Monday, October 8, 2007

Secret airports of Sydney

You probably realise that Sydney has one international airport, namely Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport. You probably also realise that there's a major light aircraft airfield in the outer-inner western suburb of Bankstown. You may even know about Camden airport, south-west of Sydney.

Some of you will have heard of Schofields, the former RAN air base, near the RAAF base at Richmond. Schofields had a triangular arrangement of intersecting runways, and when the Navy moved out the strips were gradually cut, with one DC3 marooned there when a fence divided the longest remaining strip. Did they truck it out, or take down the fence? RAAF 36 Squadron moved to Schofields near Sydney on 19 August 1946 as well for a time, populating the field with C-47s. Sadly now it's suburbia.

There's even the single-strip at Hoxton Park, west of Liverpool. You may think you know all that there is to know about aviation in Sydney... but wait, there's more.

What about Hargrave Park, near Liverpool? Now suburbia.

Penrith had an airfield, too, now a park close to town.

Holsworthy is an army base that can take short-field RAAF transports.

What of Duffy's Forest, to the north?

There are also many more grass strips to list, and we'll get to them soon enough.

What about the history of Sydney's airports? What of the pony racing that was conducted on land to the east of the current domestic terminals? Or the balloon loop for the trams that brought punters to that pony track? What of the early runway alignment at Sydney, which had one runway crossing the railway tracks to the northeast? Or of the DC3 that was involved in an accident with a freight train?

There are some secrets to be uncovered here. It will take time but we'll get there!

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