FSX Index

Alan Blencowe's


Western Australian Aviation Hall of Fame


In Memory of the pioneers of aviation in Western Australia.


(There were many recorded balloon flights and parachute jumps in Western Australia dating from around 1890)




Belmont Park Racecourse 1911 - 1920

Most of the early demonstration and promotional flights took place from parks and sports grounds.  Belmont Park Racecourse served as Perth's first regular landing area until a more suitable site was found at Langley Park.


First Flight in Western Australia

Joseph Joel Hammond, accredited pilot of the Bristol Co.


"Starting in Perth, Western Australia in December 1911, to the bewilderment of inhabitants of that City, Mr Hammond flew from the Belmont Park Racecourse over the city, across Kings Park and back to the starting place, a distance of 20 miles.  He even flew down the swan river and back again to the city, on another occasion, a 30 mile flight.  After several other flights in Perth, The Bristol Biplane was shipped to Melbourne where the success was again repeated.



Flight Magazine March 16 1912

(Note - the date was actually January 1911)





The WACA 1919



In 1974, Sir Norman Brearley told me his first commercial flights were out of the "trotting ground" and I assumed he meant Gloucester Park.  I now discover that the night trotting was at the WACA.  He was carrying out joy flights into the WACA over the light wires and landing an aircraft without brakes.  He had an attendant ready to grab the wing and turn the plane if he got too close to the fence on landing.  He relates in his book that the attendant missed the wing on one occasion and the aircraft sustained damage so he drove to the hangar on Goodwood Island (now Burswood Golf Course) and brought his second aircraft over to continue flying.

The WACA website says:

" 1919 WACA ground used as an aerodrome for demonstration flights by Norman Brearley of the Royal Flying Corps. Brearley reports that despite a very small margin to spare, "I landed and took off several times without accident and only one take off did I actually pluck the electric light wires that then encircled the ground over the trotting track."

www.spiritsofansett.com says:

"Brearley’s first public flying demonstration, complete with a band, took place at the Western Australia Cricket Association Oval, Perth (there were no airfields) on 2 August 1919, using one of his Avro 504Js.  It was followed by aerobatics & joy-rides (10 minutes cost £5 ($10), which was more than the then average weekly wage).  Charter & joy flights throughout south-west W.A. provided cash, experience & public exposure, whilst keeping the two aircraft near to Brearley’s base, on the shores of the Swan River, in Perth."




Langley Park 1920-1925

Is the home of the first (unofficial airfield in Perth WA and Western Australian Airways, the first airline in Australia).  It remained in use until the construction of Maylands in 1924 and is now the site of a bi-annual fly in on Australia Day.  The grassed area in the foreground used for the fly in days was reclaimed from the river during the depression.  The original strip was the carpark in the background where the trees are.  The current grassed area was landfilled in the 1920's and the hangar was dismantled and moved to Maylands.













Loton Park (Perth Oval)

There were 20,000 spectators awaiting the arrival of Bert Hinkler on 1st April 1928 in his Avro Avian 534.  Prior to his landing, Norm and Stan Brearley and Charles Nesbitt staged an arial display then flew towards the Darling Range to escort him in.





Rottnest Island Airstrip November 1930

A great many West Australian pioneer aviators have been identified with Rottnest Island. Capt Harry Baker was the first to fly there, when he landed his little Klemm floatplane in Thomson Bay in 1930, and Sir Norman Brearley's West Australian Airways flew one of their DH.50 aircraft to the island on the day the airstrip was opened in November of that year.



  It was great to see the aircraft racing the cars -

until one clipped a spectator knocking him out.


West Subiaco Aerodrome

18th April 1931 - 1940?


From the Northam Aero Club Flyabout, July 2009

"During the war, Dad took me for a drive to see the West Subiaco Aerodrome; it was all closed up, not an aircraft, not a soul in sight completely deserted.  Nowadays it’s the University of W.A Sports grounds (McGillivray Oval) on Brookdale Rd in Mt Claremont, all fenced, levelled, banked, and mowed with several pavilions.  There are now two or three suburbs between Subiaco and what West Subiaco was then.  In the days when dad took me out there, it was literally way out in the scrub. To get there you had to drive, it seemed like miles, along a grey dusty loose sand track, weaving through unending bush and trees, eventually passing along the way, the dog pound and piggery on the left and then the sewerage works on the right.  The Aerodrome itself, when we got there, consisted of two cleared hills surrounded by a cinder track with a small hangar in the middle, popularly known as” Brooklands” for its similarity to its famous British counterpart, it also combined race track with Aerodrome and boasted its own sewerage pond.  Dad said of flying at Brooklands “If you missed the upslope of the hill on landing you went into the forest.  In the days when it was active (Era 1929/30) pilots from Maylands (possibly Langley Park) and Brooklands used regularly make the 10 min flight to visit each other in fascinating variety of aircrafts / flying machines.  (In those days there was no D C A, One used ones eyes)  When dad took me to see it (about 1944), as I said, it was deserted. The hangar was locked up, but through the crack between the doors, I could make out something silver which could have been the Klemm.  However, this was an aircraft of German origin and dad told me some time later, that someone had broken into the hangar and put an axe through the wing virtually destroying it.  P.S Many years ago, I saw a photo from ¼ front view of one of the Klemms, probally taken at the same time, it was a much clearer picture. Dad also showed me a couple of photos of Spartans."





