Keeping the Memory Alive

35th Messages

 July 2004
35th Anniversary
of the First Lunar Landing


From N.A. Armstrong

Date: Mon, 17 May 2004

To all assembled for the 35th anniversary of Apollo 11

Greetings all you Apollo veterans and friends:
It does not seem possible that 35 years have passed since we worked together to pull off the impossible.

They were exciting times with long days and nights and unlimited dedication from everybody on the project.

I want to take the opportunity to send my thanks once again for all you did to help make it happen.

I send my best for good health and happiness to each of you.

Neil Armstrong

From Chris Kraft

To those in Australia who participated in the success of Apollo 11.

Fortunately, the world does remember that we landed men on the moon and returned them safely to earth in July of 1969. It was a glorious occasion then and today seems even more glorious. In fact, in the year 2004, it appears as a surreal event.

There are countless people all over this planet that contributed to the success of the Apollo program. None more prominent than those in Australia who planned, managed and operated the network facilities located around the Australian countryside and provided impeccable and tireless support to bringing the information and live television from the Apollo missions to all of the people on earth.

It was indeed a pleasure to work with those of you in Australia and to have known so many of you personally as those events took place. I reflect on the visit that Tecwyn Roberts and I made to your country in 1967 when there was considerable doubt after the tragic death of the three astronauts at Cape Canaveral that the Apollo Program would continue. We conveyed to you then that we and the people in the US would persevere and we received from you the overwhelming guarantee that you would be there and ready when we needed you. All of you certainly fulfilled that promise.

We in Flight Operations and particularly the Flight Control team wish you all well.

Christopher C. Kraft, Jnr.

Director, Flight Operations—1962 to 1971
Director, Johnson Space Center—1972 to 1982

From Pete Camilleri

Unfortunately I am in Athens for 3 months working for the Olympics Host Broadcaster.
I wish everyone a terrific celebration, and would have been there otherwise.

From Mick Coffey

Hi fellow Trackers. Greetings from Carnarvon. Hope you all have an exceedingly wonderful time on this occasion.
Best wishes to Terry and Paul for “keeping the memory alive”.
Will be thinking of you while kayaking down the fascine.

Cheers, Mick & Sue Coffey.

From Ernie Cooke

I know you will celebrate in style and I would love to be with you, take some photos please. We are having a Lunch here on the day (mostly HSK bods naturally).

May final LOS be a long time coming.

From Alan Gilham

Hello Everyone.

I feel sorry to have to miss meeting everyone I knew during my time in Carnarvon. Fortunately my memories are strong about the times and events which I experienced there.

One thing will always stand out and that is the feeling that I was part of a worldwide organization all working together for a common purpose and the basic unity of effort by everyone at the Tracking Station.

It has been Jean's and my pleasure to meet in recent years Jim and Alison Gregg, Paul and Joan Dench, Viv and Maria Batty. We learnt with sadness that Maria had recently died and that several other people known to us had also passed on.

If Terry and yourselves can make a fitting memorial to all those people who “upped sticks” and moved with their families to a remote part of the coast of Western Australia, becoming part of the local community and taking part in what could be called the great adventure of the century, then it will be a just recognition of the endeavours of everyone.

Regards to everyone.

From Peter Headford

To: Fellow Trackers, 1964 to 1968

Greetings. It is now 40 years since we started our operations at Carnarvon and it’s good to learn that there are still a lot of us around. I am now in my 70th year and as far as I know, am in good health. I retired from Telstra in 1995 and moved from Sydney to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. I would be pleased to hear from any of you and have an electronic chat. My e-mail address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Please accept my apologies for being absent from the dinner on 24th.

From Hamish Lindsay

Greetings to all the CRO trackers.
I am sorry I could not make it, but an unexpected family commitment has intruded on all my plans. Speaking of family, we all have great memories of Carnarvon—our two daughters were born there. The kids (now around their forties) still remember what a great sandpit they had to play in!

My memories of CRO are all good - we had a great time and my experiences during Gemini's first space walk, the 14 day mission, and the space rendezvous are among my greatest space tracking highlights. I was one of the first to arrive on the site, beginning work as the station telephonist. At the time we all suffered a temporary mains power generator which could not cope with supplying the telex equipment and the Thermofax copier at the same time — so the copier could only be used when there were no twx’s in progress.

When the equipment arrived we began to build the station and I took on my role as the Voice Receivers, Timing Technician and backup Comtech with Keith Powers, under engineer Peter Headford. For the record I got much more kick out of the Flight Control teams working at the station than the remote sites we became during Apollo.

So I am proud to have been part of the CRO team when we helped create world history, and became so fed up reading about Apollo and what the American's did, I felt our role should be documented so wrote “Tracking Apollo to the Moon” which gave equal billing to the Mercury and Gemini missions, and featured CRO. I had more about Carnarvon in the original draft, but the London publishers told me to reduce the Australian content and make it more international. Too bad no Australian publishers would take the project on— but perhaps this may be rectified with Paul Dench’s current efforts.

