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From Outback to Outer Space: Woomera 1955 - 1980

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by Annette Vandersluis (subscribe)
I love to travel and some time ago discovered I also love to write, combine this with my husband's photography and we get to share it all with you. Please visit us at www.facebook.com/brucevandersluisimages
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Read all about how Australia entered the Space Club
Woomera, an Australian town which many Australians have heard of and some may even know a small part of its story. Named after an Aboriginal spear thrower, Woomera is a town of mystery and intrigue with stories of secrecy and spies, the cold war, rocket launches and top secret weapons.

Woomera Map, Photo courtesy of Roke~commonswiki, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


Woomera Village is a town in the far north region of South Australia, approximately 446 kms north of Adelaide. Constructed in 1947 to house thousands of people moving there as part of the Anglo-Australian Project, Woomera Village is part of the Woomera Prohibited Area and although public access to many areas are prohibited, the Village itself is part of the 'green zone' and the village has been accessible since 1982.

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Woomera Warning Sign, Photo courtesy of Kr.afol, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


There is no doubt that stories about this area have been in abundance for many years. Stories such as secret testing of alien space craft and UFO sightings have peaked the interest of conspiracy theorists for years and have even resulted in the unofficial name of Area 52 being attached to the town.

space race, woomera, prohibited zone, area 51, area 52, science, history, ufos, rocket, outer space, outback, space club, green zone, red zone, anglo-australia project,
Lego Alien Spacecraft, Photo courtesy of Stefan-Xp, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


For those fascinated or even just a little interested in just what the real story of Woomera is, the State Library of South Australia is presenting the exhibition From Outback to Outer Space: Woomera 1955 – 1980 from 23 August to 12 November 2017. The exhibition will feature on the Treasures Wall and the Institute Gallery. Hours are 10 am to 5 pm Monday to Sunday.

Photo courtesy of SLSA Facebook Page


The exhibition tells the story of the early days of Australia's space activity and how Australia earned its place in the Space Club. There are large scale rocket models and space artefacts, including a piece of moon rock, photographs and archival footage, along with oral histories from former Woomera residents. Find out what life was like for the men, women and children who lived in the top secret town way back when.

space race, woomera, prohibited zone, area 51, area 52, science, history, ufos, rocket, outer space, outback, space club, green zone, red zone, anglo-australia project,
Photo courtesy of SLSA Event Page


This exhibition draws from the collections of the State Library of South Australia, National Archives of Australia, Defence Science and Technology Group, South Australian Aviation Museum and the Woomera historical museums. This is a fascinating part of South Australian history; come along a discovery how the Woomera Rocket Range took Australia from the outback to outer space.

The exhibition is free. For further information, please contact the Library on 8207 7250.
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Why? See how Australia entered the space race.
When: 23 August to 12 November 2017 10 am to 5 pm Monday to Sunday
Phone: 8207 7250
Where: State Library of South Australia Institute Building
Cost: Free
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