Blowing up paradise
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Blowing Up Paradise. Australia The use of Australia by the British for nuclear testing, the role of government, the impact on the indigenous people. Where did Britain test nuclear weapons?. Role and Responsibility of Government. 1952 – Britain detonated its first bomb on Monte Bello Island

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Blowing Up Paradise

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Blowing up paradise

Blowing Up Paradise

Australia

The use of Australia by the British for nuclear testing, the role of government, the impact on the indigenous people


Where did britain test nuclear weapons

Where did Britain test nuclear weapons?


Role and responsibility of government

Role and Responsibility of Government

  • 1952 – Britain detonated its first bomb on Monte Bello Island

  • 1953 – tests carried out on Emu Field in the Great Victorian Desert region of SA

  • In 1956 and 1957, nine nuclear bombs were detonated at Maralinga – Operation Buffalo

  • The name Maralinga comes from an Indigenous dialect meaning “field of thunder”.


Impact on servicemen

Impact on servicemen

  • British and Australian army officers were exposed to the contamination of the blasts

  • 22,000 British servicemen and 15,000 Australian servicemen were exposed from testing in Australia and the Christmas Islands

  • In 2001, it was revealed that the servicemen were intentionally exposed to the radiation, trenches were dug around the test site for posts, weapon huts and accommodation.

  • 1956, 24 soldiers were ordered to march through a nuclear fallout in order to test protective clothing


Effects

Effects

  • The servicemen report:

  • Hip and spine deformities

  • Teeth that are falling out

  • Poor eyesight

  • Bleeding bowels

  • Post traumatic anxiety and depression

  • Disabled children

    Source: “Maralinga’s afterlife”, The Age, John Keane, 11 May 2003


Impact on indigenous people

Impact on Indigenous people

  • Home of the Pitjantjatjara people

  • Traditional owners were forcibly removed from their land

  • Little signs/warnings so people wandered into the test sites

  • Indigenous people who walked barefoot and slept on the ground were susceptible to radioactive poisoning


Impact on indigenous people1

Impact on Indigenous people

  • Charlie and Edie Milpuddie and their two children walked into a bomb crater after the 1957 test, they were showered and driven 200km away

  • Edie was pregnant, but gave birth to a stillborn baby

  • The people in the area spoke of the spread of blindness, skin rashes and cancers

  • In 1985 an Australian Royal Commission investigated the long term affects of test sites to the health of indigenous people and ex servicemen, health screenings were offered

  • A 1997 report found that servicemen exposed to atomic blasts were 10 times more likely to suffer from cancer than the average population


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