Carnarvon Museum Calls for Help

The Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum Needs our Help.

In a recent post about the Opening of Carnarvon’s new Museum dedicated to NASA and OTC work, Graeme Hanigan said:

“It was interesting to see how quickly the history is rewritten.
The event was overrun by ex NASA ‘Trackers’ as they called themselves and there was lots of ill-informed conversation and confusion about the OTC site. At best I could describe ‘the museum’ is a jumbled collection of ‘space junk’. However the committee is well meaning and I hope that somewhere along the line they get the story straight.
There have been previous failed museums on the site so I wish them all the best. Where is Martin Ratia when you need him?”

I immediately contacted Phil Youd, the Chairman of the museum and found that the fault was not his or the staff. He simply could not find many OTC staff or information. The OTVA and exOTC sites did not come up in the staff’s searches.

He had been putting out calls on his chain of WA radio stations for some time and got no response. Despite the potential for find me (mutual friends, etc) and others, the connection never happened and not it is up to us.

If we want good representation for OTC at the site we need to provide it and fix the so called “rewrite of history”. NASA staff have helped and now we need to.

Phil would like those that worked at the station to let him know where they are located and he will organise interviews with them that will be played at the museum. Les Bateman has been helping him with technical matters and Les puts the dish in stow when there is a storm approaching. It seems the dish may not be in such bad shape as I had been told and there may be commercial opportunities in the future.

Phil has had no contact with the OTVA and would dearly love to have more information. It may be that the Telstra Museum has equipment that can be loaned back to Carnarvon for display under usual museum arrangements. It would be of interest to see if there is anything there. Does anyone know about what Telstra may be holding – I guess it depends what OTC held onto after Carnarvon closed.

All I can say it that it is now up to the OTVA and OTC staff to make the Carnarvon Museum a better place for the OTC story. The chairman has asked us and we need photo, stories and people willing to get in front of a camera.

Graeme Hanigan, your thoughts would be a good start.

Let me know if you can help. 02 9559 6879 or or reply here.

13 thoughts on “Carnarvon Museum Calls for Help

  1. Thanks for taking this up Robert as I think we can do some good here.

    I have some old OTC memorabilia including a scale model of an Intelsat III, salvaged from the Melbourne office, which I am sending across to Phil.

    The purpose of the centre expressed by Buzz Aldrin (which I endorse) is to inspire the young to develop an interest in science and I believe that to do this effectively there needs to be interesting, stimulating, hands on activities. I don’t believe that static displays are going to achieve that.

    I spoke to one of the UWA outreach team about the possibility of turning the dish into a radio telescope. I was advised that the location has far too much radio noise for serious research, however may I suggest exploring the possibility of fitting the antenna with suitable receivers allowing it to be used by schools, either onsite or remotely via the internet, to indulge in a little sky mapping. I am surprised to hear that the antenna is still drivable.

    Anyone with a knowledge of the requirements of radio astronomy feel free to comment.

    I believe that some block diagrams with explanations of the connectivity provided to NASA and the Harold Holt Base as well as the COMSAT and ESA TTC&M contracts would help the public understand the role of the station.

  2. According to its website, the Museum’s address is:

    > Mahoney Road, Carnarvon, Western Australia 6701

    As far as I recall, Leo always spelled it “Mahony” (i.e., no ‘e’). Is this just a typo on the site, or have they spelled his name wrong on the street sign too? If the latter, God help them.

  3. Great to see ex-OTC personnel getting interested in what was always intended to be the joint and separate stories of the OTC and NASA facilities. Until Phil and his team created this second museum, there has been much confusion about Carnarvon’s space history. Now the full story is being presented of Carnarvon’s outstanding role.The more you support the local museum team the more likely it is that Phase Two of the development will occur and the museum’s already substantial collection of space relics can be displayed.

    Paul Dench, Carnarvon Tracking Station 1963-75.

    • Paul, feel free to send me anything that you would like posted to the website re Carnarvon. If there is a discussion group registered on your site and you would like my involvement, I am happy to take part. I may even have an interest in the long term use of the 30m dish if it has potential to operate. You may find this website of interest:

      • Hi
        The Carnarvon Space Museum have negotiated an arrangement with the Shire of Carnarvon to repair the 30m dish to allow it to move in all directions. It is intended to have it moving before May 2017. I would be keen to chat to anyone that may be able utilise the dish for educational purposes that would also allow the museum to display.

        FYI Phase Three of the museum was opened in mid 2016 by Apollo 17 Astronaut Capt. Gene Cernan. This part is now in the old power station building.

        Still looking for photos or videos guys to assist in telling the OTC story!

  4. Maybe this information is not relevant however I thought I might mention it in case it is –
    I was working at Paddington OTC Station at the time and the technical staff had set up a special room exclusively as a NASA relay station – Thus I would say some of the Paddington technical staff should be able to help – Unfortunately my memory fails me trying to remember the names of the staff involved – Hope this can help you
    Roland Cassar ex INTLX controller

    • Roland, that would have been back in 1969 for Apollo 11. Unfortunately the gear was moved to the PMG’s facilities in City South for following missions. Not sure of the reason, but there was pretty much nothing left of the room after the mission. It had no connectivity to Carnarvon at the time. I do appreciate your help in this matter. You can scroll back down the home page and see some of the pictures and video of the NASA room at Paddington ITMC.
      In the ISTC area they had the ARIA room and that liaised with the ground communications aircraft that were needed to talk to the spacecraft on re-enetry. That story is on this site also

  5. Happy to help with any OTC Carnarvon history, if I can. I’m assuming that the musuem has a copy of the video made by OTC when the station closed. It tells the complete story of OTC in Carnarvon.

    I was in Carnarvon from April 1970 until August 1983, when I left to join Aussat. Still there and involved in TT&C work, (though now Optus) but currently on LSL and doing voluntary work at a short wave transmitter site in Kununurra, WA.

  6. Hello
    I am still looking for high quality scans of photos of inside the OTC Satellite Earth Station for the museum expansion. Phase Two of the museum will be opened by Australian Astronaut Andy Thomas on September 19 – 20. Please send photos to

    Tickets will be on sale soon from the Carnarvon Visitors Centre

    Any help is most welcomed

    Kind regards
    Phil Youd

    • Hello again
      Phase Two of our museum opened in Sept 2014. We are now expanding once again (Phase Three) which should be open April 2016.
      I’m still looking for photos of OTC Carnarvon and in particular the power station.
      Any help appreciated.
      Phil Youd

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