It was a moment that changed history, marked a new frontier in space exploration and technology, and is remembered around the world for the iconic images of a man walking on the moon.
As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped foot on the moon's surface, 600 million people around the world watched, transfixed in front of their television screens.
But for many of the men and women whose work got them to that moment, it was no time to watch and absorb the history. They had work to do.
And while landing on the moon was monumental, they didn't breathe a sigh of relief until the astronauts made it safely back to Earth.
Unknown to many Australians, about 200 of those men and women worked on the outskirts of Canberra, at the Honeysuckle Creek and Tidbinbilla Tracking Stations. While the dish at the New South Wales town of Parkes sticks in the collective memory as the radio telescope that received the moon-landing footage and beamed it around the world, the first eight minutes of grainy footage actually came from Honeysuckle Creek, a 26-metre-diameter dish surrounded by Australian bush.
If it wasn't for an Australian television technician Ed Von Renouard, sitting at the slow scan converter at Honeysuckle, the pictures of Neil Armstrong's first steps would have been upside down, with the moon's surface at the top of the screen and the black space at the bottom.
It was Von Renouard's quick thinking that changed "an indecipherable puzzle of stark blocks of black at the bottom and grey at the top" to the famous pictures broadcast around the world.
Once that switch was flicked, "all of a sudden it all made sense, and presently Armstrong's leg came down," Von Renouard said in Andrew Tink's book Honeysuckle Creek: The story of Tom Reid, a little dish and Neil Armstrong's first step.
"The fact we were getting any picture at all was quite an achievement," says former Honeysuckle deputy director Mike Dinn.
"It was as good as it was going to be. It wasn't the clearest of course, but we weren't expecting that. It was only 10 frames per second and the camera had never been used on the moon before."
Sitting in the lounge rooms of the Honeysuckle Creek workers as the 50th anniversary of the moon landing approaches on July 21 (it's marked in the history books as the 20th, but it was already the 21st here in Australia), the broadcasting doesn't always rate highly in their memories.
While video footage of the moon landing was important, it wouldn't have meant much if the astronauts hadn't returned safely.
Dinn says he wasn't aware of just how monumental that moment was at the time. Those working on NASA missions thought it would be the first of many moon walks, and also he had his own role to concentrate on.
"I had a worry about the biomedical - one of the astronaut's heart rate things was intermittent at our tracking station and my challenge was to work out whether that was our fault or coming down that way. So at the time of stepping on the moon that was my worry, not the television."
Even though he wasn't watching the pictures, Hamish Lindsay, who was the station's technical support section supervisor, was keenly aware of the world's eyes on their work.
Our biggest fear was something would fail and we'd let the whole place down.Hamish Lindsay
"No," he says emphatically when I ask if he got the chance to watch those famous steps. What were you doing then?
"I was doing my job, the tracking.
"I was more interested in the equipment not failing, because we were the station they were relying on. We were the centre of operations on the Australian side of it all, our biggest fear was something would fail and we'd let the whole place down," he said.
Dinn compares working on the moon landing to being an actor in a stage play - each played their role and contributed to the show, without the ability to sit in the audience.
Lindsay was also the station photographer, and on the morning of the moon landing he was tasked with documenting the visit from prime minister John Gorton. Gorton had insisted on visiting the station that morning, to the chagrin of many who just wanted to get on with their jobs.
Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station was part of both an Australian network, and one-third of NASA's main tracking stations responsible for the Apollo missions. Along with Goldstone in the United States and Madrid in Spain, Honeysuckle Creek would take shifts following each Apollo mission, with each "pass" starting when the moon rose within its view, keeping contact for sometimes up to 12 hours at a time.
Not only could the Honeysuckle and Tidbinbilla stations receive information from the spacecraft, and communicate with head office in Houston, but they could send commands to the astronauts and the computers on board.
The station was built in 1966, about 50 kilometres south-west of Canberra, isolated enough to be shielded from man-made interference. It was remote and at high altitude. The Australians found it hard to convince their NASA counterparts that it snowed at the station and they needed to be provided with extra warm uniforms to cope with the conditions.
