Big uncluttered skies: remembering a childhood pastime of looking at the stars

Sue Gibbs and Peter Zajicek spent their childhoods in Woomera, 450 km north of Adelaide, in the 1960s and 1970s.  The isolation of Woomera made it an ideal place to look at the stars, free from the light pollution of Read More …

A changeable landscape: recollections of Woomera

Woomera is a dry place – most of the time.  Sometimes however it is inundated with rain, and then the landscape changes dramatically.  Plants that have laid dormant come to life, and seeds from ephemeral plants germinate and grow. I Read More …

From wax cylinders to SD cards: the extraordinary range of audio technology encountered by an audio engineer

I recently went behind the scenes at the State Library of South Australia to interview audio engineer, Peter Kolomitsev, about his job.  It quickly became apparent that in helping to preserve the state’s audio heritage, he encounters a diverse range Read More …

Changing places: from the garden of England to the Australian desert

What is it like to grow up in the rolling green hills of the Kent countryside in England, only to spend several years as an adult working in the Australian desert? It is hard to imagine two settings more different Read More …

Vegetable gardening in the desert

Keen gardeners always seem to find a way to grow a garden, regardless of the environment. Attempting to grow a lush vegetable garden in the hot, dry environment at Woomera may seem ambitious, until you realise that there are many Read More …

Outback barbecues and the hazard of recycling metal plates

Barbecues were some of the most frequent social events in Woomera.  Often they were held in backyards. Terry Clark, who lived in Woomera in the 1960s and 70s, recalled in an oral history interview one particular barbecue that had an Read More …

Memories of summer 2: keeping the milk cool

Continuing the theme of my previous post with memories of summer, I’ve selected this time some excerpts from oral history interviews focussing on milk in summer – keeping it cool (or not) and drinking it. Pat Connor was a dairy Read More …

Mournful crows, burning legs on metal slides, and other memories of summer

As those of us in Australia head into the hottest part of the year, it seems an ideal time to hear stories about the extreme heat in places such as Woomera, located in desert country in the north of South Read More …

The magic of an outdoor cinema

Watching films under the stars is a special experience.  Some people may remember watching films in one of the many drive-in cinemas that used to exist in city and country towns across Australia. The first drive-in cinema in Australia opened Read More …

Father Christmas always arrives in a helicopter

You may not be familiar with the tradition of Father Christmas arriving in a helicopter – unless you lived in Woomera. Woomera was established in 1947 as a rocket range in northern South Australia to test missiles and research rockets.  Read More …