McDouall Peak Station homestead between Coober Pedy and Woomera, named after John McDouall Stuart (1815 – 1866), a Scottish explorer who discovered a route through Australia's inland on several excursions in the 1850s and 1860s.
Maralinga Aboriginal word meaning ‘Fields of Thunder’ and the home of the Maralinga Tjarutja people in the Australian outback, about 800 km north-west of Adelaide. During the fifties and sixties of the previous century it became a testing ground for atomic bombs. Seven nuclear tests were conducted by the British in consultation and with the support of the Australian government. The site was also used for hundreds of minor trials, many of which were intended to investigate the effects of fire or non-nuclear explosions on atomic weapons. The test area was officially closed after a ‘cleaning operation’ (Operation Brumby) by the British in 1967, but the Australian Department of Defence continued to test weapons there. Much has been written about the health problems suffered by the servicemen as a result of radiation poisoning. Far less well-documented is the plight of the Aboriginal people who were living close to Maralinga at the time. Many of them were forcibly removed from their traditional lands in the lead-up to the tests. The forced relocations destroyed the traditional lifestyle of the Aboriginal families. The damage was radiological, psycho-social and cultural. About 1,200 Aboriginal people were exposed to radiation during the testing. The radioactive fallout, called ‘puyu’ (black mist) by Aboriginals, caused sore eyes, skin rashes, diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and early death. Long term illnesses such as cancer and lung disease were found in the 1980s. In 1985 the Royal Commission into British Nuclear Test in Australia found that attempts to ensure the safety of Aboriginal people were riddled by ignorance, incompetence and cynism. The boundaries of the test fields were inadequately patrolled and the British dismissed concerns for Aboriginal people’s safety with the heartless comment that ‘a dying race couldn’t influence the defence of Western civilisation’. In November 2014, after a long battle, 1782 square kilometres of agonized soil were officially returned to the Maralinga Tjarutja people, including the sacred Ooldea area. If you look closely, you can see the ground is covered with what looks like broken glass, where the soil got so hot it literally melted and turned to silicon. And even after all this time, the natural vegetation still won't grow back.
Miss Wundersitz nice teacher in Woomera, according to Diane Wilde on http://homepage.powerup.com.au/~woomera/memor45.htm where she writes:
‘My husband Peter Wilde was a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force working on Bloodhound (a surface-to-air missele, in the 1950s UK’s main air defence weapon) and associated with colleagues from Ferranti in Wythenshaw near Manchester. We were all posted to Woomera early in 1961. Our two young boys, Christopher and Alexander, were 4 and 2 years old. The journey in an RAF Britannia aircraft via Singapore and Darwin took about three days. By the time we reached Adelaide we were exhausted and bemused. We stayed in Elizabeth for a few weeks before going to Woomera village where we were given a house in Currong Street on the outermost south-east corner looking over the desert. It was searingly hot. Peter and the rest of the team would go to the Range many miles west of the village on most days and I would shop at the only store in town before heading for the swimming pool to spend the day with other wives and their children, trying to keep cool. Christopher had his 5th birthday and started school. He thrived there and adored his teacher, a Miss Wundersitz.’
So, what can be historical accurate, is that once, within the era of DESERT OF GUILT, there has been an adorable miss Wundersitz in a school class in Woomera. All her adventures in DESERT OF GUILT only exist in the imagination of the author.
School class Woomera in the sixties
Nurrungar Aboriginal word for ‘listening’ used by the Australian Department of Defence and the United States Airforce as a name for a spy station, located at the tip of Lagoon Island about 15 km. south of Woomera. Its official area of emphasis was space-based surveillance, in particular the early detection of missile launches and nuclear detonations using U.S. Defence Support Program satellites in geostationary orbits. It was regarded as one of the Soviets’ top ten targets in the event that such an attack would actually take place. The formal designation was Joint Defence Facility Nurrungar. The station was operated by the Australian Department of Defense and served from 1969 to 1999 .
Oz an underground alternative magazine. First published in Sydney, Australia, in 1963. A second version appeared in London from 1967. The magazine printed a mixture of left-field stories, discussions of drugs, sex and contentious political stories.