When I got up close to this I could only think of The Robinson family and Dr. Smith, and the cry goes up “Warning, Warning, Warning!” Lost in Space began in 1965 on US TV, the item in the photo began life in 1964 as part of British/Australian exercise on behalf of the European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO), out of Woomera to test rockets.
This is the remnant of the first (de Havilland Propellers) Blue Streak Rocket launched at Woomera. Originally Blue Streak began life as an independent British program to develop an anti-nuclear missile. Some genius in Whitehall believed that a nuclear deterrent was needed to protect against Soviet threat. To cut a very long story short, the program was discontinued due to cost. It was then picked up between the British and several European countries in parnership with Australia, to be developed instead as a rocket base for launching missiles.
This remnant of the first was one of only ten trial rockets. The first failed and the last five also failed (echoes of Monty Python’s ‘The Holy Grail’ and the interchange between The King of the Swamp and his son Prince Herbert), so maybe not so genius afterall. The program was moved to French Guiana in South America for better positioning, but again, cost and design problems ended the project.
It’s been a long time since the last attempt to launch Blue streak in 1971. ELDO was then merged with the European Space Research Organisation to become the European Space Agency. Only this year it was announced that Australia was going to have its own Space Agency.
This remnant from 64 was only found in 1980, 50 kms south of Giles Weather Station, which is where it is now housed for all to see. I see it more as an abstract sculpture, that’s genius.