Several years ago we took a road trip to Woomera in South Australia, wanting to see the fabled rocket-testing, weapons testing site – we were surprised at what we found. Woomera, the traditional country of the Kokatha people is now owned by the Defence Department. It's essentially a company town, rather than a country town.
Woomera is a place that occupies a singular and contradictory position in the Australian cultural landscape. It is a place of actual and imaginary space junk, an ageing Rocket Park and a town with a shrinking population. It was once the centre of Australia's defence program - testing rockets and sending Australia's first satellite into orbit. It later housed the infamous refugee detention centre. At its peak 4,000-7,000 people lived there.
Today there are about 200 people living in a purpose-built town surrounded by the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA). In many ways Woomera exemplifies modernity's contradictions and paradoxes.
Radiophonic essay, Space Junk, broadcast by ABC Radio National 360Documentaries.