I hope you all have a great celebration, and we will be thinking of you.

From Ian & Tanya Murphy

Tanya and I look back on our Carnarvon days as some of the most exciting times in our lives. The exciting changes at that time prepared us well for the rapidly changing technology we see today.

The many friendships we made in Carnarvon have endured throughout the intervening period. I cannot think of any other large group of individuals who were so competent and also so easy to get along with, particularly Bill Brennan and the magnificent “B Shift Team”.

How could we ever forget those feasts that Shirley offered in the Tracking Station canteen. Where else could you have obtained such great meals for 35 cents at that time? Certainly not the Port Hotel!
Many thanks to you Terry and all the others who have kept the dream alive.

Have a "blast" at the reunion dinner! Tanya and I will have a (few) quiet drinks on the day and will celebrate with you.

Kind regards

Ian-Telemetry/COMMS (B Shift)
Tanya- SPAN/Computers

From Dave Rodda

Hello Trackers!

This message is being sent from NE China a place called Changyi where I am teaching for the rest of this year. It is of course a totally different lifestyle and conditions are a far cry from Perth. A world away almost, but the students are very keen indeed and I am being given (almost literally) the red carpet treatment. I am teaching English to students between the ages of 11 and 16 (roughly equivalent to yrs 8/10 in Perth). At present I am running the Summer School which is teaching two classes of students intensive English. These are only "small" classes of about 50 (normal size 65/75).

I am living in a roomy apartment with all amenities provided, including air conditioning (thank goodness). It is very hard to believe at present that it snows here in the winter!

I hope you all have a very enjoyable night and I am very sorry to be missing the reunion.
Please have a drink for me.

Regards to all of you, with many happy memories.

Dave Rodda

From Phil & Sally Vigilante

From David Wigley

Hi All You CRO Trackers.

I’m sure you’ll all have a great evening at the reunion dinner.

Sorry I can’t be with you. It’ll be a great night.

I was only at CRO telemetry for around 12 months but, the memories!

It was the best job I ever had.

Remember—“Any day above ground is a good day”


From Harrison ("Jack") Schmitt — Apollo 17

Date: Mon, 10 May 2004

Greetings and a hardy thank you to all Apollo veterans and their families attending. I wish I could be with you and my many other friends in Australia.

You helped Apollo established a new evolutionary status for human beings in the solar system. The human species now has accessible, new ecological niches, away from the home planet, that expand our envelope for species survival. Our knowledge of the Moon, and now of Mars, shows that eventually humans can live on these bodies independently of support from Earth. The resources exist on both that are necessary for human life.

On the Moon, solar wind derived hydrogen exists in the lunar soils at concentrations between 50 and 150 parts per million and may be even much higher, particularly in the polar regions. The heating necessary to release the hydrogen causes it to react with soil minerals to produce water, about one ton of water per two tons of hydrogen. Local deposits of water-ice may exist at high latitudes as well. Helium and nitrogen and carbon compounds are also released in significant quantities. The fertility of the lunar soil has been demonstrated so food production in properly shielded facilities clearly is possible. On Mars, large quantities of water-ice exist near the Martian surface from which oxygen and hydrogen can be produced. The Martian carbon dioxide dominated atmosphere can provide methane based fuels for many purposes.

Importantly for the economy of lunar settlers and for those left behind on Earth, about 1/2400 of the lunar helium is a light isotope, helium-3. Helium-3 has the potential to be a highly valuable export to Earth for use as a fuel for fusion electrical power production with a probably value relative to coal of about $140 million per 100 kg. The implications of this lunar resource on the personal and environmental well-being of human beings on Earth are incalculable . Apollo also accelerated improvements in the human condition for billions of people on Earth. The technological foundations expanded by or because of Apollo have revolutionized the world's use of communications, computers, medical diagnostics and care, transportation, weather and climate forecasting, energy conversion systems, new materials, systems engineering, project management, and many other applications of human ingenuity.

An equivalent beneficiary of Apollo has been and continues to be the science of the Earth, planets, and solar system. From the samples collected and placed in context by the astronauts came a first order understanding of the origin and history of the Moon. Debates related to specific questions about lunar origin and history continue, however, hypotheses can be tested using the real information from samples. Using the foundation provided by Apollo exploration, subsequent remote sensing from lunar orbit by the Galileo, Clementine and Lunar Prospector missions can be broadly interpreted to provide a more global context to our interpretations of events on the Moon. Those events included a general perspective of the cratering history of the inner solar system unavailable on any other body other than possibly the distant and currently inaccessible planet Mercury. The inner solar system's cratering history has provided a guide to the early history of Earth, Venus, Mars, and Mercury, including new insights into the conditions under which life's precursors and life itself formed on Earth, and probably on Mars. Combined with the delineation of the potential of lunar resources discussed above, this was not too shabby a result for a Cold War stimulated effort that initially did not consider science as a beneficiary.

