A Brief History
Woomera was established in 1947 as a joint project with the British
for testing and launching of experimental rockets and missiles.
Later the range was the test and development centre for the European
Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO), and the Europa series of
rockets between 1964 and 1970. Two satellites were placed into orbit
from Woomera, one of which, the WRESAT (Weapons Research
Establishment Satellite), was designed and built in Australia by the
Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO). Australia being
the fourth country in the world to launch it’s own satellite from
it’s own soil (after Russia, United State and France).
Between 1960 and 1972 NASA (National Aeronautics and Space
Administration) operated a deep space tracking station at nearby Island Lagoon
(about 25 km south of Woomera), close to what was the Australian/US
Joint Defence Facility Nurrungar (JDFN).
The testing range which extended across the Great Victorian Desert
into Western Australia, encompassed some 270,000 square kilometres
and is known as the Woomera Prohibited Area,
permits are required from the Area Administrator Woomera to travel
through the area, with the exception of the Stuart Highway and the Coober Pedy William Creek Road which are excluded.
and Woomera Village was a prohibited area for visitors until 1982.
It existed to service the ‘Range’, which is used by the Australian
Defence Forces and other groups. The village is now open to all,
offering many attractions and services to visitors, although it is
still administered by the Department of Defence, who also service the testing range. The range and joint facility
at Nurrungar are prohibited areas.
In November 1999 it was decided to establish a
detention centre for illegal immigrants at Woomera.
Check out our listing of
accommodation. In addition to our listed online travel guide information,
contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more
attractions, tours, local maps and other information.