Australia’s Space Age Town
Woomera holds a unique place in our National Heritage. Australia was the fourth country in the world to launch its own satellite – after USA, Russia and France. Because of the secrecy act, it used to be a ‘No Go’ town. There are no secrets now, but plenty to enjoy. It’s a modern town with excellent facilities and an exciting future.
Woomera Rocket Range was established in 1947 as a joint British / Australian project for developing and testing experimental rockets, weapons and missiles. Woomera was aptly named after an Aboriginal weapon used to propel a spear with great force. The town and extensive rocket tracking routes were surveyed by explorer Len Beadell.
The Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) is a unique military testing range. It covers 127,000 square kilometres in north-west South Australia, 450 kms NNW of Adelaide. It is the largest land range in the world, with a centre line of over 600 kilometres, the size of England. The WPA area is used for the ‘testing of war material’ under the control of the Royal Australian Air Force. Anyone wishing to access any part of the WPA (excluding the Stuart Highway) must obtain approval. The area is also highly prospective and more than $35 billion in iron ore, gold and uranium projects are possible over the next decade.
During the past 50 years, various space projects have been carried out at Woomera. Evidence can be seen at Woomera Heritage Centre and outdoor displays. From 1964 -1970, the Range was the experimental centre for the joint European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO). this partnership between the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Belgium, Holland and Italy designed and built the European set of rockets.
The Woomera Village is still managed by the Australian Department of Defence through the Area Administrator and the Defence Support Centre, Woomera. Services are provided by the Department of Defence, primarily through contacts with Transfield Services, previously BAE Systems, Eurest, Cowell and Wagnitz.
Exciting non defence trials, hailed as very successful include: ALFLEX Landing Trials, SRB Propellant Trials, Super-Sonic Transport Trials, HyShot Sounding Rocket Trials, ASRI Sounding Rocket Trials and Hayabusa Re-entry Capsule Mission.
In the heart of town, a Canberra bomber, a Meteor Jet, a Jindivik Target Jet are dwarfed by the impressive ‘Black Arrow rocket.
Inside Woomera Heritage Centre, mysteries of how Australia reached for the stars is no longer ‘top secret’. Interpretive displays and previously unpublished photographs are displayed. Ask about tours to the Launch Site. Snacks, and meals are available in the Outback Diner. You might like to try your skill at the six lane 10 pin bowling alley there.
Breen Park in the centre of town with lush lawns, shady trees, native birds and electric BBQ is a great place to relax. The Supermarket and Post Office with internet facilities are near by.
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