MEMORIES OF WOOMERA - 21

I've just been reading reminiscences of  The Big Zed and it occurs to me that there must now be thousands around the world who experience nostalgia at the mention of the word  Woomera.  It's as though the town (or village, when I was there) had a strange influence on the emotions that, even after forty one years, still affects me quite strongly on occasions.

I was there from September '56 until March '60 as an RAF corporal on the Target Aircraft Flight at Evetts Field.  I lived in a block of huts on the upper perimeter of the mens' single quarters.  My rear window looked out across the waste ground, later to have a line of brick flats built on it, toward the dry canteen.  The blocks of huts were in lines of about six with a common wooden veranda.  There was a glass window at the rear and wooden shutters at the front, which were covered by fly-wire.  There was both a fly-wire door and a solid door and the room must have been about 10ft by 8-ft (3m by 2.4m)  In the summer it served as a large oven and in the winter as very efficient chiller.

The single quarters housed both military and civilian employees and the characters you met in the JRC (later to become Jazza?) on any evening were worlds away from the people we see in modern Aussie soaps.  There were members of that place that would have made Crocodile Dundee look like Tinkerbel.  I remember when the South Australian Police band came to entertain the community.  As word got out that they'd be appearing in the JRC, an RAAF work mate, 'Doc' Johnson, remarked that the management must be out of their minds to want to parade all those coppers in front of that crowd of animals. 'I'll give it five minutes', said Doc.  Personally I thought he was exaggerating, but not so!

The evening after their appearance at the JRC, all three survivors turned up to play at Woomera West, one with his head in bandages and another with an arm in a sling. You had to admire their courage.  The rest of the band were either in hospital or resting their instruments.  The trouble had started during their first number when one of the policemen tried to intervene between two buddies who were in their usual place having their customary Friday evening punch-up.    (Continued in Memories 21a).

Norman (Vic) Vickers
Lincolnshire, UK

E-mail:      home@normanvickers.go-plus.net  (as of Nov 2001 this replaces normanvickers@btinternet.com)

(Thu, 20 Sep 2001)
 

Memories 21a
Memories 21b



 
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