Woomera was established to accommodate and support scientists, technicians and workers who came to the Woomera Rocket Range following its development in 1947 as a joint Australian and British project for testing experimental rockets, weapons and missiles.
Later the range was used as a test and development centre for the joint European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO) – a partnership between the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and France. Between 1964 and 1970 Belgium, Holland and Italy launched the Europa series of rockets from the Range.
Woomera, which is named from the Aboriginal word for a spear-thrower, has also supported the Narrungar tracking station established under the joint defence program between the Australian and American governments. This facility closed in 2000.
During the 1960s Woomera’s population would fluctuate between 3,000 and 5,000 depending on the test programs but with the closing of the Narrungar facility has reduced to a present level of 400.
The establishment of the Detention Centres for asylum seekers did provide some population support but these have now been closed.
Until 1982 access to Woomera was restricted to the public but it is now an open town and the Commonwealth Department of Defence, which administers the town through the support contractor BAE Systems, welcomes visitors to view and enjoy its significant and impressive facilities.
Essential town services are managed through the Woomera Board and the OCA provide limited assistance through grants and subsidies including support for the local Youth Group. The Woomera Board meets on a monthly basis.
Exclusion periods in the following zones of the Woomera Prohibited Area are now underway:
- Green Zone (1 September 2019 to 5 October 2019);
- Amber Zone 1 (2 September 2019 – 13 October 2019); and
- Amber Zone 2 (2-29 September 2019).
Access to the Stuart Highway will be suspended at various times from 1 September 2019 to 5 October 2019.
On days of suspension, the highway will be closed around 7:00 AM and will re-open in the late afternoon, please note this is subject to change.
Signs will be posted at the following locations:
- just north of Glendambo (at the Woomera Prohibited Area boundary); and
- approximately 60km south of Coober Pedy (in the vicinity of Mt Penrhyn).
No further specific information or dates regarding the suspension of access to the Stuart Highway are able to be provided at this time.
The Woomera Test Range may be able to provide more specific guidance 24-48 hours in advance.
If you are intending to travel in the affected areas, please contact the Woomera Test Range: 0477 726 537 or 08 8674 3370.
Please click here to see the map for an overview of the Green Zone closures and suspension access to the Stuart Highway.
Please refer to the updated website for further details and geographic coordinates: http://www.defence.gov.au/woomera/exclusionperiods.htm.