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Thread: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

  1. #71

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    Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

    At last, mind you it is only 50 to 60 years after the event [or so], The Oz government just had to wait till the numbers dwindled right down and most of the surviving participants are up around the 80 mark or older .

    Budget 2017: Veterans exposed to radiation welcome Government decision to grant Gold Card access


    Members of the Ex-Services Atomic Survivors Association at the announcement in Mandurah, WA

    Former Australian servicemen and women who were exposed to radiation from nuclear bombs have welcomed the Federal Government's decision to give them a veterans' Gold Card.

    The Gold Card, which covers health costs, had not been available to those sent to Hiroshima in the 1940s and those who were at British test sites in Western Australia and South Australia.

    But that is set to change, with $133 million allocated for survivors in the federal budget.

    Speaking in Mandurah, the Member for Canning and former SAS captain, Andrew Hastie, said there was a high cancer rate among the RAN sailors sent to the Montebello Islands off the coast of Western Australia.

    "These men worked on the islands only four years after the first atomic test with no protective gear," he said.

    "Many were on [the] deck of their ships and fully exposed during a subsequent test, in very close proximity to the explosion.

    "Of the surviving 51 members who have been surveyed, 43 per cent have had some kind of cancer. Of the 28 who have already passed on, 14 have died from cancer.

    "This is a story of young Australians who answered their country's call during the period of national service — they served in dangerous and hazardous conditions in the Montebello Islands."

    Read on at the link.....

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  3. #72

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    Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

    This a follow-on to the offshore tests conducted by the British............................


    On 3 October 1952, a nuclear device with a reported yield
    of 25 kilotons exploded just off Trimouille Island in the
    Montebellos group some 130km off the Pilbara coast of
    Western Australia. It was the first of several nuclear tests
    conducted in Australian territory in the 1950s, and the first
    ever conducted by the United Kingdom.
    British planning for an atomic test began in 1949 and in
    September 1950, an informal approach was made to
    Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies regarding the
    possibility of testing an atomic device in Australian
    territory. In March 1951, the British government made a
    formal request to Menzies to conduct the test, designated
    Operation HURRICANE, at the Montebello Islands
    although the final decision to conduct the test there was
    not arrived at until that December.

    HMAS Karangi had already made a preliminary survey of
    the islands in November 1950 and HMAS Warrego (II)
    conducted a more detailed survey in July and August
    1951. Karangi and HMAS Koala laid moorings and placed
    navigational aids in the area in early 1952 in anticipation
    of the arrival of the RN/RAN fleet, designated Task Force
    4 (TF4), assembled to conduct the test. The Australian
    government announced the intention to test a British
    nuclear device in Australia in February 1952.

    A transit camp was established at Onslow on the Western
    Australian coast for personnel and stores travelling to the
    Montebellos. Construction work was carried out on
    Trimouille Island by No 5 Airfield Construction Squadron,
    RAAF, and a detachment of Royal Engineers, supported
    by Karangi and HMAS Mildura. They built five reinforced
    blockhouses and around 80 concrete foundations for
    scientific instruments as well as piers, hardstands, roads
    and towers. Submarine and shore cables were laid, and a
    camp, station building and laboratories were erected on
    Hermite Island some 5km south-west of the test site.
    The RAN component of TF4 comprised a variety of ships
    including the aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney (III), with 805
    and 817 Squadrons embarked.

    HMA Ships Tobruk (I), Hawkesbury, Macquarie, Murchison, Shoalhaven and
    Mildura carried out patrol work while the smaller vessels
    Karangi, Koala, Limicola, Reserve, Wareen, MRL 252 and
    MWL 251 performed useful work laying moorings,
    marking channels and providing valuable logistic and
    personnel support. Hawkesbury (I), in a position some 28
    miles to the south-east of ground zero, became the
    closest RAN unit to the detonation, where she conducted
    security and safety patrols before and after the test.
    Culgoa performed the duty of a weather ship for the main
    force, specific meterological conditions being absolutely
    essential for the conduct of both the HURRICANE and
    MOSAIC tests. Some of these ships embarked national
    servicemen undergoing training as part of their regular
    sea training program. For many, it was their first time at

    The remainder of the article and photographs ...go to the link

  4. #73

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    Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

    ‘Every spear is important’: TARNANTHI’s Kulata Tjuta exhibition

    October 5, 2017 by John Neylon

    The story of Kulata Tjuta Project takes a dramatic twist in TARNANTHI 2017 with a remarkable installation at the Art Gallery of South Australia about the Maralinga atomic testing program and generations of people caught in the blast. John Neylon recently travelled to the APY Lands to meet the artists and to hear their stories.

    “Every spear is important.” This is Peter Mungkuri speaking. He is one of the senior men associated with the Kulata Tjuta Project. He reminds us that re-establishing the practice of spear-making is far more than maintaining tradition for its own sake, or the art market.

    The Project was formally established in 2010 at Tjala Arts in the Amata by a number of senior men as a means of cultural maintenance, teaching young Community men the skills of carving (wood) and (spear) production.

    Full text and photographs at the link

  5. #74

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    Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia


    Australia’s nuclear testing before the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne should be a red flag for Fukushima in 2020

    The scheduling of Tokyo 2020 Olympic events at Fukushima is being seen as a public relations exercise to dampen fears over continuing radioactivity from the reactor explosion that followed the massive earthquake six years ago.

    It brings to mind the British atomic bomb tests in Australia that continued until a month before the opening of the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne – despite the known dangers of fallout travelling from the testing site at Maralinga to cities in the east. And it reminds us of the collusion between scientists and politicians – British and Australian – to cover up the flawed decision-making that led to continued testing until the eve of the Games.

