Dispossession of Health

A Transcript of Lallie Lennon’s statements included in the film “Backs to
the Blast, An Australian Nuclear Story”, produced by Harry Bardwell,
“We went out there looking for opal and we heard on the news – we had a
little portable wireless with us – and this bomb’s supposed to went off at 6
o’clock. So we got up early on, me and the kids. While I was waiting I made
bottles up for that morning and er, we waited for it to go up. Holding our ears.
We thought it was going to be all – you know – that scared.” (Scene changes
in film.)
Lallie continues:
“Just as we were getting ready for breakfast, this smoke, you know, you could
see it between the trees coming through, it went right through, over us. Could
smell the gunpowder smell. And on the tent it had this grey blacky sort of
dust. And we came back with this skin trouble, me and the boy, and we
thought it might have been that that caused it. It must have been 3 years
when it started coming all over the body. Even the boy had big scabs all over
him. All over his face.” Approximate total run time: 1 minute 22 seconds. [1]
Lallie observed that “grey and blacky sort of dust” had been deposited on the
tent, and that she and her son, Bruce had suffered skin trouble that was
present on their return from their camp. After a period of time, the skin
condition then changed to that of an outbreak that had spread, “coming all
over the body”.

A Transcript of an Interview with Lallie Lennon and Michele Madigan,
Port Augusta, May 2006. A follow up editorial interview took place on
31/12/09 at Port Augusta.
Transcribed by Paul Langley 26.5.06. Amended and corrected Jan 2010.
(At commencement of the interview Lallie and Michele were looking at
photographs and commenting on them. One purpose of the meeting was to
look at old photos taken of Lallie and the skin condition she has suffered from
since exposure to contact with the Black Mist. Interview took place in Port Augusta with Lallie and Michele present. Transcription took place at Port Willunga with P. Langley working alone.)
Michele: “When was this, was it at Wallatina or Port Augusta or where?”
Lallie: “That was here at Port Augusta.”
Michele: “Port Augusta.”
Lallie: “Legal Rights.”
Michele: “Oh Legal Rights.”
Lallie: “I was standing here.”
Michele: “Oh Andrew Collett, that was years after the thing though wasn’t it?”
Lallie: “Yes. I was really bad then.”
Michele: “Were you? In the 80s. That’s when they had the Royal Commission.
Oh right.”
Lallie: “He had to come up here to take photos. I was really bad.”
Andrew Collett took photos of the skin.
Michele: “How did it affect you? Was it itchy or what?”
Lallie: “It wasn’t itchy, it was just sores coming out , all over my face,
Michele: “really?”
Lallie: “Yes, terrible.”
Michele: “Oh, Lallie.”
Lallie: “Yes, Oh god. Sore right down here.”
Michele: “Right on the eye brows, nearly.”
Lallie: “Coming down you know.”
Michele: “Oh my god.”
Lallie: “Coming down you know, it was terrible. (Sore) All the way right
through the body. All my body felt just like I rolled in the fire. Even when I saw
Andrew Collett I was really bad, really sick. I used to have to take a tar bath. ”
Michele: “It would have been very depressing as well.
Lallie: “It was.”
Michele: “Yes.”
Lallie: “I didn’t know what was wrong.”
Michele: “Put your jumper back on its cold.”
Lallie: “I didn’t know what was wrong with me.”
Michele: “So you didn’t know what was wrong, so they never said.”
Lallie: “Nothing.”
Michele: “Oh wow.”
Lallie: “I went to Adelaide, the pain everywhere, going down
there. All my legs. I was in a mess. Trying to find out what
