Woomera – Rocket capital of Australia
After a wonderful 4 days on the Googs track I get on the Stuart highway and head towards Woomera. Along the way I stopped in to Lake Hart which is a large salt lake. It is the first salt lake I’ve seen which was made of salt. The base of the lake was made of salt crystals and salt crystals floated on the surface. I put my hand in the water and later once it was dry my whole hand had turned white from all the fine salt powder. The lake was once the site of a salt mine with an old stockpile visible along with wooden infrastructure from the small rail line that was built to run the salt harvesting machinery.
Woomera was a military township where rockets and missiles were developed and tested, actively operating from 1947 to around 1980. It was formerly closed to the public but opened for general use in 1982. There are now only about 200 permanent residents. Many of the houses and buildings which housed the rocket technicians are empty but still being maintained, so it has an odd feel to it.. a ghost town with mowed lawns and well cared for park lands, swimming pool, bowling alley and tennis courts. The RAAF have taken over control of the township and missile range.
There wasn’t very much overall to see and do in Woomera. The Missile Park in the town centre has plenty of old rockets to admire that were either developed or tested on the range, along with a museum to visit and a quick walk around the empty streets. Still it was an interesting place to see how all the soldiers and technicians lived and socialised in their own private township.