9 November 2020

Weekend big bang mystery solved

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Majura Training Area

The source of weekend loud noises is believed to be the Majura Training Area. Photo: File.

Mysterious loud noises in the middle of the night always cause consternation in Canberra, but this time there’s an explanation.

Multiple reports have emerged on social media of loud noises occurring around 11:00 pm on Sunday night.

They were heard by householders around Belconnen and Woden, and possibly as far afield as Gungahlin. Residents in Queanbeyan and Sutton also heard the noises, which were described as repetitive bangs.

A statement from Defence attributes the noises to military training exercises at the Majura Training Area (MTA). Region Media understands that the exercises were a battleground simulation exercise.

But the bangs didn’t emanate from weapon fire.

“During the conduct of this training on Friday and Sunday evening, Battlefield Noise Simulation was used, which resulted in several loud noises,” a Defence spokeswoman said.

Realistic training is necessary for essential for Army cadets at the Royal Military College Duntroon and it’s not the last time that the noises will be heard. Training will take place again this month.

READ ALSO Did you hear Canberra’s big bang?

Midway through the year, mystery surrounded a loud bang heard in Belconnen and Gungahlin and an orange flash that occurred concurrently. No official explanation emerged for the noise; Geoscience Australia found no evidence of earth tremors and the police and ESA were unable to shed any light on events.

Defence had no explanation at the time as no training exercises were taking place. There was widespread speculation on social media that illegal fireworks were the cause.

Two years ago, there was a similar Big Bang in Holt but no explanation was ever forthcoming.

READ ALSO Unexploded ordnance search starts at Majura environmental offset site

The MTA includes a grenade range, multiple shooting ranges and artillery ranges. Aerial bombing and strafing – aerial attacks from low flying aircraft – also take place at the MTA.

In June this year, a search for unexploded ordnance on approximately 90 hectares of land across West Majura Grasslands began ahead of the area’s planned transition into an environmental offset site. The land is adjacent to the MTA.

Did you hear the noises on Friday or Sunday nights?

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The MTA has been in existence for a long time. For RMC Duntroon and the two part-time Army units that did their weapons training there.

So, it’s likley been here since before Canberra began.

Not a new thing at all.

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