they could do for me. That’s where they got the tar- liquid tar
for the bath (Lallie’s 32 year old grandson, Ashley Lennon,
was present on 31/12/09 and stated: “Yes, I ran the tar bath
for Nanna when I was only a kid – a little jar of liquid tar in the
bath.”) and tar cream and even the shampoo. You see it in the
chemist. It helped a little bit but not that good. And Bruce was
doing the same. And we had to lay alongside the red lamp –
what was the name of it? Bruce he nearly killed himself. He
went off to sleep and forgot to switch it off and it burnt him
right through. Made a big mess of him.”
Michele: “You were in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital?”
Lallie: “Yes, I was there for a while.”
Michele: “This was about the time of the Royal Commission or
before it?”
Lallie: “….not long after. I was in a mess.”
Michele: “Were you?”
Lallie: “Just like I rolled in a fire you know.”
(Index mark: recording time 1 minute 52 seconds}
Michele: “Oh no.”
Lallie: “It was terrible.”
Michele: “Oh my gosh.”
Lallie: “I used to walk around with all in here – the sores, the skin coming off. I
was red, red raw. It was terrible. That’s why I was at the Queen Liz.”
Michele: “So your legs, underneath your arms.”
Lallie: “Yes.”
Michele: “Across you groin.”
Lallie: “Yep.”
Michele: “You must have been beside yourself.”
Lallie: “I was. So they me put in hospital.”
Michele: “And nobody ever asked you about, did you think to say to them,
you know, that you were in the bomb or they just wouldn’t take any notice or
you didn’t know what it was?”
Lallie: “I’d been talking about the bomb but they wasn’t taking any notice. I
tried to tell them.”
Michele: “No. I think that’s what happens Lallie. They just don’t take any
Lallie: “Yea. It was just like that. It was terrible.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: “Bruce was mucked up too.”
Michele: “This was your son? Now he’s passed away now?”
Lallie: “No. He’s in Darwin.”
Michele: “Oh he’s in Darwin. (Since the original interview, Bruce has returned
to Adelaide) Oh right. So is he, did he have this?”
Lallie: “He was only a baby when it happened. We were both outside see,
The others were in the tent.”
Michele: “Right, yea.”
Lallie: “June was a baby then too. She was just born. It was Jennifer, Bruce
and June. Bruce was a toddler. I had him on my hip carrying him around
outside and the other two were in the tent.”
Lallie: “June was a baby and Jennifer was running around (i.e. older). Jennifer
and June were taking fits. They were sick but not sores – they were in the
tent. We didn’t put the tent up (properly). We just threw the camp sheet over
the tree before the bomb came that morning. Stan, my husband, said we’d be
going soon because we were travelling around, camping everywhere.”
Michele: “So he had these sores everywhere too Bruce did he?”
Lallie: “Yes. He was in a mess – all over, a mess – same as me.”
Michele: “And where did he go? did he go to any doctors?”
Lallie: “He’s been going to doctors and getting all this tar things you know to
bath in.”
Michele: “Oh.”
Lallie: “These cream tar, cream, I don’t know what you call it.”
Michele: “No.”
Lallie: “Its all tar you know, Its terrible.”
Michele: “So did they..Nobody ever said, nobody ever believed you really that
it was about radiation?”
Michele: “Well that’s what Paul can’t understand, Paul Langley, because he
said that, I don’t know if you heard about this, but there was a bomb, you
know the Americans were bombing in the Pacific and they bombed these
Marshall Islands, practising their bombs. Same thing.”
Lallie: “Same thing.”
Michele: “And they have had to pay a lot of money to the Marshall Islanders

