Marilinga and British nuclear testing in Australia

Between 1952 and 1963 the British Government, with the agreement and support of the Australian Government, carried out nuclear weapon tests at three sites in Australia - the Monte Bello Islands off the Western Australian coast, and at Emu Field and Maralinga in South Australia.

Between 1984 and 1985, the Australian Government established a Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia. The Royal Commission report, delivered in 1985, found that significant radiological hazards remained at many of the Maralinga test sites.

In response to the Royal Commission’s recommendations, a $108 million rehabilitation project was successfully implemented between 1995 and 2000 to rehabilitate the former nuclear test sites at Maralinga. In 2009, the test site land was returned to traditional owners.

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More information

For further information about British Nuclear testing in Australia, visit the National Archives of Australia website. This details a large and varied collection of documents relating to the conduct of the British nuclear tests in Australia, including at Maralinga and Emu, and on the Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia (1984–1985).

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