MEMORIES OF WOOMERA - 27


Macfarlane Memories - two postings

Woomera

Dear Mark,

I have just discovered your Woomera Web Site, I would like to say thank you, as it has brought back wonderful memories to me that I had almost forgotten, and so many names that I only had faces to remember.

I lived in Woomera from 1950 to1960. My father Dugald Macfarlane and mother Lucy came to Woomera after emigrating from Scotland. My sister Irene and myself  went to the Woomera school - we were part of Mrs. Roger's "Girls".  My father was in charge of the laundry, he was often called Big Mac due to his 6 foot height. Later in life he worked in the Eldo Mess. My father died in 1977 and is buried in the cemetery at Woomera.

I was working at the Range as a kinetheodolite operator, my post was known as K6. I saw many tests with the Jindivik, Canberra, and the crazy Seaslug - I can remember the time it crash landed so close to my post that "Sub 1", our controller, called me and asked if I required a pair of pants sent out to me.

The night trials were so spooky. I had to sit alone in the post, in the middle of the Donga(outback) as I called it, listening to the kangaroos thumping around me, and all the strange sounds of the donga. The worst was when you had to go outside and wind your sides and roof of the post back, for the cameras to have a clear view of the night sky - what beautiful clear starry nights, but so many flying beasties when you had to put the light on. I would never go outside to the hole in the ground toilet at night, that was the first stop when I got back to base.

I remember the picture house, also used as the dance hall, I learnt to dance from the force's boys, and weren't they good at the jiving, and smoochie dances.

We had many a barbie, some out in the donga, during the kangaroo shoots, travelling in the old buckboard.

The swimming pool was a regular gathering place, along with the milkbar, my favourite being a "spider" lime lemonade with a lump of ice-cream in it, I can still taste it.

You brought back many names to mind. Pauline Quinn, who I have since contacted through your web site - Pauline's sister was my bridesmaid at Woomera. I married Jack O'Hare a corporal in the R.A.F. A year later our son William was born in Woomera. I had often wondered where all our friends had gone, and hopefully Jack and I may find out, thanks to your web site.

I never really appreciated Woomera until I had left, and realised how unique a place the Range was, you can never describe fully your time there, as there was no other place like Woomera. Thanks to your web site, my son William who was born there, can learn more of his birth place - he is now a Flight Sergeant in the R.A.F, following in his dad's footsteps.  We live in Kelty Fife, Scotland, and have two girls and another boy, who I am glad you have given the opportunity to learn more about my youth. I have just turned pensioner this year, and your WEB site has given me a real boost,

Thank You,
Margaret Macfarlane/O'Hare
Woomera 1950----1960.

E-mail:    jack@ohare51.fsnet.co.uk

(Sat, 20 Apr 2002)



Old friends

Hello Mark what a fantastic web site. I was a Woomera child moving there in the 50s. My father Dugald Macfarlane was a fitter and turner and helped erect a lot of the buildings there, he ended his life as Big Mac in charge of the laundry and is buried in the local grave yard.

I just read a letter from Janet who was a school mate and I will contact her tonight, I browse the web site a fair bit and it makes me smell the red dust and the heat.  I now reside just north of Coffs Harbour and have been married for 35  years last February to a British serviceman (Ian Hayes) whom I met in Woomera. When Ian was discharged, we went back to Woomera and he worked as Range Officer for a number of years before moving to Melbourne. We called in about five years ago for a look on our way through after a trip to Darwin, and it was sad to see the desolation and neglect of what was once a thriving community.

Even in a small area such as Coffs Harbour I have met two previous Woomera serviceman, Allan Thompson who played for Centrals and was in the Aus. army and Max Seyer who also was in the army - isn't it a small world.  My sister Margaret who married a British Air Force guy is still happily married and has five lovely grown up children, and has been back a few times on trips.

Anyway happy hunting with your web site.

Irene Hayes /Arnold/Macfarlane

E-mail:    hazes@hot.net.au

(Thu, 4 Apr 2002)



 
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(Last updated: 1 May, 2003)