and they (American doctors) keep on monitoring them, you know, checking
and seeing how their skin is and how they are sick or who is dying and
everything. He can’t believe it. I might leave you a copy of this.”
Lallie: “A lot of people died.”
Michele: “Yes. A lot of people here you say died?”
Lallie: “Yea – in Mintabie and all over the place. Wallatinna – Yami went blind.
He could see before. But they never said nothing about it.”
Michele: “Who never said nothing?”
Lallie: “I think it was Lorna Grantham on was talking but she’s gotten old. She
reckoned that all these people died in Yalata – her people – and they had
sores and that too.”
Michele: “I just interviewed her for something else actually. I didn’t interview
her about the bomb. Was she at Ooldea Tank through the bomb?”
Lallie: “Yea. Well Eileen Wingfield reckons that all the old people got, you
know she was at Maple Creek then, and those strong old people just got sick
after that.”
Lallie: “They did get sick.”
Michele: “And they did pass away.”
Lallie: “Vomiting.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: “They were. God when they had that Emu one you know.”
Michele: “Yes. 1953.”
Lallie: “Because we went back to Mintabie. Looking around for opals. It was
on the News a few days before. And they said the bombs going off at 6
o’clock and we were all waiting there, you know in the morning – scared.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: “At Mintabie. It rumbled and it was shaking – we thought the ground
was going to open up. And the smoke just come over us. With the smoke, it
was so dark that we couldn’t see anything.”
(Recording index mark: 5:32)
Michele: “Were you scared talking as well?”
Lallie: “We didn’t know what was going on, no one was telling us.”
Michele: “No.”
Lallie: “We were scared.”
Michele: “You had a reason to be scared.”
Lallie: “Yea. They said it’s the bomb going to go up and then some silly
peoples “Oh we’re all going to die”. You know and that really frightened me
you know.”
Michele: “Of course.”
Lallie: “The Old People at Mintabie – Anangu – they might have been scared
– had a heart attack! They died. They were talking about it – ‘oh this person
passed away, that person.’ There were that many.”
Lallie: “I don’t know what day it was or anything.”
Michele: “No.”
Lallie: “You know.”
Michele: “Well the day that they put it off, the first one, it seems to be the first
one, the Black Mist one they call it, was the 15th of October and then they did
another one a bit later on. “
Michele: “So can you just tell me. You know when you were really frightened
that day you heard the bomb was going to go off at 6 and then.”
Lallie: “That was in Mintabie.”
Michele: “Mintabie. Yea. And then you saw this smoke coming?”
Lallie: “Yea. Oh yes.”
Michele: “Now Jessie thought, at first of all they thought it was a wind, but
then they realized that it was no wind. It was completely different.”
Lallie: “It went off like a big mushroom.”
Michele: “Right. Did you actually see it?”
Lallie: “Yea.”
Michele: “You actually saw the mushroom cloud?”
Lallie: “Yea. I can picture it now. It was south. It went off like a big mushroom.
It had all these stripes – like electricity. It was so close. I wish we took a
photo. We had a camera. Film and all. But what’s the good of taking photos
some said – I think it was Alec Woody (Mr. Woodforde) when we’re all going
to die.”
Michele: “My goodness.”
Lallie: “It was big mushroom thing. ”
Michele: “Wow.”
Lallie: “South.”
Michele: “Wow.”
Lallie: “They was waiting for the…I know they were saying they had to wait for
the south wind to blow.”
Michele: “Right.”
Lallie: “Before they could let it off.”
Michele: “Right.”
Lallie: “I don’t know what that idea was.”
Michele: “Well they kept on saying that there wasn’t anybody there.”
Lallie: “Its in the photo there. That’s what I saw – in Backs to the Blast but in
photos before that.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: “They were letting off little ones off too, at the same time.”
Michele: “Were they?”
Lallie: “I never seen that. We couldn’t see them – the rumbling – just rumbling
that’s all”
Michele: “No.”
Lallie: “But that big one. The big ones were Emu and Maralinga.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: “I saw that.”
Michele: “Right.”
Lallie: “That Emu one I saw that – two of them. “ (Deleted: too.”
Michele: “Right well that was the Emu one wasn’t it?”
Lallie: “Yea. Oh it was terrible.”
Michele: “Wow.”
Lallie: “The ground was rumbling, you know, it was terrible.”
Michele: “Absolutely.”
Lallie: “We were holding on there you know to the trees. We thought we were
going fall into the hole. We were just thinking all about the holes”
Michele: “Wow. Were you holding onto to tents or what were you living in?”
Lallie: “Just a little tent thrown over you know. And we was in there.”
Michele: “Thrown over the branches or something?”
Lallie: “Yea.”
Michele: “Oh right proper kangku?” (Wurley or shelter)
Lallie: “It was a tent. – really big tent. We just threw it over the branches.”
Lallie: “We were outside, me and Bruce. * I had to carry Bruce – he was
crying. But the baby June and Jennifer they were in the tent. Jennifer was
putting her to sleep.”
Michele: “Right. Well that’s funny they might have even got a tiny little
protection from the tent.”
Lallie: “That’s what I was thinking.”
Michele: “It was you and Bruce that were the worst wasn’t it?”
Lallie: “Yea.”
Michele: “Wow.”
Lallie: “Aleck Woody, he died.”
Michele: “Who?”
Lallie: “Aleck Woody.”
Michele: “Did he?”
Lallie: “Yea.”
Michele: “Was he Anangu or white fella?” (Anangu – Aboriginal person)
Lallie: “Yea, he was Anangu with us and he was walking around scared with a
hanky around his nose and mouth, poor thing. Scared. He was telling us –
‘it’s poison. Put that thing – hanky – around your face.’ But we were too
scared to listen to him. But he passed away anyway, 4 or 5 years after. I
guessing he was sick the time after this and before that – he was good.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: “They didn’t tell us.”
Michele: “No. So you just found out from who?”
Lallie: “British didn’t tell us. People. When I was in Mable Creek, that’s when
they were taking war tanks and trucks and everything else. I didn’t know what
to think – looking at all these war things coming through. Dust!”
Michele: “That’s what Eileen Wingfield saw too.”
Lallie: “Yea.”
Michele: “Because that was the old road wasn’t it? It used to go through
Mable Creek. The Stuart Highway.”
Lallie: “Yea. They were making roads and cutting down trees and all that.
Dust. You know. That scared. I didn’t know what was going on.”
Michele: “No.”
Lallie: “I asked Stan – I was asking my husband Stan Lennon but he said
‘Don’t worry about it.”
Michele: “Oh right.”
Lallie: “He was working in Mable Creek.”
Michele: “Right.”
Lallie: “We were living down the creek.”
Michele: “Right. Yea.”
Lallie: “And all these war tanks and everything was going past.”
Michele: “Wow.”
Lallie: “Scared.”
Michele: “Well the Yalata people thought it was another war, because they
couldn’t believe it that …”
Lallie: “That’s what I thought.”
Michele: “ …friends had let off a bomb in your own country. So Dan said, is it
Dan? He said…your husband is it?”

