Orroral Valley Tracking Station, ACT



A proposal to keep Orroral Valley

After Orroral Valley closed in 1985, and the 85 foot antenna had been moved to Tasmania, the site quickly fell into disrepair.

Clive Broomfield wrote this submission to the ACT Parks and Wildlife Department in the hope that the buildings in this isolated valley could be put to good use.

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31st July 1987

PROPOSED EDUCATION RECREATIONAL CENTRE IN ORRORAL VALLEY

With new suburbs springing up and the population of the ACT continuing to increase, the school population is now in the vicinity of 90,000 students. The only educational and recreational camps in the ACT are Cottermouth, Birrigai and Camp Sturt which are permanently overbooked, so that each week hundreds of students have to travel interstate to attend suitable camps elsewhere.

However, within the ACT there is a location that could be converted into a very attractive recreational camp and that location is the disused Orroral Valley Tracking Station. Before it closed some years ago the tracking station had a population of around 200 people, which means that the basic facilities exist but due to the long period of disuse will need considerable effort to restore.

Our proposal then, is to convert the Orroral Valley Tracking Station into a Community Educational and Recreational Centre. Accommodation will be of the ski lodge style, with users providing their own sleeping bags and food etc. All facilities for cooking, washing and sleeping will be provided. The project rooms will be converted into classrooms with whiteboards and furniture. Instruction in many subjects such as Geology, Astronomy and Ecology could be conducted in classrooms and reinforced with field experience. Indoor and outdoor recreation facilities can be developed and as the valley is 10 kilometres long, within Namadgi National Park and surrounded by the Brindabella Mountains, there is unlimited scope for bush walking, climbing and orienteering.

If you agree with the desirability of this proposal we earnestly request a letter of support pledging both financial and working assistance to get the project moving.

The working support from the staff, senior students and parents could be in the form of specialised skills (plumbing, carpentry, electrical etc.) or general working parties.

Financial support would be placed in a trust fund and returned to you in the form of reduced cost of hiring the facilities in the future.

Please help us to make this project a success.

Yours faithfully

Clive Broomfield

 

The Proposal also offers the following advantages:

Historic Site: A section be set aside to commemorate the role of Australia in the space industry, the twenty years from Vanguard to Shuttle.

Security: The site will be manned at all times to prevent further vandalism.

Site Maintenance:
The building and area be maintained and improved.

Local Work: Caretaker will be hired and local support required to run the camp. During the restoration phase considerable work could be done by out of work youths on work experience and community work from the courts under expert supervision.

Other users: When the Centre is operational Parks and Wild Life could use the facilities also the Federal Police for their Mountain Rescue Service. As it is situated in the mountains it could be used by interstate organisations for conferences etc.

Members: Members of the original site maintenance crew have showed interest in providing expert advice on the restoration of services.

Power: Could be provided to the new Space Centre and the Laser Centre on the mountain thereby reducing the costs to all.

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Sadly, by 1990 the site was badly vandalised and the buildings were demolished.

Here are some photos taken by Clive in the 1970s –

 

Orroral Valley

The 30 foot antenna.


Orroral Valley

The Ops Room during a mission.


Orroral Valley

The rocks at the entrance to Orroral Valley.