Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Entrance Airstrip - gone but not entirely forgotten

I believe The Entrance airstrip was by-and-large at the site now occupied by the The Entrance District Sporting and Community Centre (EDSACC), located on The Entrance Road, between Yakalla Street and Eastern Road. Several people have placed it either side of The Entrance Road, but by most accounts it was on the ocean, or eastern, side. 

In any case, Wyong/Central Coast Council has a photograph and a little more detail of it, here.  

Several alternative locations have been proposed, but that pic establishes that it was close to Blue Lagoon Caravan Park. It's only the alignment of The Entrance Road that appears in doubt.

There is one source that places Bateau Bay airstrip at The Entrance, in the grounds of what is now the Entrance High School. That's probably a confusion of schools. It's possible, but it's very close to the township itself and on sloping ground. It's not consistent with the image, anyway.

The alternative school site at Bateau Bay proper is flatter and better in every way (for an airstrip), barring some 'swampiness'. In accord with the image above, it may have only partly have been on the school site, in any case.

Bateau Bay, New South Wales at AllExperts
* Bateau Bay was once home to an airstrip known as The Entrance Airstrip. The site of The Entrance Airstrip is now within the grounds of The Entrance High School *

Much more likely is a slightly more southerly location, including the sports fields and possibly part of the school site. It is mentioned by a Gosford Aeromodeller: "The first time I spotted radio control models was in 1972 at the old The Entrance airstrip near Bateau Bay. This area is now occupied by sports fields and a High School. They drew a big crowd on Sundays because of the nearby Entrance road. The club however was soon on the move because permanent flying fields were hard to find, even in those days. By the time I had decided to join they were no longer at Bateau Bay and for a time I was unable to locate them." 

So in any case it was closer to Bateau Bay than The Entrance, putting it down on the flatter land to the south on what is now at least partly Tuggerah Lakes College (formerly Bateau Bay High School). This site fits with my recollections as well - although I didn't come to the coast a lot in the late 60's early '70s I could have sworn I saw an old strip down on the flat near the main junction (now a roundabout).

See the comments below, placing the airstrip immediately south of the current school grounds. 

Checkout my list of Sydney and surrounding airstrips and airports.


Jillian Logan said...

Tuggerah Lakes College WAS The Entrance High School and IS located near Bateau Bay. I believe both descriptions are describing the same site.

gtveloce said...

Excellent, that makes sense! Case closed then, unless someone has pics of aircraft operating out of that site before the school took it over...?

Jimmy said...

The Entrance High was immediately Nth of the Airstrip.
The car park south of the High School is the exact location of the two runway Bush Airstrip. It was decommissioned in 1969, and became overgrown until the Killarney Vale Soccer Club was formed by splitting from The Entrance Club in 1972. They used the land further south for one season before The Entrance Rugby League took over the land next to the Treatment Plant, whilst the soccer club took over the airstrip to this day.

gtveloce said...

Thanks Jimmy, your detailed comment is much appreciated!

Sheryl Neill said...

I was born at The Entrance in 1956. One of my earliest memories is of my grandfather taking a joyride from the aerodrome, I would guess around 1962. He had decided he wanted to take his first flight in a plane before he died. As events transpired it was his only flight.

My childhood memory was that the aerodrome airstrip ran parallel to Gosford road, which would be approximately north-south. I had it in my six-year old mind that the airstrip was on the WEST side of the road, not on the side where the school was built (I was the first School Captain, so know the school well). This returned to tea-tree scrub after the aerodrome closed, until the Bay Village Shopping complex was built. I am happy to be told that my memory is wrong - maybe it was where the sports ovals are now - but it accords with my wife's memory also.

I will try to do some digging - perhaps one of my relatives took a photo of my grandfather's big adventure.

Dr Roger Neill