Lallie: “Stan.”
Michele: “Stan. Course it was, Stan Lennon. He said don’t worry about it. But
did you move to Mable Creek, er you moved from Mable Creek then.”
Lallie: “No we, they had two weeks off.”
Michele: “Oh right.”

Photo 3. Source: Atomic Ex-Servicemen’s Association, “Atomic Fallout”, Vol.
3, Number 4, June/July, 2001.

Photo 4. Source: Atomic Ex-Servicemen’s Association, “Atomic Fallout”, Vol.
1, Number 12, March-June, 1992, pp. 15. (Such military traffic through
Aboriginal living areas became a regular, functional show of force throughout
the atomic test period.)
Lallie: “The workers so we went back to Mintabie.”
Michele: “Right.”
Lallie: “To look around for opal.”
Michele: “No wasting any time at all. Were there white fellas in those days or
only Anangu?”
Lallie: “No whitefellas. It was all Aboriginal people there. Stan reckoned he
would find some opal. We didn’t get any opal there. We go the dust of
Mintabie. “
Recording Index mark 10.56
Michele: “And then, so you saw the actual bomb go off.”
Lallie: “Oh yeah. Twice.”
Michele: Twice? You saw both bombs.”
Lallie: “Yea. the first one when the war tanks and everything was going.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: “I found out from Andrew Collett it was Emu. But it was all south. From
Mabel Creek it was south west.”
Lallie: “The first one went off.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: “That’s when June was born.”
Michele: “Yea. And she was born when?”
Lallie: “At the same time you know after I was scared. She was born in Mable
Michele: “And what date was that she was born?”
Lallie: (inaudible.)
Michele: “Yea but what year?”
Lallie: “I don’t know.”
Michele: “No I think its 53. I thought she told me it was 53.
Lallie: “That first one, the smoke didn’t come over us.”
Michele: “Oh right. Yea. Oh Ok.”
Recording index mark 13:32
Lallie: “At Mintabie.”
Michele: “Right. It went north?”
Lallie: “Yea.”
Michele: “Jessie Lennon reckoned it smelt like metal.”
Lallie: “Yes it was. I just laughed. I was scared but I was laughing At Alec He
looked so funny with the hanky and he was telling me off.”
Michele: “Oh did you? Oh OK so yea, that’s right, you would have thought that
you were, as soon as the bomb went that would have been it. That you would
have been evaporated straight away. So then you thought all our troubles are
Lallie: “Oh its over now.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: “We didn’t blow up.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: “But the ground was shaking you know. The ground was going to open
up, all that kind of thing. You know.”
Michele: “Terrifying.”
Lallie: “Because they didn’t tell us. They just said the bomb was going to go
off. But nothing more.”
Michele: “No.”
recording index mark 15:15
Lallie: “Yea.”
Michele: “Shocking. They kept on going with this story that there was nobody
around, that it wouldn’t affect anybody. The next day did you notice anything?”
Lallie: “Yea, it was the dust on the, you know that tree with that sweet stuff.”
Michele: “Oh right. Yes. Tjau they call it isn’t it?”
Lallie: No, manya We’ve got a different language. In Yankunyjatjara we call it
manya. Yes I broke that off and everybody said ‘Manya Throw that away.
That’s poison Can’t you see all the ashes on top of it?’
Michele: wow
Lallie: So we threw it away
[Manya is a sweet item in the traditional diet Pitjantjara word is tjau]
Recording index mark 15:45
Michele: “So the gun metal smell that came the first day.”
Lallie: “You could see the dust coming the first day. It went dark and dark.
Dark – we couldn’t see anything. The place was black, you couldn’t see
Michele: “Really!? It was black?”
Lallie: “It was black. we couldn’t see.”
Michele: “I’ve never heard it stated that clearly.”
Lallie: “Yea it was black.”
Michele: “Oh right. Wow.”
Lallie: “Dust and everything I suppose.”
Michele: “My gosh.”
Lallie: “Yea. And we was in it.”
Michele: “Wow.”
Lallie: “And you know, waiting for it to fade away.
Michele: “Wow.”
Lallie: “Yea it was terrible. Scary.”
Michele: “And did it stick to your clothes or anything that first day?”
Lallie: “We didn’t take much notice.”
Michele: “No.”
Lalie: “We were scared to see anything.”
Michele: “Yea, yea. Well anyway you could hardly see obviously.”
Lallie: “It was on the tree, you could see black dust.”
Michele: “Right.”
Lallie: “On the tree.”
Michele: “Now this is the first day. As soon as you, it was a bit after you saw
the bomb actually mushroom?”
Lallie: “Yea. That went up.”
Michele: “A few hours after it or ?”
Lallie: “It was a few..it didn’t take long, the dust”
Michele: “Right. So maybe.”
Lallie: “You could see the dust all coming through.”
Michele: “Wow.”
Lallie: “It was calm.”
Michele: “Calm. That’s what Jesse said, no noise.”
Lallie: “No.”
Michele: “No. It went off, you could hear the big noise. There was noise –
rumbling. It went off. “
Michele: “Wow.”
Lallie: “But the dust just came through you know. All over.”
Michele: “Wow.”
Lallie: “And it was dark, we couldn’t see. We had sore eyes and everything.”
Michele: “Yea. Anyone vomiting?”
Lallie: “Yeah, we were, the kids were. Yeah, it was terrible. It was scary. We
was glad we were alive but we got sick. We were sicker and sicker.
Kids were getting sick – “We better start going back.”
So we packed our things and that afternoon we left and went to Mabel Creek.
We had a Blitz truck. Yes the kids were vomiting. Stan’ – his eyes were
swollen. We had to camp and we was washing his eyes with Condy’s. We all
had to wash our eyes. It helped. We saved our eyes – I think so.”
Lallie: “We went up to Mabel Creek ( from Mintabie) looking for help We was
