryonic process and emergency contingencies.
"This could include a commitment to burial or placement in a vault (if things go wrong)," Dr Stewart said.
The Cryonics Association of Australia has 30 members. Sixteen have signed to be frozen in the US at Alcor and the Cryonics Institute, costing $70,000 to $250,000.