Welcome from Ric Johnstone, National President Australian Nuclear Veterans Association
Web admin's notice:
VALE D. Ric Johnson who died Christmas Day, 2011.
Welcome to the website of ANVA - the Australian Nuclear Veterans Association. As you peruse this site please keep in mind that it is an on-going project and many parts of it are still under construction. The more you return the more you will find, so come back often and you will find more stories and pictures as the site grows.
The Australian Nuclear Veterans Association came into being in the early 1970’s. At first, it consisted of a group of men who had shared the experience of serving at Maralinga, South Australia in 1956, as members of the Combined Services Task Force, and who met from time to time socially, to share their memories.
The idea of arranging reunions of old comrades had first been mooted during a birthday party held in a tent at Camp 43, in the Great Victorian Desert, during preparation for the tests in the top secret 1956 Buffalo series. Among those present at that party were D Ric Johnstone, Reg Beaver, Lex McDonald, Bob Withers, Bob Elliott, Barry Adlington and Trevor Ward. Others who attended the party, as well as others who served at Camp 43, subsequently joined ANVA. As the organisation grew, men who had served at any of the sites of the British atomic bomb tests in Australia were welcomed as members. But those seven men formed the nucleus of the Association.
A special bond was forged between the men at Camp 43, as is usually the way when people share hardships. They were the advance guard of the highly secret Task Force, sent into the desert to prepare the site at which the four atomic bombs in the Buffalo series were to be exploded all had been forced to sign the secrecy act. These men lived and worked under appalling conditions. It was said - in sardonic jest - that, if the troops at Camp 43 had been convicts, the law would not have allowed them to be treated so harshly. Read on >>