Maylands Aerodrome 1924 - 1963


was the first official Airfield in Western Australia replacing the unofficial field of Langley Park and the home of West Australia Airways, the first airline service in Australia.


It was later the base for Australian National Airways, MacRobertson-Miller Airlines and Rottnest Island Airlines, (the shortest regular air route in the world).  It remained Perth's main airport until the end of WW2 and commercial airlines gradually transferred their services to Perth Airport (formerly Dunreath RAAF Base) as it was not suitable for any aircraft larger than a DC3.  The Royal Aero Club moved it's services to Perth in 1961 and Maylands finally closed on the opening of Perth, Jandakot (YPJT) in 1963.









Heritage Listed Hangar at Maylands, Western Australia

Dunreath Golf Course became Dunreath RAAF then YPPH Perth International Airport and Maylands Airfield, closed June 30 1963 and became Maylands Golf Course!



Crawley Bay 1928 - 1945

This base operated until the end of World War II with the US base to the north side of Pelican Point and the Qantas base to the south at Nedlands some of the buildings existed on the university site until very recently.

















Melville Water was used extensively for flying boat operations, the U.S. Navy's Patrol Wing 10 being based on Matilda Bay from 7th March 1942. It came to Perth from bases in the Philippines and Indonesia, having lost aircraft in the bombing raids on both Darwin (19th February) and Broome (3rd March). Replacements appear to have arrived quickly, and there were reportedly over 60 Catalinas and 1200 personnel in the Wing. The aircraft were used mainly for maritime reconnaissance, convoy escort, and search and rescue duties, with some (long range) bombing raids. Later renamed as Fleet Air Wing 10, their Catalinas operated from Perth until 1 September 1944, when they were relocated to the Admiralty Islands, closer to the advancing allied front.













Middle Swan Airfield 1942 - 1946

Also known as Caversham, was just one of numerous temporary airfields established during World War II.  It was constructed for the benefit of the Royal Navy and U.S. Navy. There is little record of the amount it was used.  Satellite fields were Beverley, Bindoon, Gingin North and Mooliabeenie.  By 3rd April 1944, it had 3 x 5000' runways primed with 25 hard standings off a gravelled taxiway built at a cost of £210,000.  There was no accommodation or operational facilities by this time.


After the war, it was used briefly by a gliding club, and its runways were converted into Perth's first major motor race track as it sat directly under the flight path of . Its first official motor race appears to have been a "Victory Grand Prix" on 7th April, 1946, held by the W.A. Sporting Car Club. It remained in use for motor racing until 1968, and its runways (now no longer surfaced) can still be seen on Google Earth.  (www.raafawa.org.au)

Jandakot.jpgYPJT Jandakot Airport (IATA: JAD, ICAO: YPJT) is an Australian general aviation airport located in Jandakot, Western Australia. The airport opened in 1963. From 1 July 1998, Jandakot Airport Holdings purchased a 50-year lease with a 49-year option to operate and maintain the airport including its conservation areas. Originally built on unproductive farm lands, it is now among residential suburbs in the south of the Perth metropolitan area, within the City of Cockburn, and just south of Leeming and west of Canning Vale. The airport recorded 368,070 aircraft movements in fiscal year 2008, making it the busiest airport in Australia in terms of aircraft movements.  It has a reported capacity of 514,650 per annum.

The airport provides a base for essential service organisations such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Department of Environment and Conservation Forest and Bushfire Patrol, Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia (FESA) emergency helicopter and the WA Police Air Support. Jandakot is also an important training base for international airline pilots, with Singapore Airlines and China Southern Airlines operating flying colleges and student accommodation facilities at the Airport. China Southern West Australian Flying College also operates from Merredin Aerodrome.

Over 65 businesses employing 900 people operate at this Australia's largest GA airport. In addition to 10 Flying Schools for both fixed wing and rotary operations, 3 Flying Clubs, large maintenance, avionics, spares,instruments, electrical, aircraft sales, banner towing, aerial survey & photographic businesses are present. These include Airflite, a large defence contractor and Fugro the world's largest aerial geophysical survey company.

There are also a number of charter operators who provide flights for the 'fly in fly out' staff of remote mining companies.

On the main road opposite the tower there is a memorial to Robin Miller, the "Sugarbird Lady", who as a nurse and later RFDS pilot brought vaccinations to remote Western Australian communities.


Jandakot.jpgYCHP Yanchep Airstrip approx 1968  

This grass strip built by entrepreneur Alan Bond in the late 1960's is now derelict  with no runway markings, cones or windsock but can still be seen from the air and glimpses from Yanchep Beach Road.  It was originally buile with runway 07/25 2173 feet long and 230 feet wide over the crest of a hill to the south of the road.

(Image of Flight Simulator model)



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