COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT OF AUSTRALIA. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE,
[ATOMIC TESTING IN AUSTRALIA] Danger Radioactive
[s.l. : Commonwealth Government of Australia, Department of Defence], 1961. Colour poster, 350 x 250 mm, offset printed; imprinted in image top right ‘R.A.A.F. POSTER 266 (NOV. 1961)‘; unmounted; some light wrinkling and creasing, otherwise very good.
Trove locates no example in Australian collections of this highly emotive poster, which constitutes a tangible and sinister reminder of the monstrous crimes perpetrated against the Maralinga Tjarutja people by the British and Australian governments in the 1950s and early 1960s.
The British Government tested its first nuclear weapon in Australia at the Montebello Islands off Western Australia in 1952. The first mainland test was conducted in 1953 at Emu Field in far northwest South Australia. Maralinga, also in western South Australia, was then chosen as the main site for atomic testing; a series of major tests was conducted there in 1956-57.
In addition to the major tests, numerous so-called “minor trials” were carried out at various sites around Maralinga between 1953 and 1963. These were radiological experiments which in most cases turned out to be responsible for more radioactive contamination than the major tests themselves. The present poster was presumably issued by the RAAF for use in association with one of these “minor trials” held in 1961: Kittens (uranium trial at Naya 2); Tims (beryllium trial at Kuli TM16, a location which is still off-limits today); Tims (uranium trial at Kuli TM50); Tims (plutonium trial at Naya TM101); Vixen A (plutonium trial at Wewak VK60A); Vixen A (plutonium trial at Wewak VK60C); Vixen A (beryllium trial at Wewak 60A); Vixen A (beryllium trial at Wewak 60B); Vixen B (beryllium trial at Taranaki).