Thursday, November 27, 2014

Lost airfields of the Central Coast - Woy Woy (AKA Ettalong)

Woy Woy Aerodrome was constructed in 1942 as a 'dispersal' airstrip for the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. The airfield was built as a satellite of Schofields.

The airstrip ran north to south next to what is now Trafalgar Avenue, Woy Woy. It was constructed from compacted red gravel. The red gravel may still be seen (if you look hard enough) along the edge of the road surface in some places. As Trafalgar Avenue has a slight bend at the northern end it's unclear to me exactly what the alignment was, however it was of a substantial length roughly parallel with current day Trafalgar Ave. 

The hangars and service area were located in what is now Alma Avenue. Some hangars or support may still be in existence, perhaps much modified, used as warehouses or other industrial buildings.
I have looked at these building but without looking inside and out the back it's hard to be certain of their vintage.

The airfield was last used in 1946 and officially closed by 1950; the land subsequently developed for residences. A last-ditch stand was made to preserve both this strip and Tuggerah to the north as emergency landing fields between Sydney and Brisbane but as the reliability of commercial aircraft improved the need for such airfields declined. An anti-aircraft battery protected the airfield, located in Blackwall Mountain Reserve to the north and east of the strip.

From time to time artifacts, including aero engines and drop tanks have been found discarded and buried alongside the strip. More details may be found on Steve's All things Woy blog and a reworded version with slight differences here and a crash landing in 1950.

Another post by me on this strip.

Want even more? Here is an updated list of Sydney's airports.   


Cameron Robertson said...

Is the airfield being preserved? I would bet that it'll eventually get converted into a huge storage warehouse or self storage facility in due time for the amount of space it has!

Edward Thirlwall said...

I’m definitely going to keep my eyes peeled more the next time I'm driving around Sydney. Reading through your blog is truly opening up a whole world of history for me that I never knew. Have to really thank you for taking the trouble to find all these old locations out and share it with us on the internet!

gtveloce said...

Sadly very little gets preserved,unless individuals and occasionally small groups get together and make it happen. A lot of history remains buried under suburbia or dumped at sea. Bankstown airport was jam-packed with unwanted military aircraft after WWII and most of it was dumped at sea, AFAIK. Schofields airfield has been largely lost to housing, Mt Druitt strip is a park and so on. Woy Woy is lost under suburbia. But bits and pieces can still be found if you look hard enough. I guess most people just wanted to move on and forget that WWII ever happened,and elected governments and developers were happy to help.