Tynan, Elizabeth: Atomic Thunder: The Maralinga Story

Elizabeth Tynan

Atomic Thunder: The Maralinga Story, NewSouth, Sydney, 2016

How could a democracy such as Australia host another country’s nuclear program in the midst of the Cold War? In this meticulously researched and shocking work, journalist and academic Elizabeth Tynan reveals how Australia allowed itself to be duped. Maralinga was born in secret atomic business, and has continued to be shrouded in mystery decades after the atomic thunder stopped rolling across the South Australian test site.  This book is the most comprehensive account of the whole saga, from the time that the explosive potential of splitting uranium atoms was discovered, to the uncovering of the extensive secrecy around the British tests in Australia many years after the British had departed, leaving an unholy mess behind.  (blurb)

The book is reviewed for Honest History by Richard Broinowski. Tynan summarises the main points from the book. She talks to Phillip Adams and Richard Fidler. Joanna Mendelssohn writes about an associated art exhibition, Maralinga: Black Mist, Burnt Country. Also from Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore in Guardian Australia. Review in The Australian and on Fairfax. Brian Toohey launches the book. Honest History’s earlier post. Lisa Dethridge writes about Collisions, a movie about Nyarri Nyarri Morgan’s first contact with Europeans – through the Maralinga tests. More on Collisions from Quentin Sprague in The Monthly. Alison Broinowski on Homeground including Collisions and Black Mist. A note about Sylvia Martin’s biography of Aileen Palmer, which includes a poem Palmer wrote about Maralinga. Maralinga photographs from the early days. More recent photographs. Howard on Menzies omits Maralinga. Nic Maclellan provides context in this extract from his book about British nuclear testing in the Pacific in the 1960s. The book can be downloaded here. A New York Times article on Maralinga tourism.

Black Mist Burnt Country is a national touring exhibition project, which commemorates the 60th anniversary of the British atomic test series at Maralinga. It revisits the events and its location through the artworks by Indigenous and non-Indigenous contemporary artists across the mediums of painting, print-making, sculpture, installation, photography and new media.

10 October 2016 updated

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