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Visited SA_ParrotHead took Luminous Energy Geocoin to Welcome to Woomera

Saturday, 04 August 2012South Australia, Australia

Our destination for the night and meeting place for our convoy to all join up.

Nibs and Auzee had met us earlier in the day in the town of Port Wakfield and we were joined by the Burtons here at Woomera.

There will be a lot of bush camping after we leave here so the next 2 nights we will spend in accommodation here in town. The others have a hotel room but we booked a cabin at the local caravan park.

After a quick look around town we settled in for the night and had dinner at the Hotel.

Some information about the town -

Woomera came into existence as a consequence of Britain's defence requirements following World War II. It needed a large, remote area in which to test new weapons systems. Various sites were considered, including one in Canada. In the end, Australia's vast and virtually unpopulated inland won the day, and the Long Range Weapons Establishment (Woomera rocket range) came into existence on 1 April 1947 as a Joint Project between Britain and Australia. The range was surveyed by the legendary Len Beadell and his team.

The town, or village, of Woomera is located in the south east corner of the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA); colloquially known as the Woomera Rocket Range. Established as a restricted access township in 1947, Woomera Defence Village is an Australian Defence Force (ADF) facility supporting the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Woomera Test Range (WTR) which, today, is used to evaluate military and civilian missile, ordnance, and aerospace systems. Woomera is in the 'outback' desert area of South Australia, approximately 488 kilometres (303 mi) north of Adelaide. An easement through the WPA allows public transit on the Trans-Australian Railway, The Central Australia Railway, and the Stuart Highway. Travellers are prohibited from leaving these routes. In 1982 restrictions on public access to Woomera township were lifted, allowing the town to develop as a tourist destination, while maintaining its support role for the WTR.

Construction of Woomera Village began in mid-1947 to cater for thousands of people moving there as part of the Anglo-Australian Project. The project lasted for 30 years and saw Woomera become one of the most secret allied bases established during the Cold War. During its heyday (1949–69), the village population reached around 7,000. The population of Woomera now is about 250 permanent residents.

The historic old 'Eldo' rocket launch sites at Lake Hart, towering ten stories high over the northern side of this inland dry salt lake, is now mute testament to Australia's once renowned position in space research and development that once saw Woomera as second only to Cape Canaveral in the number of annual rocket and missile launches.

During the early 1960s, Woomera participated in the Mercury and Gemini space programs. Specialised tracking and communications stations were set up at Red Lake about 50 km (31 mi) north of Woomera and at Mirikata about 200 km (120 mi) west of Woomera. These stations also played an important part in the first Moon landing mission. However, one of the most significant facilities installed by the United States was the nearby, and highly specialised, 'Deep Space Station 41' (DSS-41). This facility was constructed at the edge of Island Lagoon about 25 km (16 mi) south of Woomera and was directly supported from the Woomera Defence Village. DSS-41 played a role in the 'race for space' from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s when the main tracking systems were dismantled and returned to the United States. While none of the DSS-41 facility exists, the roadworks and building sites for this historic facility can still be seen.

In 2007, the Woomera Test Range was acknowledged by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) as a site of world aerospace historical significance.

This entry was edited by SA_ParrotHead on Tuesday, 28 August 2012 at 02:39:07 UTC.

The 'Eldo' rocket launch site at lake HartThis is what it used to look like
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