sick. We had dysentery. Glenn Rankine’s wife gave us tablets for that. We
camped there at Mabel Creek trying to get help but they didn’t know what it is
so ‘bath the kids in the mustard bath.’We were travelling around and we used
to take this little tub around. The station people were telling us to put a
tablespoon of mustard in the bath. I think it was just to make us happy –
tablets for runs and mustard bath.”
Michele: “Prize pool or something.”
Lallie: “Yea I think it was. Just making us happy.”
Michele: “Yea, that’s right, oh give them something no matter what it is.”
Lallie: They didn’t know what to do.”
Michele: “No.”
Lallie: “Yes. They told us to go to Coober Pedy
We had to travel again to Coober Pedy. We were too sick. An old lady called
Totty was looking after the kids.We were too sick. They were living at the
Underground Tank – she and Charlie Brown. Giving us a feed . But no
hospital then ( in Coober Pedy) Only the shopkeeper old Brewster – they were
there. They didn’t know what to give us.”
Michele: “And when did your sores, oh sorry, when did your sores start
coming out?
Lallie: “A long time after.”
Michele: “Oh really,”
Lallie: “Yeah. I think it was a year later. It went away and then came back and
the sores were getting bigger and bigger every time”.
Michele: “Right I think that happens too doesn’t it? It takes a while for it affects
18:11 Lallie unclear in audio to 18:17
Lallie: “I was in a mess after the sores.”
Michele: “Oh were you? Oh wait a minute I’ve it down too low. Oh wow.”
Lallie: “Oh it was terrible.”
Michele: “Wow. Oh Lallie.”
Lallie “Woody ended up with a heart attack.”
Michele: “Oh did he?”
Lallie: “After that.”
Michele: “Did he? Did it have anything to do with it?”
Lallie: “I don’t know.”
Recording index mark 18:40
Lallie: “He had a hankie over him.”
Michele: “Well the hankie wouldn’t make much difference would it really? Just
that he understood. He probably was a bit”
Lallie: “Oh he was scared.”
Michele: “Worked up about it.”
Lallie: “It made me scared too.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: “I didn’t know what was going on. Yes we packed up that afternoon. It
was so dark Alec said we might as well go. Alec was in the camp with me.
He said, ‘Oh, what’s the good of looking for opal.
So we packed up because the kids were starting to get sick. We were sick.
Vomiting – we thought it was the flu. We weren’t thinking because we were so
Michele: “Right, yea.”
Record index mark 19:25
Lallie: “We were so scared.”
Michele: “Where was he actually when the bomb went off ?”
Lallie: “He was on the top of the hill digging for opals.”
Michele: “Oh right. This was the Mintabie time?”
Lallie: “Mintabie.”
Lallie: “Yea, you could see it.. All lights you know. It was early in the morning.
It just went off, you know. It had all like electricity.”
Michele: “Lights coming out. ”
Record index mark 21:08
Michele: “Wow. And did that sent dust?”
Lallie: “That’s the one.”
Michele: “That’s the one.”
Lallie: “Yea. The Mintabie one.”
Michele: “Yea. And that is when the sky went black, everything went black.”
Lallie: “Yea, everything went dark you know because of the dust.”
Michele: “Right. Yea.”
Lallie: “Yea.Yami Lester lost his eye too I think at that time. They were at
Wallatinna. A straight line Wallatinna and Mintabie- the dust came right
Index mark 21:48
Lallie: “Mr McDougall (tried) to stop – to get the people out of the road. He
was trying to get the people away from the bomb. Two or three times he was
going – he had to go back to get the people away. But the people couldn’t
Lallie: “Mr McDougall to stop the, get the people out of the roads.”
Michele: “Yes.”
Lallie: “But they were going back.”
Michele: “Yea. Did you see McDougall?”
Lallie: “Yea.”
Michele: “What did he say to you?”
Lallie: “He was saying you know he was tired. He looked tired. . He was busy
with the people where the bomb went off.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: “He wanted us a long way from there because of the bomb.”
Michele: “They actually said that it was the bomb going off.”
Lallie: “Yes, but they didn’t tell us. But McDougall told us this bomb was going
to go off.”
Michele: “Oh right.”
Lallie: “But they were trying to get these people out.”
Michele: “I lived at Glenelg when I was a child. If they kept on telling us to
leave our house we would have probably gone back too.”
Lallie: “Yea, they were all coming back. I know he was working really hard.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: “He was. Poor thing.”
Michele: “And such a huge area he had to go over wasn’t it? When did you
see him then ? You said he didn’t tell you.”
Lallie: “He went through first, Officer MacDougall. They knew all about it. I
Michele: “Right. Who’s they?”
Lallie: “Mr MacDougall and all them. The other people.”
Michele: “Tell your husband about it?”
Lallie: “My husband knew about it. But he didn’t tell me.”
Michele: “Oh right, I see.”
Lallie: “They knew about it, I didn’t.”
Michele: “So he’d only talk to the men, Mr MacDougall, he didn’t talk to the
Lallie: “He was talking to everybody. But he was tired.”
Michele: “Oh Ok.He spoke language didn’t he?”
Lallie: “I don’t know. He talked to Stan in English.”
Michele: “See its a long time ago.”
Lallie: “It was still dark when we left. The dust was still travelling through
Wellbourne Hill (Station) when we was travelling through it.”
Lallie: “A few days after we were sick.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: (unclear. 24:40.)
Michele: “Well that’s a marvellous story really. When I was at Coober Pedy
Jessie Lennon and the two men, Ricky Brown and Mr Crombie were trying to
