The last excursion for 2019 for the Day Out Society was to Canberra, leaving Goulburn at 8.30am on another very windy day in November. We headed for Lake Burley Griffin arriving at the Yacht Club around 10am.
Being a little early we sat in the sun to wait for the ferry. During this time, we each had a small pack of biscuits, thoughtfully provided by Colleen, as a snack to carry us through till lunch time.
We boarded the boat at 10.30am, casting off for our cruise of the lake at 10.45am. We were treated to an ongoing commentary from our captain, pointing out all the points of interest while enjoying a delightful cruise around the lake for over an hour.
Returning to the Yacht Club and our waiting coach, we headed off again. Reaching the Cotter Dam, we disembarked to enjoy a picnic lunch in a beautiful setting among the trees along the waterline. There we were joined by some unexpected feathered friends eager to help demolish any left-over food. Wild ducks outnumbered a few crows, white cockatoos and one very tame red and blue parrot which was hand fed by Jean.
After our sweets of apple and fruit pies with custard we headed off to find the Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Station. On arrival at the Tracking Station we were met by our guide, Dr Korinne McDonnell, who gave a talk explaining some of the functions of the space dishes, then were taken inside for a short film and a question and answer talk by Dr McDonnell.
We learned there were four operational antennas (dishes) on these saucer-like structures. The largest was 70 metres in diameter, this being the largest in the Southern Hemisphere known as Deep Space Station 43. The other three stations were each 34 metres in diameter, known as Deep Space Stations 34, 35 and 36.
Other dishes there were inactive and have been decommissioned.
Deep Space Station (DSS) 46 was the dish that got the first images of the moon landing in July, 1969, featuring Neil Armstrong taking those famous first steps on the moon. DSS 46 was originally located at Honey Suckle Creek some 50km south of Canberra. Honey Suckle Creek was closed in 1981 and the dish was relocated to Tidbinbilla.
In the famous moon landing, the Parkes Dish (64 metres) picked up the television signals eight minutes after Honey Suckle Creek, Parkes also received some images.
Other Deep Space Networks are in Gladstone, California and near Madrid in Spain.
These three sites provide 24-hour coverage of the solar system as the earth rotates.
Leaving Tidbinbilla, we again boarded our coach for the return journey to Goulburn. "En-route" we conducted our ever-popular raffle where the winner of the lucky seat draw was Miriam Lockwood. We arrived back in Goulburn about 5.30pm.
It was a great experience for our last outing of the year.
Tickets for our Christmas Party on Sunday, December 8 are available from the Auburn Street customer service desk at the Workers Club.
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