EAGLE FARM AERODROME
Eagle Farm Aerodrome began in 1925 like many aerodromes - as a
paddock. When Smithy landed the Southern Cross after its
epic trans-Pacific flight in June 1928, Eagle Farm was little
more than a paddock with two hangars (1).
One of these hangars was erected by the government in 1924.(4)
The other was owned by a flying school run by Q.A.N.T.A.S. In
1929, the government began acquiring land to the south-west of
Brisbane for what was to become Archerfield Aerodrome although
early press reports named the new aerodrome as Rocklea, a suburb
which adjoins Archerfield. The Qantas move from Eagle Farm to
Archerfield is described in the autobiography of Sir Hudson Fysh,
one of the founders of Qantas.
The old Eagle Farm
aerodrome had been abandoned, much against our will, by the Civil
Aviation authority, owing to the heavy expense of extensions over
swampy ground, and a shift was made to Archerfield, a good aerodrome
but farther out of the city. We moved over in January 1931 and
occupied our fine new hangar, of which we were very proud. Sidney
Williams put it up for us at a cost of £3,793.14s. and we also
moved our smaller hangar over from the old aerodrome. (2)
government hangar was also moved from Eagle Farm to Archerfield
where it is incorporated into Hangar 1 which still stands to this
day, as does the relocated Qantas building which is known as Hangar
4.(4) With the closure
of Eagle Farm on 31 January 1931, Archerfield became Brisbane's
airport. However, ten years later, the difficulties with swampy
ground at the old Eagle Farm site were overcome and all it took
was a World War! In the aftermath of the Japanese attacks on Pearl
Harbor and the Philippines, manpower and materiel en route to
the Philippines was diverted to Brisbane. With other convoys to
follow, the necessary facilities to re-erect and test fly military
aircraft exceeded the capacity of Archerfield, which also had
drainage problems of its own. Consequently, the decision was made
to redevelop the old Eagle Farm site. History records that;
... by the last
quarter of 1942 the depot for the assembly of aircraft was complete.
It consisted of five Igloo hangars and five warehouses with two
loading platforms along a new railroad siding. (3)
"five hangars" are believed to have been Hangars 3,
4, 5, 6 & 7 shown on the following contemporary plan of Eagle
Farm. Of these, only 4, 5, 6 & 7 were of "Igloo"
construction, a type defined by historian Roger Marks as "a
nailed, wooden, boxed truss, three pin parabolic arch". The
five warehouses were on the opposite side of the railway line.
With the closure of the American base at Eagle Farm on 31 January
1947 and its official handover to the Australian Government on
10 March 1947, development of the airfield as Brisbane's main
civil airport began in earnest. Civil operations progressively
moved from Archerfield to Eagle Farm and on 29 May 1949 Archerfield
saw its last departure of a "heavy" airliner.
of Eagle Farm Aerodrome
images are linked to larger versions with detailed captions)
Farm circa 1944
these hangars, the only one still standing, and with any
prospect of survival, is the much-modified Hangar 7 (marked
with a red dot). This building is heritage listed because
of its wartime use by the Allied Technical Air Intelligence
Unit (ATAIU) for rebuilding and testing captured enemy aircraft.
Hangar 1 (bottom left) is still standing although its future
is not so assured.
more about Hangar
Eagle Farm terminals circa 1960
Western Apron in 1965
Western Apron in 1965
Farm in 1965
Farm in 1965
Western Apron in 1966
Western Apron in 1967
TAA apron and palm trees circa 1967
Farm in June 1968
3A in July 1968
8 in 1952
8 in July 1968
8 in July 1970
22 in July 1969
TAA apron in May 1971
Ansett apron in November 1971
TAA apron in November 1971
Western Apron in November 1987
Farm circa 1975
C.E. & Ulm, C.T.P., 1928, Story of "Southern Cross"
Trans-Pacific Flight 1928, Penlington & Somerville, Sydney,
Sir Hudson, 1963, Qantas Rising, Angus & Robertson, Sydney,
Brigadier General Hugh J., Engineers of the Southwest Pacific
1941-1945 - Vol. VI Airfields and Base Development. Cited by;
Marks, Roger R., 1994, Queensland Airfields WW2 - 50 Years On,
Peter, Archerfield at War, http://firstname.lastname@example.org
author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Peter Dunn, Peter
Gates, Roger Marks, Peter Cokley, Wal Nelowkin and David Thollar
in the compilation of this page.