get compensation and they had three meetings. But they said some things to
Andrew Collett and he didn’t really believe them at first. He said, “Well that’s
the first time I’ve heard that”. You know that Jessie was at 12 mile and the
smoke came through and all that.
And you’ve already said that its black. Now did you ever see any bluish sort of
smoke? “
Lallie: “It was black when it first came.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: “And after a while it was sort of blue you know. When it was first
coming through the trees. South wind calm. Then it just went darker and
darker. Black smoke.”
Michele: “Yea. Was it easier to see through the blue smoke? Or easier to see
through the black smoke?”
Lallie: “Couldn’t see through the black smoke.”
Michele: “You could see a bit?”
Lallie: “It was just starting to leave us you know. When we looked at the sun, it
was like a moon you know – not that bright.”
Michele: “Right.”
Lallie: “Move away from us that morning was a south wind come.”
Michele: “Right.”
Lallie: “It was calm when it went off.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: “And then after a while it just a wind was coming and just blown it in to
where we were.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: “From south.”
Lallie: “It was black. You know, when it first started off. Then it started fading
then it was sort of a bluey colour you know. Then it went darker and then too
dark. Went black . We was walking around. It was black like night time.”
Michele: “Right.”
Michele: “Was it ever like a wind or it just seemed completely different from
wind really ? Like a lot people said oh it must be a wind. But Jessie and them
said no, it was quiet.”
Lallie: “No it was different. Ours was quiet.”
Michele: “No theirs was quiet too.”
Lallie: “Yea.”
Michele: “No sound at all.”
Lallie: “It was big noise where we were.”
Michele: “Right.”
Lallie: “We saw the bomb.”
Michele: “At the beginning.”
Lallie: “Yea.”
Michele: “Yea but when the smoke’s actually coming to you.”
Lallie: “It was quiet.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: “It just breezed you know. It just came over us.”
Michele: “Wow. All those years you suffered with that and you were never
really diagnosed. Even now when people are giving you the stuff
(*medication) what do they say it is?”
Lallie: “They not saying anything.”
Michele: “No. And do they know that you have been in the Royal
Lallie: “Yes I’ve told them.”
Michele: “Right.”
Lallie: “The story is always told.”
Michele: “Right.”
Lallie: “People come around -the Backs to the Blast people and then after –
Andrew Collett was talking to me.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Michele: “Smoke was it hard to get off things? Did you try to get it off your tent
or anything?”
Lallie: “No I was out in the bush I didn’t take much notice.”
Michele: “Right.”
Michele: “How did you used to cook and that?”
Lallie: “We used to cook you know in the ashes.”
Michele: “In the ashes. Yea. What sort of things would you cook? Johnny
Lallie: “Make coals and cook Johnnie cakes. Put the dough on the coals on
the ground. Grill it.. But I think we were using camp oven that time.”
Michele: “Where did you sit when you were eating?”
Lallie: “We were just sitting around the fire.”
Michele: “Yea, and you’d be on the ground.”
Lallie: “Yea. On the ground.”
Michele: “Yea, that’s right.”
Lallie: “No chairs.”
Michele: “No.”
Lallie: “Just travelling through you know.”
Michele: “Yea, that’s right.”
Lallie: “For the kids I used to put down a camp sheet you know.”
Michele: “Right.”
Lallie: “And they’d sit down and eat.”
Michele: “Right.”
Lallie: “We all did.”
Michele: “Yea. Its very thin a camp sheet though isn’t it?”
Lallie: “Alec thought something wrong. He had more sense than I did.”
Michele: “Yea, he really knew didn’t he?”
Lallie: “Yea. He didn’t know what it was but, you know, he had that sense.,
‘Put a hanky around your mouth and nose. That’s poison you know. And put
them kids up, it’ll get in your nose” you know. I was laughing at him.
Michele: “And he was travelling with you?
Lallie: “Yea.”
Michele: “Was he related to your husband?”
Lallie: “Yea. He was related. Cousins.”
Michele: “And he had died long before the Royal Commission?
Lallie: “I can’t remember. Yes, I think he had.”
Michele: “It was Alec Woody.”
Lallie: “Yea, Alec Woody.”
Michele: “I think I’ve got a photo of him. Woody?”
Lallie: “Yea, Alec Woody.”
Michele: “Oh Ok.”
Lallie: “I used to like him.”
Michele: “Oh did you.”
Lallie: “Yea. His kids’ around anyway these days.”
Michele: “Right In Coober Pedy or ?”
Lallie: “Oodnadtta.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Lallie: “He was Woody er..”
Michele: “Was he Woodford? A lot of people called Woodford.”
Lallie: “Yea Woodford.”
Michele: “Alec Woodford.”
Lallie: “Yea but we used to call him Woody.”
Michele: “Woody.”
Lallie: “It was Woodford.”
Michele: “It was short. Yea, that’s right.”
Lallie: “Alec Woodford.”
Michele: “There’s quite a lot of Woodford’s from there.”
Lallie: “He had a few kids.”
Michele: “Yea well actually I know a few Woodfords, so it might have been
one of them. Peter.”
Lallie: “He didn’t have kids at that time.”
Michele: “Right. So he was a fairly young man.”
Lallie: “He was a young man then.”
Michele: “Oh OK.”
Lallie: “We all was.”
Michele: “Yea.”
Michele: “That’s what the Kungkas were saying at the Old Age Care a couple
of days ago. “Oh there’s Lallie Lennon a young woman when they saw “Backs
to the Blast,”
Lallie: “We all was. But we was scared. So he must of died a few years after.
Index mark 31:01 end of recording.”

