Woomera and Roxby Downs Ambulances


The Australian Department of Defence have operated a test facility and village at Woomera since 1947, when the British and Australian governments first surveyed it as a test firing range for missiles.  Woomera is over 480 Km north of Adelaide, and over 170 km north of Port Augusta.  In the early days of the Cold War, the British government established the Long Range Weapons Establishment (LWRE) to develop their own nuclear ballistic missile to deter the Soviets from attacking England.  The Blue Streak Intercontinental Ballistic missile was the primary defensive weapon that the British were perfecting.  The original Woomera test range covered an area of 270,000 square km, and at its peak, there were hundreds of people employed on the range and housed in the village.  More recently, Woomera has accommodated our allies from the United States who provided valuable defence support at Nurrungar, located just down the road from Woomera, and a variety of scientists, technicians, and military personnel from other nations performing research and trials at the range. 


Obviously, the work of developing missiles, rockets, and experimental aircraft with their highly flammable propulsion systems was hazardous, with the risks multiplied by the remote location of the range over five hours away by road from the major teaching hospitals of Adelaide.  Since the establishment of the range, there has been an obvious need for Woomera to have a readily available fire and ambulance service, and more recently the mining activity at Roxby Downs, has ensured that this coverage has been provided at the mine site for the protection of the miner’s and their families.



Fleet 113 is a Ford F-250 diesel Twin-Life Ambulance probably its third life (having an F-100 utility body) as designed by Les Brazier’s Javelin Auto bodyworks in Elizabeth.  This vehicle has the chrome wheels, front mounted light bar and rectangular red and blue repeater lamps mounted on the front wing and grille.  Country vehicles were generally fitted with a robust “Bull-bar” manufactured by G.D. Gitsham of Wingfield SA.  Just in front of the Green SA Ambulance Service text on the side of the module is the weather-protected Clipsal 56 Series socket used to recharge the internal systems while the vehicle is in the garage.  This is a standard SAAS ambulance feature (Photo from the http://www.woomera.com.au website).




Fleet 113 (Registration Number AMB-113) at Woomera showing the grooved wheel arch that marks this as an F100 ute body based module with the twin diesel filler caps visible for the two fuel tanks.  In this view the CB antenna mount, and red grille repeater are visible as well as the rectangular side lights (photo courtesy of Christian Manie)



An F-150 (F150) 4WD Twin-Life Ambulance (with the ID number 19-900 on the passenger door) that is purportedly from Woomera but could also be a Roxby Downs mine vehicle (registration number WLM-820) (Photo supplied by Jeff Anderson SA Fire Museum).



A photo of the Woomera Emergency Services Chevrolet ambulance alongside the WES fire appliance (from James Hill’s web page at http://users.chariot.net.au/~jahill/firebrig1.htm).



A Chevrolet Ambulance of the Woomera Emergency Service (registration number ZIP-378) (Photo supplied by Steven Schuler).



  ++++ Other Woomera and Roxby Ambulances ++++



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