Maralinga Tours. -- Sorry ! you won't glow in the Dark.

I can remember as a kid, the boffins in their white coats tested our dairy farm for Strontium 90, straight from the cows…. And they found it !. Guess what,.. all the published reports denied the existence of that carcinogen in our food chain. This was near Melbourne !!
It turns out it was like that for the whole time the British were here, and beyond.

When I saw the opportunity to do a 2 day supervised visit with Maralinga Tours, I went for it. It was the best couple of days I have spent for a long, long time and no, my wife and I don’t glow in the dark. The Tour leaders enthusiasm and grasp of history and events is prodigious and their ability to communicate brought a not so proud period of our history to life.
There are a number of books on Maralinga in the 1950’s, but they are not a patch on actually going there. The only access to Maralinga is with Maralinga Tours and their A/c Bus. The tours are well worth the detour to get there and to participate in, quite safely. You literally will be blown away ! (with this experience)
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Reply By: JJAdv - Monday, May 09, 2022 at 03:53

Monday, May 09, 2022 at 03:53
We fley in (from Perth) a few years ago and landed on the airstip and had a private tour.. I agree, wa one of the best things I have done.. I took a geiger counter. The radiation wasnt any higher than the middle of any Australian city.

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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Monday, May 09, 2022 at 09:27

Monday, May 09, 2022 at 09:27
Hi Guys,

I don’t understand what the British being here has to do with the higher levels of Strontium 90, particular in and around Melbourne. We still have British People here today, quite possibly more than back in the 50’s & 60’s. I do not see the connection.

Nuclear testing was also being carried out in the Pacific by the Americans and the French.


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Follow Up By: greybeard - Monday, May 09, 2022 at 10:33

Monday, May 09, 2022 at 10:33
Which way was the wind blowing after the bang? ;)
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Follow Up By: b1b - Monday, May 09, 2022 at 14:09

Monday, May 09, 2022 at 14:09
The winds were blowing from west to east and took particles of Strontium 90 over much of eastern Australia. Strangely enough this was not really advertised. Nuclear testing was also done at the Monte Bello islands off of the WA coast before the EMU and Maralinga tests, the islands are still considered to have above the safe radiation limits. I'm not quite sure what you are referring to about the british people still being here is relevant to.
regards - bruce
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Monday, May 09, 2022 at 15:58

Monday, May 09, 2022 at 15:58
Come on guys read the OPs post 'the British being here' clearly refers to the presence of the British military, government officials and their scientists doing the atomic testing. Both the UK and Australian governments of the time had a callous disregard for the health and well being of the personnel involved and the general Australian population, as the radiation clouds extended over many areas of eastern Australia. They had even less regard for the aboriginal Australians on whose land the testing was carried out. The earlier cleanup attempts were also contemptuous of the Australian government and people.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 09:35

Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 09:35
Yes, I know what the OP was referring to, my comment was a bit “tongue in cheek”.

I for one minute do not condone what both the Australian and British Governments did with the regard to their reckless conduct during and after these Nuclear tests were carried out. However, it was the same Government’s that authorised the construction of some of our best outback roads, The Gunbarrel Highway, the Connie Sue and Ann Beadell Highways, just to name a few. Of course, this does not excuse their behaviour.

As I also stated, both the US and French Governments carried out Nuclear Testing in the Pacific with little or no regard to the consequences of these tests on people living in the region.


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Reply By: b1b - Monday, May 09, 2022 at 14:02

Monday, May 09, 2022 at 14:02
G'day B P, just returned from Maralinga having done the one day tour last week. as you found the guides were well versed in the history of this establishment. I can thoroughly recommend it to any one with an interest in some of the "dark history" of Australia's involvement. I will be going back to do the two day tour, probably early next year.
regards - bruce
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Reply By: Graeme - Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 06:46

Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 06:46
I was there working many years ago as we were operating a survey aircraft there. We had plenty of time to walk around the remains of the township with its cricket pitch and golf course.
I was usually accompanied by the then resident dingo. When i was sitting in the sun reading a book it would slowly come closer once it became more confident.
We were taken to all but three ground zero. Some were quite impressive as there was still some places where the desert floor had been turned into glass. Some data pits were still there with some of the old cabling.
The airport was impressive for it’s size. Our aircraft (Shorts SC7 Skyvan) and our fuel storage barely took up any space on the apron. It was huge.
The runway is several kilometres long and in reasonable condition as I did an inspection each day travelling the whole length.
Maralinga is a place which should be visited if possible. It is another bit of our history for each individual to determine
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 10:13

Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 10:13
One of my former colleagues did a soil investigation in preparation for the hopefully, final and successful cleanup using in-situ vitrification. It was interesting that the federal department in charge asked for a very senior scientist in the form of a retired CSIRO division chief to undertake the work.
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Reply By: Stephen L (Clare) SA - Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 10:48

Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 10:48
I wonder how well informed the new guides are seeing Robin got the flick?

This was Robins backyard and he knew every nook and cranny there like the back of his hand.

All the area was not cleaned up and west of where the range tours take place, the area is still contaminated with Platinum and government scientists do regularly checks.

Also within a stones throw of the airport, there is still Yellowcake in small partials on the ground, but I bet the tour guides do not tell you about that?

You might ask is there third hand hearsay?

We were doing regular trips to Maralinga well before it became a tourist destination and loved every trip and were very privileged to see many places there that the new tourists never get to see.

I can not make any comments about the new guides, but can only speak very highly of Robin and his knowledge of the whole history of Maralinga and if you ask anyone that ever did a tour with Robin, they would all sing praise from the same page.

But yes, the general thoughts on Maralinga are true, it’s a safe place to visit and wish it was like it was all those years ago.
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Follow Up By: Member - Barry P (VIC) - Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 19:47

Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 19:47
maralinga was wondering why robin got the flick, i was there about 10 years ago ,robin gave a really good tour. bye now
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Reply By: GarryR - Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 15:48

Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 15:48
When Judy and I were there, we the only ones. Robin made us more than welcome, and invited us up to the old hospital ( his home) to look around inside. There was much to see in old maps etc, and also had a bbq with him and his son in law Billy and family. Billy was from a northern clan, and made great fun with everything he did. Billy and his wife also came down to thank us for getting the washing off the line when a big wind came through scattering the baby clothes eveywhere. Robin also lent us his ute to drive the runway at night since we had a roof top tent. Now that is an experience. We also jumped in Robin's ute for him to take us on a tour around Maralinga, and also areas not usually visited. We were there for 4 days back then, and an experience I will never forget. I hope the new staff will manage the complex as well as Robin.
location - Warragul -Victoria
life is too short, so out and about enjoy

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Reply By: JJAdv - Wednesday, May 11, 2022 at 19:29

Wednesday, May 11, 2022 at 19:29
My visit a few years ago.

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