Lallie’s Injuries over a passage of time:
Still frame images of Lallie Lennon and her injuries taken from the 1981 film
“Backs to the Blast” follow:

The late K, photographed by Michele Madigan in the 1990s:

Photographs of Beta Radiation Burns diagnosed by US authorities
suffered by People in the Marshall Islands as a result skin contact with
nuclear fallout resulting from the Castle Bravo Event of 1954:

Source: “Effects of Nuclear War”, Compiled by Glasstone, S.,
Published: Congress of the United States, Office of Technology Assessment,
1979, pp 384.

Lallie was denied diagnosis for thirty years. When diagnosis was allowed to eventually take
place in the 1980s, the young doctors refused to consider nuclear weapons fallout.

AEC personnel gave very clear description of beta burn to cattle in Nevada during the 1950s. Though secret at the time, some of these documents have been declassified.

Despite this, Japanese authorities refuse to give a diagnosis for the same skin condition present on livestock which have survived within the Fukushima exclusion zone:

The 1 March 1954 US nuclear weapon test named “Castle Bravo” [1]
caused radioactive fallout to fall “like snow” upon the people of the Marshall
Islands. [2]
News of the disaster was broadcast around the world. On the 23rd of March
1954, the BBC screened film footage described as “local fishermen are being
treated for radiation burn.” [3] The footage appears to show the beta radiation
skin burns suffered by the crew of the Japanese fishing vessel “The Lucky
Dragon”, which was about 70 nautical miles from blast point. The Marshall
Islands were over 100 miles distant. [4] The Beta Radiation Burns suffered by
the people were photographed and widely reported. The condition was well
known and described in many books. I shall refer to some of these texts in a
later section.
The Castle Bravo H bomb was triggered, as are all such devices, by a fission
bomb in its core. The fission products in the Castle Bravo disaster caused the
effects suffered by the people of the Marshall Islands. [5] On May 14, 1954,
the New York Times reported that the leaders in the Marshall Islands sent an
urgent plea to the United Nations for the end of H bomb testing near their
islands. [6]
Castle-Bravo Officer E.P. Cronkite urgently dispatched human skins samples,
taken from the Marshal Islanders, to Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory for
study. His memo accompanying the samples states that, “Some of the lesions
that are developing are beginning to resemble the beta burns that occurred in
sheep and cattle…” Cronkite refers to an early report by “Pearson”, “available
through the AEC”. He cites this early report as a diagnostic aid. [7]
Cronkite’s reference to Pearson’s memo provides an important guide to
earlier events. Foreknowledge. These events occurred in areas adjacent to
the Nevada Test site in 1953. At that time Pearson authored a number of
reports recording harms, including beta radiation skin lesions suffered by
livestock in Nevada and Utah via contact with nuclear fallout clouds, including
those generated by tower shot fission bombs detonated in Nevada. Four of
Pearson’s reports of beta burns and losses to stock in Nevada and Utah are
referenced here. These reports were all created in 1953. These include:
1953. [9]
FALL-OUT MATERIAL ON LIVESTOCK.” (Beta Particles) Dec 1953 [10]
June 1953 [11]

Certainly the Pearson documents admit to the effects of beta emitting fission
products from bomb fallout on livestock in Nevada and Utah in 1953, and
Cronkite highlights the relevance of the resultant beta burns inflicted upon the
US livestock to the Beta Burn skin lesions suffered by the people of the
Marshall Islands in March 1954. The common feature is not the bomb type,
but the biological effect noted – Beta particles on skin and hide produce Beta
burns, whether from tower shot low yield fission bombs or high yield fission
fusion devices. The same effects were noted by Cronkite.

E.P. Cronkite went on to provide detailed testimony on the nature of beta
radiation burns in general and those suffered by the Marshall Islanders in
particular to a 1957 US Congressional Sub Committee Hearing. He stated
that “Evidence for the development of Skin lesions commenced approximately
2 weeks after exposure….. With deeper lesions the pain was more severe.
The deeper foot lesions were the most painful and caused some of the people
to walk on their heels for several days during the acute stages.
Some of the more severe lesions of the neck and axillae were painful…..
Later the skin began to shed from the inside of the pigmented plaques to the
outside, and in some cases resulted in the production of large depigmented
areas.” He refers the Hearing to Kodachrome photographs of the afflicted
people. In regard to internal contamination of the afflicted people he states:
“Rare and alkaline earths accounted for about 70 percent of the urine
radioactivity. Strontium 89 was about at the maximum permissible level……”

The March 1954 disaster and those harms which are visible to the naked eye
– Beta Radiation Burn to skin – have become widely known. The condition,
one of many health effects caused by the incident, was diagnosed by
American specialists such as Cronkite and has been officially acknowledged
by the United States Government since that time. Radiation skin burns from
contact with the radioactive Black Rain among Hiroshima victims is officially
recognized by the United States. [13]

With such a long and documented history, official Australian ignorance of Beta
Radiation Burn to skin as a consequence of contact with nuclear fallout has
no excuse. Certainly, the catalogue of official documents recognizing beta
radiation burn due to fission product contact with skin dates from 1945, linking
Hiroshima victims from an air burst fission weapon, livestock in Nevada and
Utah from tower shots in Nevada in 1953 and Marshall Island victims from the
fission-fusion device in the South Pacific in March 1954. All are considered
relevant in respect to Beta Burns by authorities appointed by the United
States of America. The knowledge regarding human Beta Radiation Burns
was released to the public in Chapter 12 the volume “The Effects of Nuclear
^ Page 5

Weapons”, Compiled and Edited by Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan, in
1950. The Third Edition, prepared and published by the UNITED STATES
DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION, was released in1977. [14]

The Australian Royal Commission into the British Nuclear Weapons Tests in
Australia was dealing with a global phenomenon in its local consideration of
the British nuclear weapons tests in Australia. It found however found that the
nuclear blasts conducted by the United States were not directly comparable to
those conducted by Britain in Australia. This questioning centred around
particle size. [15] Where the US saw a uniform basis for the risks and
outcomes from contact with ALL its many and varied nuclear tests, the Royal
Commission found that “….the Australian and US tests are not directly
comparable…” [16]

All nuclear weapons detonations have well documented and predictable
health consequences as described in “The Effects of Nuclear Weapons”.
Compiled and Edited by Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan. The Royal
Commission referenced this text in its description of the technical aspects of
nuclear detonations and the formation of fission products. [17] The British
bombs were late arrivals to the nuclear club and were not unique in principle.
They produced fission products as described by Glasstone et. al.