From Linda Dorras (née Meyer)

I can’t be with you. Just can't believe how the years have flown by.

to anyone who remembers me? And enjoy the celebrations.


Linda Dorras (née Meyer)

From Ed Goldsmith

Like all of you, we look back on our time at Carnarvon as a great adventure. For us it was an adventure with many different dimensions. We were New Australians; we and almost all of us at Carnarvon were new to the bush and living in remote areas. (You think Carnarvon was remote you should have seen Gove - that was so remote you couldn't even get radio there).

Quite a number of us were new to having and raising families (well there was no TV for starters). We were involved with very advance technology which was exciting and challenging. For quite a number of us we were involved in live operations for the first time and unlike the military we had little or no training for this aspect of the job. Most of all, we were a significant part of man's greatest endeavour.

Its no wonder that under these circumstances we made many lasting friendships and that for many of us the time at Carnarvon shaped the rest of our lives. It is not surprising that CRO attracted some extremely talented individuals and I'm proud to have had the opportunity to have been part of the team.

Best regards

From Bill & Hazel Graham


56 Cornish Street, PO Box 361, Carnarvon, W. A. 6701
Ph. # 08 9941 2044, Fax # 08 9941 1880, Mobile 0404 039 825
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
ABN 18 739 624 336, Bank Account 306 049 457 983 9

As Hazel and myself wont be in Perth for the re union, thought I’d better get you to remember us to all the old Trackers and remind them that some of us have been fortunate enough to be able to return to Carnarvon. Have included my Electronics Business Letter Head which has most of the necessary information you may need to contact us, I do wear another HAT under “Carnarvon’s Edendarve Boarding Kennels and Cattery”.

If any of you are traveling North and passing through Carnarvon remember that Hazel and I still live here, 56 Cornish Street (Street opposite DEWSONS Store) I sometimes go to the Carnarvon Club for a Beer, and once a month at least go to TS (Training Ship Gascoyne for all you Landlubbers) Gascoyne Wardroom, Hazel and I are members of the Ex Naval Members Association, (Old men’s drinking group according to Hazel) we make grave decisions about how we can help the Naval Cadets.

Carnarvon still travels at about the same pace, it’s pleasant and the weather is beautiful.

We would like to talk to any who remember us and needs a contact in Carnarvon.

Hope you all have an enjoyable time and manage to tell plenty of yarns about how we used to behave in Carnarvon.


Bill and Hazel Graham

From Norma & Alan Hickmott

Hi there to all our old (?) friends from that happy time and place called Carnarvon.

I am very sorry that we cannot be with you on this occasion, but we will be thinking of you and will drinking a toast to you, not with 'Mucky Duck' but the local brew. We will try not to cry in our beer but treat it as the happy time we expect it to be.

So ENJOY YOURSELVES and maybe spare a thought for us sometime.

From Derek and Molly Major

Hello everyone.

Hope you have a great evening—sorry we are unable to get there “this time”.

I have great memories of CRO and all of you, particularly since it resulted in our receiving a new way of living. It seemed to start at that great Christmas party and barbeque in 1967.

The other lovely things about CRO back in “The Moon Period”, was meeting and getting to know so many of you great folk—in fact we are still friends with Rosemary & Geoff (Williams). So we send greetings and blessings to you all, and have a wonderful time together.

From Cecily McKail/Miller

Hope everyone enjoys the reunion dinner. Happy memories will be told, I am sure. I would like to have been there with you.

Have already published some of the history on the tracking station in Carnarvon, which now marks the 40th anniversary for the town.

From Fred Vey

To fellow Apollo Trackers; greetings from the far side of the earth, Lusby, Maryland, USA and Evonne Martell Vey and Fred Vey. We regret not being able to attend the 35th anniversary of Apollo 11 with so many of our friends in Australia. We made it in 1989 and 1994 and hope to make it again; maybe the 40th or 50th (space program participants were always optimists.)

As most of you know Evonne worked at Carnarvon during Apollo 11 and I was on the
re-entry tracking ship USNS Huntsville and we later met and married during Apollo 13 mission at Honeysuckle Creek.

The Apollo space program will always have a special place in our memories, especially the many friends from that era. Enjoy the reunion and keep in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and check out Evonne’s (nearly finished) web page

From Colin Winrow

Greetings and Love from Colin and Mavis Winrow to all the CRO Trackers gathered in Perth for the 35th Anniversary of historic Apollo 11 Mission.

We can't believe it really is 35 years ago! You are all much clearer in our minds than that number should permit. Of course you're all 35 years younger too!

We wish we could join you but it can't be this time. Have a great time of re-union and nostalgia. We have many happy memories of you guys and of Carnarvon and the Tracking Station and the missions.

Perhaps we can meet up with some of you sometime in Sydney. Please look us up if you are over this way.

Many thanks to Terry Kierans for having a database of most of us and for producing the Trackers CROnicle. Both have helped us fill a few gaps in our memories and brought back many others.

May God Bless each of you.


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