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Woomera - Cities, Towns and Localities

Only 5 hours drive from Adelaide and 8 km north of Pimba, is Woomera. The name ‘Woomera’ comes from the Aboriginal name for spear launcher. It is a flat piece of wood with a wooden peg at one end. A spear would be placed on the woomera and both spear and woomera is held in one hand, parallel to the line of sight. The woomera is then used to launch the spear.

Aircraft and Missile Park

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.

Canberra - a twin engined comber/photo reconnaisance aircraft at the Aircraft and Missile ParkWoomera 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 Woomera 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.

Information Centre icon

Woomera Heritage Centre
Dewrang Avenue
Ph/Fax: 08 8673 7042

Port Augusta Visitor Information Centre

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Woomera Attractions

Petrel Supersonic Target RocketWoomera Heritage Centre • Ph/Fax: 08 8673 7042
A must see for visitors that includes the Heritage Centre Museum and refreshment. As you enter the town, you are presented with the Missile Park, that include the a Canberra Bomber, a Meteor Jet, and the ‘Black Arrow’ rocket. The Woomera Heritage Museum looks at the history of the rocket range and the Woomera township. There is a scale model of the launching site, photographic display of once previously classified images.

The museum has a room dedicated to the Joint Defence Facility Nurrungar (JDFN). The former joint Australia/USA space satellite tracking station, which was located in the Nurrungar Prohibited Area , about 15 km south of Woomera. Videos are shown in this room on the history of JDFN, the progress of upcoming rocket launches, and a video from the Australian Space Research Industry (ASRI).
Heritage Museum and Missile Park
Displays a number of replicas and remnants of rockets etc.

Petrel Supersonic Target Rocket The Petrel Supersonic Target Rocket was developed by Bristol Aerojets in Britain to be used as a target during the development of the Royal Navy’s Seawolf surface-to-air missile. The petrel target service closed in August 1975 at the conclusion of the Seawolf evaluation trials.

Blue Steel Tested from 1956-1964. Air to ground missile. This missile was designed to be carried by British V Bombers. It could carry a conventional or nuclear war head. No missiles launched at Woomera had nuclear war heads. It was stowed underneath the bomber aircraft and released miles from the intended target. Its rocket motor was ignited some seconds after release.
Baker ObservatoryWoomera Astronomy Group
• PO Box 161, WOOMERA SA 5720 • Ph: 08 8673 7042
View the heavens at night, like you never seen them before. By appointment only. The Woomera Astronomy Group was founded in 1994 by a small, enthusiastic group of local amateur astronomers. The friendly staff at the Woomera Heritage Centre will be pleased to assist you in booking a night at Baker Observatory.

To see some fantastic shots taken from Baker Observatory by Darren Chase, click here...
Woomera Village MemorialWoomera Village Memorial Erected to commemorate the founding of the Woomera Village in November 1947, with the original survey mark placed adjacent to this point. Unveiled Australia Day 1967.

Kistler Aerospace Orbital flights tests and commercial operations will be conducted from Kistler’s commercial spaceport here at Woomera, and performed by Kistler Woomera and Spaceport Woomera, wholly owned Australian subsidiaries of Kistler Aerospace Corporation. Check the Kistler Aerospace Corporation website for further information.

John Henry Davies Grave Site Opposite the old ruins, there is a grave of a stockman. The headstone states: “Sacred to the memory of John Henry Davies, 12 January 1884, aged about 24 years. This stone is erected by his fellow bushman living at Mt Eba Station.” Davies is believed to have died of thirst and dysentery. His headstone was discovered by a couple of British soldiers searching for missile wreckage after a test launch in 1954.

Phillip Ponds Ruins • Arcoona Outstation
Near the site of the original contractors camp for the building of Woomera Village.
Breen Park A great place for the family, with lush lawns, shady trees, native birds, electric BBQ’s, playground and stage/soundshell.
Len Beadell Memorial Situated in the centre of the main shopping centre and built in memory of the man who has been called ‘the Last of the True Australian Explorers’. Learn all about Len Beadell’s life story in the Heritage Centre.
Butement Square Located in the centre of the township is Butement Square, a popular rest area for visitors passing through Woomera. The square includes a War Memorial and Memorial Plaque and a JDFN 25th Anniversary Plaque. There are shopping facilities opposite the park, as well as a fenced playground.


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