MEMORIES OF WOOMERA
Congratulations on the website and everyone who has contributed with
their memories. It is priceless.
I was born like many thousands of others at the
Woomera hospital. It was 1974, living there until 1982. Favourite
childhood memories can be found in places there that look now like
nothing more than bush, sand and rock. I felt a sense of sadness having
to recreate the street, houses, friends and the feeling of adventure in
my mind during a visit to the town after Christmas 2005. I paced it out
and spent time walking over play areas, old backyards and revisiting
places of childhood exhilaration. I have had
a lot come up for me since the recent visit there with my sister. I
know that there are many others out there that have had a comparable
experience in our safe and nurturing Woomera Town.
The earliest memories include the burning down of
the R.C. Church on Banool Avenue. I lived in a house directly behind it
on lot 166 Boorong Street. Our baby sitter was looking after my sister
and I while Dad was playing footy for the Village Sports Club and Mum
was playing Softball. Later we moved to ‘tin city’ Currong Street,
close to M’Callum Oval (the dirt oval) and then to Kinka Street.
The Woomera Area School was a thrill. I was
impressed on my first day by the dragon painted on the cement out front
of the classrooms. There were playground adventures such as kiss and
run with the girls, climbing over the large military vehicle resembling
some kind of tank with the boys. The lunch money was placed in brown
paper bags with orders on them, then within a basket taken to the
canteen in the mornings.
After school it was on for young and old. With
freedom and safety like nowhere else, there were a million and one
things to do as a child. There are a few that stand out from what seems
like an endless list including the pool. There were three pools from
memory and many an hour stretched out on the cement turning as brown as
the donga after a swim in the deep-end under the diving boards.
After avoiding the Emus on the way home from school
(they were taller than me), I could be found at the Black Caves out
from Barlanbali Avenue (Woomera East) looking for lizards and on an
adventure. The Brown Caves (more like a creek line) were also a
favourite. Spotting a kangaroo carcass was something to tell mum or dad
about over the dinner table later that evening :)
The Arboretum was as good as any zoo. Emus would
follow us up and down alongside the enclosure with deep grunting sounds
in anticipation of some fresh grass I had picked for them. The
Kangaroos were not as enthusiastic to remove themselves from the shade.
There were lots of birds and for some reason the turtles down the back
corner would captivate me every time they came up for air. The
same pine trees and a hefty gum are still there today.
Dad would play football on the weekends and I would
often walk as the crow flew to the Village Sports Club across the
Donga. I remember running up the side of the water tank hill there with
other children, playing on equipment between the oval and the Village
Club and having just as much fun after the game as the adults did.
I would have a costume for the 4th of July street
parade and a mind blown by the colour and sounds of fireworks that
evening at the O’Donoghue Oval. Then there was Halloween. We had the
freedom and safety to walk the streets and trick or treat at night
meeting up with friends and a bag of lollies that would make any kids
eyes boggle. The School oval would astonish me at night with what would
seem like an army of kangaroos silhouetted by distant floodlights.
The ABC was shaping my mind and imagination with
shows like Monkey Magic, Dr Who, Danger Mouse, The Herculoids, Blake 7 and Battle of the Planets to name just a few.
I hope this has brought back some fond memories for
you. We are a select few and I am happy to reply to correspondence from
anyone who would like to exchange memories and keep thoughts alive. I
could go on for hours, being relativity sentimental about the township
and for good reason.. It rocked!
I look forward to reading more stories and hearing
from others through this site.
[Other family members: Paula Dabovich (1974
– 83), Chris Dabovich (AKA Dabbo),
Marj Dabovich (nee Kelly)]
Andrew Dabovich (1974 – 83)
Ph: 0419 717 130
(8 January 2006)
Copyright © 2006 Mark T. Rigby
(Last updated: 18 February, 2006)