Island Lagoon Station, Woomera


The Island Lagoon Complex had three distinct components –

1.) The Minitrack site for tracking earth-orbiting satellites.

2.) The Baker Nunn Camera for tracking earth-orbiting satellites. It was run by the Smithsonian.

3.) The DSS-41 Deep Space Network tracking station.

In addition, there was an administrative area, mess, and other support sections.

Peter Moran was the first overall Director of the Island Lagoon Complex.

Norm Garrard succeeded him as Director in early March 1962 until 1965.

(Other details to follow…)

Woomera location

The Woomera facilities were a long way from sources of radio interference!


Island Lagoon Tracking Station was located adjacent to the “Island Lagoon” salt lake in the desert, 25km south of Woomera, South Australia.

The site began life in 1959 and closed in December 1972 after a distinguished and varied tracking career.

DSS41 was the first Deep Space tracking station built outside the USA.


Station map to go here.

Does anyone have a copy of the colour WRE booklet with that station map?

Island Lagoon 2008

Aerial shot of site. Keith Aldworth took this picture of a photo at Woomera Museum.
(DSS-41 is closest to the camera – Minitrack farthest.)
Click image for 120kb version.


Aerial shot from the opposite direction. Minitrack in the foreground, HQ in the middle and DSIF 41 in the distance. (1965.) Largest version here. Photo: Pat Delgado.

Island Lagoon 2008

DSIF-41. Keith Aldworth took this picture of a photo at Woomera Museum.
(note reflection on the glass frame)
Click image for 250kb version.

Booklet cover

Download this Department of Supply information booklet –
with info on DSS-41 and the Baker Nunn camera.

It’s a 1.4Mb PDF – with thanks to Glen Nagle at CDSCC.


Island Lagoon is sometimes confused with the US / Australian Joint Defence Facility Nurrungar, which was 12km WNW of Island Lagoon. The two were quite separate and were built for entirely different reasons. Nurrungar was a ground station for satellites of the US Air Force’s Defence Support Program from 1970 to its close in October 1999.

Island Lagoon is also sometimes confused with Red Lake Tracking Station (also known as ‘Woomera’ during Project Mercury).

Red Lake was 64km north of Island Lagoon.