The station "mascot" was a kangaroo, and in the months before Apollo 8 the team did battle with bogong moths who were attracted to the station's lights, got stuck in the cooling fans and caused power outages.
Honeysuckle was an integral part of the Apollo missions, but its eventual role was bigger than first expected. Before the mission started, it was originally planned that Tidbinbilla would track the lunar module as it descended to the moon, while Honeysuckle would track the command module, where Michael Collins stayed in orbit while his colleagues roamed the moon's surface.
Instead a fire in the transmitter at Tidbinbilla on the first day of the mission led to plans changing and the station roles being reversed. A superhuman effort was made to repair the station in just 12 hours, but NASA's confidence in the station was dented. The moon landing role moved to Honeysuckle Creek.
It was also planned that the moon would be in view of Goldstone when the astronauts took the famous steps, but once landed, Armstrong and Aldrin dropped the schedule that had them sleeping in the module before venturing outside, bringing the walk forward by a few hours - and into Honeysuckle's tracking period.
The Parkes radio telescope had been called in to the Apollo 11 mission because its bigger dish was expected to pick up better television pictures, but the change in plans meant the moon wasn't in view of Parkes when the historic first steps were taken. The NSW dish broadcast more than two hours of the moon landing to the world, but it was Honeysuckle that was first.
It was computer technician Bryan Sullivan that heard the change in order.
"I had my headset on and was listening to the astronauts talking on what we call Net One, which is the primary astronaut communication channel," he said.
"And I heard Neil Armstrong talking about changing the flight plan order, so that instead of them going to sleep for five hours or seven hours or whatever it was, they said, we want to get ready to do a moonwalk now.
"And all of a sudden, I thought 'hey we've just done an enormous test sequence and we've got the wrong configuration, the wrong plugs in the wrong sockets'. And we had to suddenly get ready for a different tracking station configuration and that took us all by surprise so we really had to have our skates on when that flight plan changed."
But due to the rigorous simulations the station had undertaken in between each mission, where "they did terrible things to us", according to Hamish Lindsay, changing the configurations was not an insurmountable challenge.
While many of the operations staff were focused on their roles, some staff did get to take in the moment. Sullivan remembers looking behind him in the computer room, to see a crowd of administration staff watching the television monitor above the computer equipment.
"They were absolutely motionless. And I looked at them and thought they're just like the terracotta warriors in China. Standing there absolutely frozen, they weren't making a sound."
Even though he knew he should shoo them out of the room, where they weren't supposed to be, Sullivan decided to let the staff stay and watch. As long as the work wasn't disturbed.
Cyril Fenwick, who worked in communications at Honeysuckle, described the station as a "hive of activity" on the day of the moon landing, and remembers everyone being on edge.
"But you didn't realise you were creating history at the time," Fenwick says.
"It was just a job, we were young people in those days and we all had mortgages and families to support. It's not until later you realise 'oh you're part of history'."
Like others, Fenwick was focusing on his role.
"The teletypes were going mad, in those days you hand delivered all the messages around. There were probably six or eight personnel that needed messages to keep up to date."
Mike Linney, the station's storeman during Apollo 11, who later moved into operations, remembers the excitement mixed with tension, with everyone aware of the consequences if something went wrong.
"My role as a storeman was to make sure everyone had their bits and pieces and anything else they needed."
"All the television screens around the station were all lit up."
Linney describes the day and the memories around it as "surreal".
Even though the day was busy, and for some it took years to realise the enormity of what was achieved, Hamish Lindsay remembers a moment where he got to take it all in.
"During one of the Apollo missions, I went out to the front of the building during a tea break. I was standing in the grass looking up at the moon in the sky and at the antenna.
"I was looking through the window at the astronauts walking on the moon and I thought how lucky could I be working in the Australian bush - because around me were kangaroos eating the grass - and the sun was setting behind me.
"And here I was with man's greatest achievement, looking at the moon, man walking on the moon, how lucky I was."
- Colin Mackellar's website honeysucklecreek.net, Hamish Lindsay's book Tracking Apollo to the Moon and Andrew Tink's book Honeysuckle Creek: The Story of Tom Reid, a little dish and Neil Armstrong's first step helped inform this article and I thank them, and those who generously shared their memories.