Monday, August 18, 2008

Noisy Neighbours

Living near an active military establishment has it's advantages and disadvantages. I am talking about the Simpson Barracks in Macleod/Watsonia which is less then a kilometre across a small valley from my house (If I look out my window I can see it now).

Probably one of the biggest advantages is the large area of bushland that has remained relatively intact. My primary school had a tree planting deal with the army nursery (yes the army grows plants too). The Army took us in the back of some trucks (like in the movies) a couple of times to plant seedling and the like. The Army also let our school grow seedlings in the nursery for planting in the school grounds. That was great fun, but these days I don't think you could get away with it.

The biggest disadvantage is the noise. You get used to the short and frequent bursts of gun fire when they occasionally have target practice. Right now they are firing something rather large, like a mortar or a canon. I'm expecting something through the window at any moment!

The Australian Army school of signals is based there, so I wouldn't imagine much shooting is on the agenda, just enough to be competent with a weapon if it comes to that sort of thing.

I seem to recall there is a shooting range that is shared between the Army and a gun club, perhaps an army gun club.

Most frequently though we hear the sound of music. Being home to the defence School of Music you tend to get lot of that. Concert bands, marching bands, buglers, bagpipes, drums you name it. Throughout the year they put on a number of free concerts. The twilight ones almost always end with fireworks in time to the 1812 overture.

Probably the most intense noise ever was the almost constant throb, drone and scream of Black Hawk and Huey helicopters (it depended how far away they were flying) during some sort of training exercise about 10 years ago. It was pretty exciting at first, but it went on for about a week. The Black Hawks came back during the commonwealth games in 2006, I think they were based at Essendon Airport instead of the barracks.

I should mention that the biggest disadvantage was that this was one of Australia/USA main communications bases for listening in on the Russians, so vaporisation in the face of all out nuclear war was a given, the graffiti near Camberwell Station left over from the 70's says so. Actually my mum used to tell me that too when I was little. A really comforting thing to tell your children... Thankfully they moved that capability to a better location in northern Western Australia somewhere.

Overall it is pretty peaceful, with short periods of extreme noise. There are no complaints here.


Andrew said...

Kind of like the Grand Prix. An amusing novelty to start with, but the noise wears you down.

Anonymous said...

I believe there is a really good military radio museum there (staffed by a well-known gunzel's dad) but unfortunately I've never been there.

Anonymous said...

The Grand Prix. The horse-racing thingy. the AFL matches. Etcetera...


Ben said...

Luckilly the only noise that reaches us from the Grand Prix is the RAAF F-111s, F/A 18s and Roullettes lining up for their runs.

Ah yes the Signals Museum, I remember going there when it was first set up. Something I would like to get around to visiting one day.

Reuben, I feel your pain. I do my best to ignore those too, except the AFL, which I do follow. It is surprisingly easy to let the horse racing and car racing slip you by when you live far away from the venues though.

Anonymous said...

AND... men in uniform.

Probably appeals more to me than you, really But someone had to say it.