Aboringals denied compensation for Maralinga radiation exposure by British Courts.

Map of South Australia/Australia, Aboriginal C...

Map of South Australia/Australia, Aboriginal Community of Maralinga Tjarutja highlighted (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Landscape at former British nuclear test site,...

Landscape at former British nuclear test site, Maralinga, South Australia. Maralinga, South Australia, is the former British nuclear test site. I worked at the site during the Maralinga Rehabilitation Project where contaminated radioactive material was cleaned up. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Seven atomic bombs were detonated at Maralinga in the 1950s and ’60s on land that has since between handed back to traditional owners.

The Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement employed legal firm Hickman and Rose to pursue a class action in the British courts on behalf of Aboriginal people from the area.

The movement’s director of legal services Christopher Charles says the firm is unable to mount a case because it cannot prove ionising radiation is dangerous to human health.

“Regrettably it’s been made very clear that they just cannot proceed in the English courts,” he said.

“Modern medical science has to date not been able to find a way to prove a causation link between ionising radiation and subsequent illness and until such time that causative link is proven and able to be proven, these cases won’t be able to proceed.



The site was contaminated with radioactive materials and an initial cleanup was attempted in 1967. The McClelland Royal Commission,  an examination of the effects of the tests, delivered its report in 1985, and found that significant radiation hazards still existed at many  of the Maralinga test areas. It recommended another cleanup, which was completed in 2000 at a cost of $108 million. Debate continued over the safety of the site and the long-term health effects on the traditional Aboriginal  owners of the land and former personnel. In 1994, the Australian Government paid compensation amounting to $13.5 million to the local Maralinga Tjarutja people.



In 1985, a survey found that of the 12,500 people involved in the British  nuclear testing program in Australia, 11,000 had died. Hundreds of Maralinga-Tjarutja people were also forced from their homeland during the testing.

About Kenneth Robson

I studied at Adelaide Boys' High School, and the University of Adelaide, Medical School. graduating in 1961. My field of specialisation was Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Prior to establishing my practice in Adelaide, I spent 5 years working in India, and Papua-New Guinea, in the field of reconstructive surgery for leprosy. In retirement I joined the Australian Technical Analyst Association and passed the two examinations for a Diploma inTechnical Analysis, and the designation Certified Financial Technician (CFTe) by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.
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