ABOUT THIS WEBSITE
This Website had its
beginnings in June 1991 when I published a modest little booklet
entitled Significant Events at Brisbane Airport. When I say
"modest", I am talking sixteen photocopied pages and a print run
in the order of twenty, so don't be too surprised if you haven't
got one in your library! This booklet listed various "firsts" and
"lasts" which I had personally chronicled during the course of my
work with Qantas at the 'drome. This booklet later evolved into
a similarly modest, occasional newsletter which sought to record
the daily comings and goings at Brisbane Airport. This newsletter
bore the strange name of Squawk Ident.
That's A Funny Name.
For those readers not
familiar with the term, "Squawk Ident" is Air Traffic Control talk
for "use your transponder to identify yourself on radar". Therefore,
it seemed to me to be an appropriate name for a publication which
intended to identify specific aeroplanes for the historical record.
Squawk Ident was soon displaced by Noel Oxlade's excellent
Armchair Aviation which sadly, is no longer published. Similarly,
its successor, AIR NEWS Queensland is also no longer available.
More recently it has become increasingly apparent that my original
"Significant Events" booklet was in dire need of a major update.
Thus was born:
Squawk Ident - The
While I expect that some may be disappointed that this material
is not available in printed form, the flexibility and immediacy
of the World Wide Web is an attractive alternative to the considerable
expense of the print medium. In any case, readers of this Website
are at liberty to print these pages and share them around. This
after all, is the prime purpose of publishing in the first place
- to record and to disseminate facts which might otherwise be lost.
Some readers might question the inclusion of flying boat operations
from the Brisbane River and Redland Bay. The reason for this is
that these stretches of water, in their time, constituted Brisbane
Water Airport and their movements were controlled from Eagle Farm.
Similarly, some readers might wonder why operations from Archerfield
have been ignored entirely, even though Archerfield was Brisbane's
main airport for many years. Principally because of a lack of information
on this aerodrome I have had to make a conscious decision to deem
it beyond the scope of this Website, even though Archerfield is
a particularly historic aerodrome. For information on the history
of Archerfield, please see Peter Dunn's
Archerfield @ War.
Squawk Ident is not intended as a "Brisbane Airport Newsletter",
for it will not record daily aircraft movements unless they fall
into a "first" or "last" category or are otherwise significant.
For the official word on Brisbane Airport, please visit the
Brisbane Airport Corporation Website. It is my hope that Squawk
Ident will provide a valuable resource for airlines, airport
operators and the news media as well as for fellow historians and
The layout of Squawk
Ident should be fairly straightforward and easily navigable,
but here are some pointers to assist:
- Events are listed
in chronological order.
- The chronology is
divided into two sections, 1928-1988 and 1988-2002. These periods
relate to the old (Eagle Farm) Airport and the current Brisbane
International Airport which opened in 1988.
- Remember - "firsts"
and "lasts" refer to Brisbane unless stated otherwise.
- First = the first
- Last = the last
ever. This can be difficult to define, particularly while HARS
continue to operate! Its use is usually restricted to operators
which have gone out of business or operators which have permanently
withdrawn from service a particular type of aircraft or if an
aircraft type is now extinct.
- FRS = First Regular
Scheduled. The airline or aircraft type referred to may have
visited previously as a diversion or a charter. "Regular Scheduled"
implies at least a weekly frequency over a period of several
- LRS = Last Regular
Scheduled. The airline or aircraft type referred to may visit
again at some time in the future as the airline continues to
operate the type in question.
- Click on the little
camera icon for related images - in most cases of the actual
- If you are unfamiliar
with airport/city codes there is a listing under CODES.
This is not intended as a comprehensive listing, as only codes
used within these pages are included.
- There is a comprehensive
INDEX which should lead you to
that elusive event. The dates in the index are linked to the
relevant entry in the chronology.
- Any corrections
or additions will be listed under UPDATES.
- Links to related
sites can be found under SOURCES.
I hope you find Squawk Ident both useful and enjoyable.
Please email me with any
additions, corrections or comments. I expect that some of the
events recorded in these pages may have slipped through the net
when I compiled the index. Please let me know if you find any
such omissions. The CONTACT page
lists alternative means of contacting me.
Although the last event
recorded in these pages happened in 2002, this website is not
abandoned! When the author retired from Qantas in 1999, it was
intended that Squawk Ident would continue to record significant
events at Brisbane Airport. Unfortunately, for various reasons,
this has not been practicable. Accordingly, I have decided that
this site will not attempt to cover events beyond March 2002.
However, some events within the period 1928 to 2002 may be retrospectively
added or updated if further information becomes available. It
should be remembered that the majority of events recorded by Squawk
Ident resulted from personal observations by the author. Without
a first-hand presence at the airport, it has not been possible
to record events with the same degree of accuracy that historical
records demand. It is hoped that Squawk Ident continues
to be a useful historical resource and for this reason the site
will be maintained indefinitely.
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