Woomera Memories

My name is Andrew Dixon. I was posted to Woomera as a Corporal in the RAAF (now Sergeant RAAF Reserve here in Tasmania) from Oct 1988 to Apr 1991. I work in the SOC on Alpha and Charlie Crews. I had a wife named Susan (now Ex-wife) and son Sean. We both use too take Sean to Playgroup.

Since leaving Woomera, I have been to Williamtown (where I met and married my wife Kelli) then two years in Sydney (working with the Royal Australian Navy), then Darwin and finally three and half years back in Williamtown.

I retired from the RAAF 1 July 2001 and moved to Tasmania (May 2001). Since retiring I have been going to TAFE and the University of Tasmania study, Human Resource Management.

I miss those Woomera Discos and all the good friends both USAF, USN, ADF and local Woomerites. Some of the names I remember are Tom Ambrose (USN OS2), Capt Glenn Huffer (USAF) thanks for the Schooners of Wine and the many dead brain cells Glenn, Al Avila and Craig Piper and the Alpha and Charlie Crew boys for making my time in Woomera the best of my career. The website is great. Loads of info.

That' s all - hope to hear from some of you.

Andrew Dixon


(31 October 2002)

The Eldo Years

I have just finished reading the site information and memories and see that so many people have the same nostalgia that I have.

My name is Elizabeth (Beth) Spencer now Cecchini. I taught at the Area School from 1966 to 1970 when I took off for 'The Grand Tour' of Europe.

My father was Harold Spencer from the PTG/WRE in Salisbury. He was posted for a three-month stint to Woomera and returned saying 'No daughter of mine will ever go there!'

I can't remember when that was said but the first chance I got, I was off. I recall that I arrived with hand painted luggage, a Mavis Brampston wig and long cigarette holder. I was determined to have fun and I did! We single women lived in the ELDO Mess and had a ball!

I remember lots of sports from rifle shooting to squash and netball. We organised a 'Hippy Party' that almost got out of hand! It was held again the next year by popular request - this time the blokes came over from Europe with costumes! I was Aladdin and do recall the Brookings! The Drama Club was a lot of fun! So much happened, some of it not to be repeated, but it stays in our hearts.

There are only two of us that I know of who met and married our European husbands there. Mine worked with the Italian team and we now have two children, live in Rome where I taught for many years. My husband is tracking station manager in Malindi in Kenya for the Rome University San Marco Project.

Five of us: Val Nichol nee Leedham, Diane Macdonald (nee Aldous), Dene Porter and Heidi Fabritius met up for the Oktoberfest in Munich in 2000 and it was so successful that we decided to try and organise a Woomera Women's Reunion for those of us who had the privilege of the Woomera experience. We plan to have it in a couple of year's time somewhere in the world...we had almost a repeat of Woomera nights at the Oktoberfest!!!!!

I have photos of one of the classes that I taught there plus the staff if anyone is interested.

Elizabeth (Beth) Spencer now Cecchini


(20 June 2002)

Woomera Memories

Dear Mark,

I have enjoyed the contributions to the site, and many of the reminiscences ring home.

I enclose a photo of my class 8B at Woomera Area School in 1966 (included on Woomera School Days 3).

We lived in Woomera from 1954 when I was aged one, through to 1966. Woomera still holds many memories for me. My siblings being Terry, Mark, Gerard, and my sister Bernadette Ryan, who was born there.

My father Arch, was then transferred to the Adelaide Airport Metrological Station.  He was an avid sportsman, playing football for Centrals until aged 42.  He was a member of the Staff Mess - always a great place for a BBQ for the family,  followed by the open air movies.   He is now in a retirement home in Adelaide.  My Mum, Bernie, passed away in 1997, loved her tennis, and was active and involved with the St Vincent De Paul Society.

I can vividly remember a motorbike gymkhana on the grey salt pans on the road to Lake Richardson, picnicking at the Pines (on the pipeline road) camping and hiking around Phillip Ponds, discovering wells, creek tanks,  caves, and generally most things young boys like to do.  Living in a dry place the flash flooding from downpours and closure of the Pt Augusta Rd created great interest and often caused delays in getting home from holidays down south. Visiting Andamooka one Sunday we had to get out of the bus as it negotiated its way through the sand dunes.

I was posted back to Woomera for my first country posting in the Bank of New South Wales in 1973 and have since worked in NSW, Papua New Guinea, SA, VIC, NT and finally back in Melbourne. Working in Woomera as 1st teller I had to ration out our meagre supply of US currency to the troops stationed there.  We worked Thursday night and the queues used to go out into Butement Square. On our weekends we took the motorbikes out into the bush, and revisited many of the spots we saw as kids.  One excellent ride was following the creek into Lake Richardson, through mud and over sand dunes. The swim in Lake Richardson at the end of it, was great.

We have called into Woomera on a number of trips through to Darwin with my own family (the most recent being January 2002) and have noticed the difference now from living there with a peak population of about 5,500 people.

Kevin Ryan


(9 June, 2002)

Memories of Woomera

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

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(Last updated: 1 May, 2003)