Day 3 – Friday, 27 May 2022 

Today we travel slightly further than normal and do 310ks. Most of the days travel length is in the reasonable category but there are a couple that are longer from necessity due to distances between places. 

The apples we bought yesterday were so delicious that we returned to Foodlands before leaving the township and stocked up on a few more. Here we paid just under a dollar an apple and it will get progressively more expensive the further we travel into the outback area. 

The Peterborough Caravan Park is neatly set out and has a lot of birdlife. 

We left the park about 9:35am. It is a beautiful sunny day with fluffy clouds on the horizon. Russell has convinced me to bring the camera into the front seat. It is a very pleasant drive as there is no wind. 

We eventually made our way to Horrock’s Pass with its 45kph curves surrounded by high granite walls and huge gum trees, but the walls are too close for photos. 

The pass itself is a geographical location in the southern Flinders Rangers, about 6kms west of Wilmington. The pass road travels from Wilmington to the Augusta Highway in the west. 

It was discovered by John Ainsworth Horrocks in August 1846 during the ill-fated exploration of land north of Spencer Gulf (Port Augusta). 

The pass sits at an altitude of 462 metres above sea level. 

John Horrocks was one of the first settlers in the Clare Valley in 1839. He established the township of Penwortham. 

He is remembered more for his manner of death in 1846 when he was accidentally shot. At Lake Dutton his gun fired after the camel he was using for the exploration mission lurched, knocking him and causing the weapon to discharge. 

His injuries were substantial and included some teeth being knocked out by the bullet. He died in his home a month later from gangrene. 

So far on our journey the roads have been in excellent condition with an occasional hazard where heavy rain has eroded the edges of the highways. 

About midday we went through Port Augusta. We stopped on the outskirts at OTR to fuel up. Diesel was $2.09 a litre. 

The route through town was a lot easier than I was expecting and we were soon back on the A87 Stuart Highway and into real Outback Country.  

We can actually see the landscape change before our eyes. There are periods of red loam and greenery, through to shrubs dotted about the landscape, and then through Mallee scrub trees. 

As heavy rain has fallen fairly recently it is unexpectedly green and looks to be in top health. The contrast between the red soil and the greenery is impressive. 

We finally arrived at Woomera about 2:30pm. It is a very busy caravan park but well set out and done in such a way that everyone gets a good spot with ease of parking. 

Shane advised me when I checked in that Happy Hour started at 4pm and I can attest to the fact the prices for drinks are the cheapest in Australia, according to the gentleman next door who was very vocal on his phone call to a mate. 

Woomera is unofficially called Woomera Village and refers to the domestic area of the RAAF Base here. The Village has always been a Defence owned and operated facility. 

It is located on the traditional lands of the Kokatha people, but is Commonwealth owned land within the ‘Woomera Prohibited Area’. 

The village sits approximately 446 kms north of Adelaide and has a population of 146. The population varies between 150 and 200 during the year and depending on Defence needs, however, it can provide accommodation and services for 500 people per day. 

The Village, and its four museum elements, is open to the public all year round. 

Twenty-seven Pastoral stations lie within the Prohibited Area, and four mines. 

Construction of the Village began mid 1947 to cater for thousands moving there as part of the Anglo-Australian Project. The Project lasted for 34 years and saw Woomera become one of the most secret allied establishments in operation during the Cold War. 

In its heyday (1949 – 71) the village population reached 7,000. 

By the end of the 1960s the Project was rapidly winding down following the UK Government’s reduction in further experimental works. 

Between 1947 – 1982 Woomera Village operated as a ‘closed town’. 

Only Australian Government (mainly Department of Defence) personnel and contractors to the Commonwealth are able to live there on a permanent basis. 

As the other Projects in the area began to wind down the Australian Defence Force realised that the Woomera Test Range was the only land-based test range left in the Western world capable of testing the next generation of weapon systems within a fully instrumented, land-based, specialized range. 

It redefined the future role and strategic importance of the Woomera Range Complex within Australia’s long term defence requirements. The caravan park at Woomera is a privately operated public caravan park situated at the entrance to the Village.  

Visitors may also stay at the Defence operated Eldo Hotel.