Author(s): FIELDS, K.E.
Document Location: DOE/NV Nuclear Testing Archive, P.O. Box 98521, City:
Las Vegas,
State: NV, Zip: 89193-8521, Phone:(702)295-0712,
Fax:(702)295-1808, Email:cic@nv.doe.gov
Publication Date: 1957 Apr 01 US DOE Accession Number: NV0137186

[2] “KILLING OUR OWN – The Disaster of America’s Experience with
Atomic Radiation”, Harvey Wasserman & Norman Solomon with Robert
Alvarez & Eleanor Walters A Delta Book 1982, Part 4, “Test Fallout, Political
Fallout” Chapter 31, “The Islanders”, quoting magistrate John Anjain’s eye
witness account.

[3]BBC record and film footage, “On this Day”, BBC London,



[4] Lapp, Ralph, “The Voyage of the Lucky Dragon”, National Library of
Australia Bibliographic Data: Bib ID 1032679
Format Book Author Lapp, Ralph E. (Ralph Eugene), 1917-
Description Harmondsworth : Middlesex Penguin, 1958.
Series Penguin special ; S172, Notes First pub. 1957.
Subjects Radioactivity – Physiological effects. | LuckyDragon [Fishing boat]

[5] Time Magazine, “How Fatal is the Fallout”, 22 Nov 1954. Citing the Nov
1954 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Time article states “The fission
bomb will act as a detonator, starting the explosion of “fusion” ingredients
such as heavy hydrogen and lithium. The end product of the fusion reaction is
likely to be rich in free neutrons, which can enter almost any material, make it
radioactive and create vast amounts of radioactivity….. the H-test of March 1,
1954, whose “death ash” killed a Japanese fisherman 72 miles away, and
injured 236 Marshall Islanders and 28 Americans. Physicist James R. Arnold
of the University of Chicago, who describes these events in the Bulletin, gives
no estimate of the amount or kind of radioactivity released by that climactic

[6] ROSENTHAL, A.M., “Marshall Islanders Protest To U. N. on Nuclear
Tests”; Special to The New York Times, May 15, 1954, Saturday].

[7] Cronkite, E.P., “MEMO, SUBJECT: BIOPSIES OF SKIN”, Unclassified,
Archive, P.O. Box 98521, City: Las Vegas, State: NV, Zip: 89193-8521,
Phone:(702)295-0712, Fax:(702)295-1808, Email:cic@nv.doe.gov,
Department of Energy Opennet Accession Number: NV0407568.

Document Location: DOE/NV Nuclear Testing Archive, P.O. Box 98521, City:
La Vegas, State: NV, Zip: 89193-8521, Phone:(702)295-0712,
Fax:(702)295-1808, Email:cic@nv.doe.gov Publication Date: 1953 Nov 09
Declassification Status: Never Document Pages: 0145
Accession Number: NV0020588 Originating Research Org.: UTAHDEPARTMENT

OPERATION Document Location: DOE/NV Nuclear Testing Archive, P.O.
Box 98521, City: LasVegas, State: NV, Zip: 89193-8521, Phone:(702)295-
0712 Fax:(702)295-1808, Email:cic@nv.doe.gov Publication Date: 1953 Dec
16Accession Number: NV0121804;

Document Location: DOE/NV Nuclear Testing Archive, P.O. Box 98521, City:
Las Vegas, State: NV, Zip: 89193-8521, Phone:(702)295-0712,
Fax:(702)295-1808, Email:cic@nv.doe.gov
Publication Date: 1953 Dec 28 Declassification Status: Never
Accession Number: NV0404939, Pearson states: “It is of course, a matter of
record that in some tests by the Commission there has been sufficient fallout
to produce beta radiation lesions on cattle and horses.”

Author(s): PEARSON, P.B. Subject Terms: DOMESTIC ANIMALS;
Document Location: DOE/NV Nuclear Testing Archive, P.O. Box 98521, City:
Las Vegas, State: NV, Zip: 89193-8521, Phone:(702)295-0712,
Fax:(702)295-1808, Email:cic@nv.doe.gov
Publication Date: 1953 Jun 21 Declassification Status: Never
Accession Number: NV0001290

[12] 85th Congress 1st Session JOINT COMMITTEE JOINT COMMITTEE
ITS EFFECTS ON MAN AUGUST 1957, Printed for the use of the Joint

[13]“This rain, which almost had the consistency of tar, was a combination of
the ash, radioactive fallout, and water. In at least some cases, severe
radiation burns resulted.” Oak Ridge National Laboratory courtesy of David
Fields. Last updated: 07/25/07 Copyright 1999, Oak Ridge Associated
Universities. http://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/hiroshimatrinity/blackrain.htm”

[14] “The Effects of Nuclear Weapons”, Compiled and Edited by Samuel
Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan, in 1950. The Third Edition, prepared and
released in1977. Preface and Chapter 12.

[15] ] McClellland et. al., “The Report of the Royal Commission into
British Nuclear Tests in Australia”, ISBN 0 644 04434 9, Set of two
volumes, Volume 1 para 6.4.45, pp 183, citing J.D. MacDougall.

[16] ibid.

[17] McClellland et al, “The Report of the Royal Commission into British
Nuclear Tests in Australia”, ISBN 0 644 04434 9, Set of two volumes, Vol. 1,
paragraph 3.1.21.

[18] Many people testified to film makers and journalists, to the Royal
Commission and to anyone else who would listen of the horror of the Black
Mist. These people include Lallie Lennon, Bruce Lennon, Jessie Lennon,
Yami Lester and the people with him, Eileen Brown and many others.

This is an extract from
The Black Mist and it’s Aftermath , the full text, in parts, is available here: http://blackmistaftermath.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/foreword-and-part-1/

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