I was at Woomera from 1954 to 1958 as an electrical supervisor. Originally went up from D of S Salisbury to construct the Seaslug launch facility and then stayed on as the Range E electrician tending to launcher firing circuits, camera, radar and telemetry power and all manner of odd things and generally thoroughly enjoying being involved with what I perceived as the very front edge of technology. I will put my mind to it and see if I can come up with anecdotal stuff from my time there that may be of value to you. I trust that "THEY" don't still impose all that Official Secrets Act stuff that I swore to so many years ago! A Security officer even sternly lectured me for using the word "Seaslug" in the village on one occasion!

Allan Bull


Great to see it(Woomera On The Web). It certainly brings back memories! The one occupying my mind at the moment is the golf clubhouse, wooden cartons in which had been transported huge pieces of rocketry of some sort.

The course was one huge sand trap, any scrub around being rough or hazard! Equivalent to a photographic negative, perhaps...

(In the 50's) There were only three private operators in the town at the time, a chemist, a dentist and a garage proprietor, the rest being a Dept. of supply operation. I was the dentist, and Captain R. B. Newmann R.N. the Commandant. His power was near-absolute.

The Chemist's name was "Bourke", but the name of the garage proprietor eludes me. I lived in a street with an unremembered name but that was referred to universally as Taipan alley. I still claim that I have no idea as to the reason.

Woomera West was the Dept. of Works camp (?) whilst Woomera Village was the somewhat more "polished" area.

Sadly, Lennie Beadell, of Gunbarrel Highway fame is no longer with us, as he would have been a wealth of information for you. Bit hard to stop once he got started though!

Murray Kranz

(Murray Kranz talks about "Bourke" the chemist. I think you will find that it was "Burke".  Sent in by Dick T.)

(I note Murray Kranz was stuck on the local garage proprietor's name. The two that I remember were Kev Cameron who ran the Mobil down near the guard gate and also had the Holden Dealership, and Cliff Grover who ran the Shell garage out on the Tech Area road at Woomera West.  Sent in on 20 May 2000 by Murray Morgan,

Hi! Just thought I'd drop you a line saying I enjoyed reading your Woomera page. I have some personal interest in the place 'cause if it wasn't for that town I wouldn't have been born :) hehe. My mum and dad met there about hmm 45 years ago I dad was working with the earthmoving equipment out on the range area, while my mum was one of the very few women (she says like 20 or so) working in the lunchtime cafes at Woomera West. She still has the pics of the little houses she had to live in with the big iron fence around them! There was once a documentary on channel 2 on Woomera, and the photo the women showed in that had my mum (and her mum) in it. My mum and dad both went to the recent 50 year anniversary which they both really loved! Got to meet a few old friends obviously. I would have gone myself but Ive have recently been busy getting my phd thesis finished! :)

Scott Shannon

Update: 3 June 2005:

I wrote to you about 10 years ago I guess it was little story about my mother and father is the 3rd one down on the 'Memories of Woomera - 3 ' page. Both are still going strong! I guess I never told you their full names there, but I know thy would both love it if people who knew them were able to contact them through me. Anyway, my father's name is William (Bill) Shannon, and my mother's name is Thelma Shannon (then Davey). They were there from 1948 to 1952.
Keep up the great site!
Scott Shannon


I was there from '67 to '73 and my parents were there a good deal longer. We were into the local cricket and football and knew most of the personalities.

Still bamboozled over who the hell O'Donoghue was. It was always the Arboretum Oval. Then they renamed it after a nonentity...unlike the Newman. Who the hell was O'Donoghue. I played cricket against an O'Donoghue with Centrals, but he wasn't good enough to name an oval after. Did Centrals hijack the plot or was O'Donoghue some mythical personality from Woomera's founding.

Pete R.

Pete R asks who was O'Donoghue? His name was Tony O'Donoghue and he was the foreman in charge of the Arboretum (where they grew all the trees, plants, has the animals etc - not the oval itself). His boss was Aub Reilly who most people would remember.

Dick T.

I spent 11 years of my life in Woomera - from the age of one to 12. My brother & sisters were born there. As children, Woomera was a great place to grow up, as it was safe. We used to go the the Arboretum, and also played in the bush. I cannot justify buying opals at the prices they charge today, because we use to play with them in the bush.

Thorby W. 

Mark, I'd just like to thank you for putting up the Woomera site. I was born in Woomera in 1970 and left around 1971-72 when my father came to Canberra to work at Tidbinbilla. So you can probably imagine I can't remember anything of the town and haven't been able to find much of it's history, although, I've always been aware it the town's importance. Your page has shown me photos and given me information that I haven't been able to find in the past and I find it very interesting indeed.

Chris Adcock

Memories of Woomera

A History of Woomera
Research Missiles
Tracking Stations
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