Woomera Memories 1960 +

I have been going in regularly to read the Woomera Web page. Imagine my surprise to see people looking for my brother Glenn. Also memories come rushing back when you see the names - either you know them or the parents of a few.

As I said in an earlier e-mail, I went to Woomera in 1960 at 13 years old and I left there with 2 children. Wow what a place. We went in September so the pool was opening, and Tarzan was there looking after the pool. I never did find out if he lived anywhere else in Woomera. On a wonderful summer evening there was Water Polo. It had a huge following and it was a night out to get together.  Then on the weekends there was the sneaking out to go to the pool in the middle of the night. The excitement of not being caught was very stressful when you look back. That went on for years with groups of teenagers meeting there. As if no one ever knew. I mean, we where really quiet. Ha Ha. The swimming club was very good back then also. Big meetings Sunday (I think).

Woomera had every club you could imagine. As in the footy clubs, Town was quite divided at footy time. Village, Centrals, Works and Koolymilka. There was Soccer, Rugby, all types of gun clubs, go-kart, tennis, squash, archery, dirt racing, netball, basketball. Also R.S.L. bowling, Freemasons and buffs lodges. Most religions seem to be there also. I remember when the footy ovals were dirt. But for the best footy we had the Pimple Oval, real name Newman. On grand finals we had to park our cars the night before so we could get a good spot.

Then we had pictures in the old Red Shield building. It cost 6 pence to go in and was run by the salvos. We also had the big theatre which was burnt down. The Coffee Lounge the meeting place in the early days - the cars could park right out the front. It had a juke box and, if you had no money, the ladies let you have a soda glass of water. It looked like lemonade and gave you a reason to be sitting at the tables. How many parents in those days said "I hope you aren't gong to hang around the Coffee Lounge". I mean where else could you learn about life and smoking. Pooling the money to buy a pack.

We went to the claypans for cricket matches - now I know where the saying "Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noon day sun" came from. The game was played on the claypans and we watched and had barbecues after and beer was iced down on big blocks of ice. When you got older, the claypans was sometimes quite full of cars parked there at night. You had to drive past the errie graves which glowed in the dark - I have since found out why? Apparently it is a type of granite - there a few in Pt. Augusta West side cemetery. It was more fun when you didn't know.

What about the M.M.P.U. are there any survivors out there. That was about 1970?? What ever happened to the Suttcliffe sisters they even sang on Tele. The wonderful balls, the long dresses. I learnt to dance at the Jazza. You never had to miss a dance. There were plenty of blokes in the early days. The bands came up. Brian Penglase who is still playing the organ and piano and sings at charity senior citizens shows when his health permits.  But we had Ron Sherwell's band. I think his band cut a record called Rocket Range Rhythm.

Once a week we waited for the Gibber Gabber, the local paper you could not miss it. I think it is still going. Then when you drove off down that dirt road to the city, not often, we would all meet at the Red Lion in Rundle Mall, the guys could see the street in a mirror so the girls left them to it and hit the shops.

Our hospital was one of the best in the state. Very modern back then. Some fabulous nurses. A couple still there that delivered quite a few babies. Boating on Lake Koolymilka and Lake Richardson after a big rain but then nothing for so long that children had no idea what rain was like. Woomera was wonderful and to be a teenager there in the 60s was great. I go back but as lots of you know or can imagine it is not the same - you really have only got your memories left.

If anyone would like any photos taken, e-mail me and we can organise something.

Lynn Smith (nee Trench  nee Cook).


(2 January, 2001) 

Memories of Woomera

A History of Woomera
Research Missiles
Tracking Stations
Return To Orbit
Gibber Gabber
Woomera Village
Woomera Life
Memories of Woomera

Return to Home Page
Copyright © 2001-2003   Mark T. Rigby
(Last updated: 19 October, 2003)