Hi everyone,

This is Ian Ritchie and I lived at Woomera with my family of three children (Stephen-6,Jacqueline-3, & new born, Kerri, in 1966) from 1966 to 1970. I first visited Woomera as a RR rocket engine fitter in 1964 and spent four months there whilst we attempted to launch the first Blue Streak. It was meant to be three months but we pleaded with our boss at Spadeadam to let us stay until the launch and he agreed.

Two years later I brought my family to Australia as a UK immigrant and, in 1966,  now working for Hawker Siddeley, returned toWoomera in time for the launch of F4, which was the first flight of the multi stage Europa Vehicle. I took my family up to Woomera in '66, helped launch F5 in November, and the birth of my daughter, Kerri, in Woomera Hospital in December topped off a memorable year.

So we lived there until 1970, when we moved to French Guiana which was somewhat different from Woomera and 'slightly' wetter.

I've enjoyed reading people's memories of great days at Woomera. I remember the Hospital also from the time my two eldest children went in together to have their tonsils removed and ran the staff ragged for a few days.

We did have one episode of heavy rain whilst we were there (not too bad for four years) where the water was running across the range road in streams and Lake Hart was flooded. When I returned home that afternoon my wife, Peggy, and neighbour, Dorothy, had sunk our Simca, parked on the donga alongside our flat, into the ground up to the bodywork whilst trying to move it. Ironically, when we had a thirty-year reunion of the first flight in 1994 in Woomera, it rained the whole weekend.

I remember a fellow technician (John Bosley), 'big noting' to some UK visitors about the BIG black hairy spiders in the Prep Area tin shed being harmless and being promptly bitten by one when he poked his finger at it.

I'll stop before this turns into a novel. Keep up the good work Mark and I look forward to hearing more memories of Woomera.

Ian Ritchie


(14 February 2006)

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: 18 February, 2006)