Honeysuckle Creek 1971


by Robert Brand

For many years now I have been both helping and also indebted to the team from Honeysuckle Creek for their diligence and time researching many of the space programs that they were involved in. More importantly they have spent significant time documenting some of the space history of OTC. Their website has many pictures and interviews with OTC staff and also details the involvement of many OTC stations including Paddington, Moree and Carnarvon. It in fact has many details not available on this site or the OTVA site.

I did not know the guys from Honeysuckle Creek back then, but these days I have significant contact with them. Colin Mackellar is one of those people and I speak with him every few months. He runs the Honeysuckle Creek website and that is him pictured above. He says: “I’m outside the main fence at Honeysuckle Creek on 9th October 1971. The main gate is to the left…” This was 2 years after the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon and in the middle of the remainder of the Apollo Moon missions.

That is Colin Mackellar again, standing at the sign at the beginning of what is now called “Apollo Road”, leading up to Honeysuckle Creek – in October 1971.

I had had a minor role in wiring up some of the NASA equipment in Sydney (IMC Paddington) for Apollo 11 during my second year as a Technician-In-Training and had taken an interest in the Honeysuckle Creek site since it was the first site to take the feed of the Moon walk and first steps of Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface. One week I decided to take a drive to Canberra and visit a few places, including Honeysuckle Creek. Although the site is now long gone and the dish moved to NASA’s Tidbinbilla site, I remember that trip and even the roads to the site. The dish was put into service at Tidbinbilla and only recently was decommissioned. It remains at the site in permanent stow as a monument.

That is me (left) and some friends at the gate to the site. The dish is in the background. it was 21st March 1971. The dish is up behind the trees. That Corolla was my pride and joy back then a great reliable car that lasted about 20 years as I often saw it around the eastern suburbs of Sydney. Yes I was on P Plates.

Want to know more about OTC’s role in space? Honeysuckle Creek Net does a fantastic job. If anyone from the OTVA would like to reprint a story, they should get in contact with Colin.

The Honeysuckle Creek site: http://honeysucklecreek.net/

Carnarvon: Click Here

How the Moonwalk was seen live in Western Australia: Click Here

OTC Carnarvon Today (before recently opening as museum): Click Here

Apollo Missions and Sydney Video: Click Here

OTC Carnarvon Menu Page: Click Here

TV From the Moon 21sy July 1959: Click Here

Interviews – Wayne Ozarko: Click Here

ARIA: Click Here

Down Under Comes Up Live: Click Here

4 thoughts on “Honeysuckle Creek 1971

  1. I have an identical Toyota Corolla sedan to your previous car. It is Firefly Yellow & has been on Toyota Car Club historical vehicle plates since 2006. It is one of 2000 vintage & veteran cars on display every year at the NRMA Motorfest in Macquarie Street Sydney on Australia Day. My vehicle was purchased new in Port Moresby in January 1971 & flown back to Cairns inside a converted DC3 aircraft in 1972, then driven down to Sydney. It was built in Japan during September 1970 so would be the oldest registered KE20 sedan in Australia. Only modification to my car is the fitting of period hot-wire mag wheels. I have accumulated enough spare parts to keep this going for another 40 years if I live that long myself.

    • Wonderful stuff Neil. I remember that they did not have the emergency blinker pull knob as they were not legal at the time. I went to the trouble of buying a switch for it and was prepared to wire it up my self. When I looked behind the dash to start the job, I found the switch taped up! All I had to do was unwrap it and put it though the dashboard and it all worked. What a waste!

      • Another point about the car – I drove it to many places including Moree where I got a smash windscreen in town – a rock got thrown up from a passing car. The engine is a tiny thing in the middle of the engine bay. So small and so efficient back then. I enjoyed that car. It was nothing to special, but it took it camping and drove it everywhere. It was a real champion of a car.

      • Robert,

        When I was into fixing jumbo sized colour TV sets I used to unbolt the passenger seat & leave it at home while I loaded the TV in past the wide door onto the floor. My 2 sons both had KE20 sedans & my daughter a KE25 coupe. The KE25 & 1 KE20 were written off in smashes. My son sold his KE20 to a young boy at Brooklyn for $500 after I replaced a damaged piston & fitted new rings & bearings. I forgot to tell him the dashboard heater switch was rewired as the engine kill switch & another new heater switch was installed under the dashboard. What thief would expect the kill switch to be in view on the dash & the real heater switch a bit more difficult to access? Well the boys father decided to test the heater out on the F3 going home & they quickly worked how to kill the engine. We were flooded with calls to buy that car in 2006 but all the other buyers wanted a straight car with a clapped out engine & a rust free body so they could do a large engine transplant & throw away the original 1200cc motor & gearbox.


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