The Secret of Emu Field: Britain's Forgotten Atomic Tests in Australia

Tynan, Elizabeth (2022) The Secret of Emu Field: Britain's Forgotten Atomic Tests in Australia. NewSouth Publishing, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

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Emu Field is overshadowed by Maralinga, the larger and much more prominent British atomic test site about 193 kilometres to the south. But Emu Field has its own secrets, and the fact that it was largely forgotten makes it more intriguing. Only at Emu Field in October 1953 did a terrifying black mist speed across the land after an atomic bomb detonation, bringing death and sickness to Aboriginal populations in its path. Emu Field was difficult and inaccessible. So why did the British go there at all, when they knew that they wouldn’t stay? What happened to the air force crew who flew through the atomic clouds? And why is Emu Field considered the ‘Marie Celeste’ of atomic test sites, abandoned quickly after the expense and effort of setting it up?

Elizabeth Tynan, the award-winning author of Atomic Thunder: The Maralinga Story, reveals the story of a cataclysmic collision between an ancient Aboriginal land and the post-war Britain of Winston Churchill and his gung-ho scientific advisor Frederick Lindemann. The presence of local Aṉangu people did not interfere with Churchill’s geopolitical aims and they are still paying the price. The British undertook Operation Totem at Emu Field under cover of extreme remoteness and secrecy, a shroud of mystery that continues to this day.

Item ID: 73402
Item Type: Book (Research - A1)
ISBN: 9781742236957
Keywords: atomic weapons, nuclear weapons, Britain, Australia, South Australia
Copyright Information: © Elizabeth Tynan 2022
Sensitivity Note: The book discusses aspects of the harm caused to Aboriginal people by the Emu Field tests in the 1950s. I received JCU Human Ethics Committee clearance to speak with Aboriginal people for this research, although, due to Covid and to cultural business, I did not interview any Aboriginal people when I visited Maralinga and Emu Field in April 2021. However, the text of the book was reviewed and cleared by the legal counsel for Maralinga Tjarutja Council before publication.
Research Data:
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2022 23:34
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4303 Historical studies > 430302 Australian history @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280113 Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology @ 100%
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