Glimpses of Life in Carnarvon


This is the beginning of a page on life in Carnarvon township.


More to come.

Life in Carnarvon

In this 1965 NASA photograph, Carnarvon space trackers Jack Stewart, Colin Death and Frank McRae hold the reins of “St. Mondray”, the racehorse they bought with Wilson Tuckey (publican of Tuckey’s Port Hotel and Shire President – at right).

NASA photo B-65-79, preserved by Lewis Wainwright. With thanks to Cathy Wainwright. April 2022 scan by Colin Mackellar.


This background to the above photo comes from page 93 of Paul Dench and Alison Gregg’s 2010 book “Carnarvon and Apollo: One giant leap for a small Australian town”.

Some of the earliest and older trackers who arrived just before the September 1963 Carnarvon race meeting were residents of the Port Hotel tracker units; they participated enthusiastically in bar-room discussion on focussed on prospective winners and losers.

Their host, licensee Wilson Tuckey, convinced three of them – Jack Stewart, Colin Death, and Frank McRae – to form a racing syndicate with him to buy a racehorse that Wilson would train.

Wilson remembers: “St Mondray … won four of his first five starts and was later depicted in a media article as ‘NASA’s most successful orbiting vehicle’ ... Later in his career his performance was not as spectacular.”


The NASA caption on the back of the photo is not entirely accurate, and took some creative writing! It reads –



“Station engineering personnel pose [with] their prized possession near the station’s TELTRAC PCM (pulse code modulation) antenna systems.

Northwest Australia is sheep ranching country. Australians take great pride in the speed and stamina of their horses. Ranchers from many miles around come to the flat lands of the station’s area to race each Sunday.

The PCM antenna listens for the spacecraft as it comes over the horizon, picks up its radio signals and automatically tracks it through its pass over the station. The coded signals are directed to ground equipment for decoding and display for flight controllers seated in the buildings shown in the background.”

Life in Carnarvon

Wilson Tuckey with his jockey and “St. Mondray”.

NASA photo B-65-103, preserved by Lewis Wainwright. With thanks to Cathy Wainwright. April 2022 scan by Colin Mackellar.

Life in Carnarvon

Robinson Street, Carnarvon, looking south-west, towards the Fascine.

At left: Westfarmers, grocery store, Main Roads Department, Fong’s Drapery.

At right: BP service station, Tuckey’s Port Hotel.

Medium format negative by Hamish Lindsay, 1965. April 2022 scan by Colin Mackellar.

See also:


The Gemini Coffee Lounge.


Karin Krupa’s Story.


Down Under Comes Up Live.
(in the OTC Carnarvon SES section.)