Australia is still dealing with the legacy of the UK's nuclear bomb tests, 65 years on
Updated 8:16 PM ET, Sun October 14, 2018
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(CNN)Yami Lester was 12 years old when the black mist came to Walatinna.
Early on the morning of October 15, 1953, Lester heard a "big bang" in the distance. This was followed by a dark, ominous-looking cloud which drifted low over the ground like a slow-moving dust storm, bringing with it an unpleasant smell.
A tiny speck in the vast South Australian outback, the area around Walatinna was regarded as "depressingly inhospitable to Europeans" by early colonizers, few of whom settled there. But Indigenous people had a long history in the region, including Lester's tribe.
As the dark cloud settled over the Walatinna camp, the tribal elders attempted to ward it off, thinking it was a malevolent spirit. In many ways they were right.
As those exposed to it later told investigators, the black mist caused their eyes to sting and their skin to break out in rashes. Others vomited and suffered from diarrhea.
It took almost three decades until the cause of the mist was acknowledged as the Totem I nuclear bomb test, as Indigenous people had been claiming for years.