Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hoxton Park aerodrome - WWII dispersal strip with aircraft "hides"

Gone but not forgotten.

Hoxton Park airstrip, Cowpastures Road, 1098m long, oriented 16/34. Closed, redeveloped.

A WWII 'dispersal strip' runway (in case of Japanese attack) Hoxton closed circa 2008. It did retain features from the war, including gravelled aircraft hide-outs and wartime drainage, taxiways and markings. At the northern end of the runway could be seen 2 earlier forms of surface, one bitumen and the other gravel, and wartime drainage works were found under the runway. There was also a wartime taxiway leading off to the north-west, beyond what was the airport perimeter and evidence of aircraft 'hideouts' in the neighbouring eucalyptus forest.

There were 2 surviving taxiway bridges across gullies or drainage lines prior to redevelopment. There was further evidence of taxiways and hideouts to the east of the current runway. The original airstrip was 5000ft (1524m) long and 172ft (52m) wide. The runway had been shortened since World War II and the former runway extension is noticeable at the northern end of the runway. The aircraft revetments or hideaways to the west of the aerodrome may have been removed or destroyed during the construction of the M7 motorway and building of a large suupermarket distribution centre. Progress?

As a personal note I used to practise "touch and goes" at Hoxton, circa 1974 to 1977. I never actually progressed to a full licence - I got distracted by cars and cameras and ran out of cash! - but it was an excellent site for flying training, close to Bankstown airport but not too close, plenty of emergency landing options and quiet. I also parachuted from Hoxton in or around 1979.

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