Heritage protection for fascinating piece of NT history


A 1960s satellite-tracking antenna in Gove that played an important part in Australia’s early space research and development has been officially listed as a heritage object.

The parabolic dish antenna was one of five with an XY tracking axis mount, originally installed at the Gove Down Range Guidance and Telemetry Station at Gulkula, under a program led by the European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO).

The antennae were used to track the path of rockets launched from Woomera in South Australia as they passed over the Territory.

At the conclusion of the project in the early 1970s, most of the antennae were relocated to a defence facility near Adelaide.

The Arnhem Land Historical Society, supported by the local Gumatj Aboriginal Corporation, began lobbying for the return of the once state-of-the-art technology and, following more than a decade of negotiations and fundraising, the last remaining 20-tonne antenna was finally returned to Gove from its South Australian graveyard.

The Arnhem Land Historical Society is now planning to reassemble the antenna on the grounds of its heritage site, about 20 kilometres north of the original telemetry station.

satellite-tracking antenna

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