Between 1952 and 1963 the British Government, with the agreement and support of the Australian Government, carried out nuclear tests at three sites in Australia – the Monte Bello Islands off the Western Australian coast, and at Emu Field and Maralinga in South Australia.
An official history of the tests by JL Symonds, titled A History of British Atomic Tests in Australia, was published by the Department of Resources and Energy in 1985.
Maralinga was developed as the permanent proving ground site, following a request of the British in 1954. After its completion in 1956, it was the location of all trials conducted in Australia. It was developed as a joint facility with a shared funding arrangement.
Following the two major trials (Operation Buffalo in 1956 and Operation Antler in 1957) there were a number of minor trials, assessment tests and experimental programs dating from 1959 held at the range until 1963. Maralinga was officially closed following a clean-up operation (Operation Brumby) in 1967.
Records relating to Maralinga
Information about Maralinga is located in records created by a number of Commonwealth agencies. This information covers matters such as personnel who served in the area, security arrangements for the site, and technical and survey information (including meteorological reports).