Sunday, March 27, 2011

Honeysuckle Creek

Honeysuckle Creek, 32km SSW of Canberra city in what is now Namadgi National Park, is the location of a former space tracking station with an important claim to fame: it was Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station that received and relayed the pictures of Neil Armstrong taking his first steps on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 landing in 1969.

The tracking station was opened in 1967, and operated until 1981. The antenna (the 'dish') was dismantled and relocated to Tidbinbilla Deep Space Station further north and closer to Canberra, and the buildings were abandoned to vandals before being demolished in 1992.

When we last visited quite a few years ago, there was nothing but the road and the foundations & floors of the buildings. When we headed out there today much had changed: there are now maintained camping grounds, a picnic shed and composting toilets, as well as steel information panels to explain the significance of the site. And there are the 'footprints' of astronauts. Some in panels like in the photo, and others painted on the concrete floor, leading visitors around the complex. It's one of the lesser-known places close to Canberra, but definitely worth the visit.

Honeysuckle Creek Campgrounds
Apollo Road, off Naas Road south of Tharwa, ACT

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