    Read more: Sixty years on, the Maralinga bomb tests remind us not to put security over safety


  6. #75

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    Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

    World spotlight shines on Maralinga horror

    Source: AAP

    1 DAY AGO

    An Australian-born international group awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize hopes the federal government will sign on to a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.

    Sue Coleman-Haseldine was a toddler crawling around in the dirt when the winds brought the black mist.

    Her white nappies on the washing line were burnt.

    It was in the 1950s when the British began testing nuclear weapons at Maralinga in the South Australian outback.

    The legacy of the bombs dropped continues to haunt the 67-year-old Aboriginal grandmother.

    "We weren't on ground zero at Maralinga, otherwise we would all be dead," she told AAP.

    "I was born and grew up on a mission at Koonibba, but the winds came to us."

    Ceduna, the main township before the Nullarbor, is the cancer capital of Australia, Ms Coleman-Haseldine says.

    She's had her thyroid removed and will be on medication for the rest of her life.

    Her 15-year-old granddaughter is also battling thyroid cancer.

    There are birth defects and cancers right across the community.

    "It's changed our genes," she said.

    "These diseases weren't around before the bombs."

    On December 10, Ms Coleman-Haseldine will be in Oslo for the Noble Peace Prize award ceremony.

    The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is being recognised for its work to achieve a treaty-based ban on nuclear weapons.

    So far 122 countries have adopted the treaty, excluding Australia [] and countries with nuclear weapons - the US, UK, Russia, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel.

    Only three countries have ratified the treaty and 50 are needed for it to become international law.

    ICAN is a grassroots movement that began in Carlton, Melbourne more than a decade ago.

    In Norway, Ms Coleman-Haseldine will tell the story of her people and their contaminated land.

    "You've got to keep the past alive to protect the future," she said.

    Ms Coleman-Haseldine hopes Australia will reverse its opposition and sign the treaty.

    The Turnbull government has ruled that out but the Labor Party will debate the issue at its national conference next year.

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  8. #76

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    Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia

    Just a small quote from ICAN...................

    Australia’s conflicted position on disarmament

    The Australian government has resisted calls to ban nuclear weapons, as it claims that US nuclear weapons enhance Australia’s security. →

    Here is the link to the ICAN website.....................worth reading..................if interested.

  9. #77

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    Re: British Nuclear Testing in Australia


    December 9 2017

    My people are still suffering from Australia's secret nuclear testing

    Sue Coleman-Haseldine

    Sue Coleman-Haseldine is a Kokatha woman who lives in Ceduna, South Australia. This is an extract of her speech in Oslo marking the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN.​

    And I was born just before the desert lands to our north were bombed by the deadliest weapons on Earth in an extensive, secretive and devastating manner by the Australian and British governments.

    In the 1950s, areas known as Emu Fields and Maralinga were used to test nine full-scale atomic bombs and for 600 other nuclear tests, leaving the land highly radioactive. We weren't on ground zero, but the dust didn't stay in one place. The winds brought the poison to us and many others.

    Aboriginal people, indeed many people at that time, knew nothing about the effects of radiation. We didn't know the invisible killer was falling amongst us. Six decades on, my small town of Ceduna is being called the Cancer Capital of Australia. There are so many deaths in our region of various cancers. My grand-daughter and I have had our thyroids removed, and there are many others in our area with thyroid problems. Fertility issues appear common.

    But there has been no long-term assessment of the health impacts in the region and even those involved in the botched clean-ups of the test sites have no recourse because they cannot prove their illness is linked with exposure to nuclear weapons testing.

    The impact of the Maralinga and Emu Fields testing has had far-reaching consequences that are still being felt today. Ask a young person from my area, "What do you think you will die from?" The answer is, "Cancer, everyone else is".

    I have lived my life learning about the bomb tests and also learning that the voice of my people and others won't always be understood or heard. But I learnt from old people now gone that speaking up is important and by joining with others from many different places and backgrounds that our voices can be amplified

    Through these steps I found the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), or perhaps ICAN found me.

    ICAN – as an organisation, as a collective of passionate, educated people working for a clear goal – has been so important to me. To know that my story and my voice helps bring recognition to the past and can shape the future of nuclear prohibition has strengthened my resolve.

    Being involved in ICAN has been a double-edged sword. On one hand and for the first time in my life, I no longer feel alone or isolated. I have met others from many parts of the globe who have similar stories and experiences and who are passionate advocates for a nuclear-free future.

    But the flip side of this is my understanding of just how widespread and just how devastating the nuclear weapons legacy is across the globe. To learn that so many weapons still exist sends fear to my heart. ICAN is a worthy winner of the Nobel Peace Prize – in a short time we have gathered support for a treaty to finally outlaw nuclear weapons and help eliminate the nuclear threat.

    The vision was reached in part with so many nations adopting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in July 2017. And we should celebrate this win and the opportunity to work together to stop the suffering and assist countries to make amends to nuclear weapons victims by acknowledging the permanent damage done to land, health and culture.

    Unfortunately, the Australian government, along with other first world nations, didn't even participate in the treaty negotiations, and they haven't signed the treaty yet, but over time we feel confident they will.

    A lot has changed since I was born. Aboriginal people now have the right to vote in Australia, but still we battle for understanding about our culture and the Australian nuclear weapons legacy. My home is still remote and most of my people still poor. But we are also no longer alone. We have the means and the will to participate – to share and to learn and to bring about lasting change.

    ICAN's work is not done, our work is not done. We will continue to work together. A world without nuclear weapons is a world we need and are creating. I stand here in hope and gratitude for the opportunity to participate. I stand here with pride and I stand here for our future and the generations to come.

    From....."The Sydney Morning Herald"

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