Essendon Area Control Centre - Late 1950s

Inside the new Melbourne/Essendon Area Control Centre (ACC) shortly after it opened in 1956. The ACC was located a purpose-built Operations building located on English St on the airport entrance road. The controllers are L-R: Geoff Byrne (South Sector), Frank Brindle (Arrivals), Ray Overell (North Sector) and John Sagar (West Sector).

The built-in communications panel on the console can be seen clearly. All control was done by procedural means (i.e. no radar) and flight data was recorded on the paper flight progress strips in their metal holders which can be seen at lower right. Strips for aircraft on the same route were displayed under the same bay designator, the black 'strips' seen here.


Another view inside the new Essendon ACC in 1956 or '57, this time looking the opposite way. The controllers in this photo are L-R: Eric Court (North Sector), Bill Cashmore (Arrivals) and Joe Williams (South Sector).

The Flight Progress Boards and strip displays can be clearly seen. Broadly speaking, West Sector (out of shot in to the left) was responsible for routes to and from Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, Alice Springs and South East Asia. North Sector was responsible for routes to and from Brisbane and Sydney, and South Sector was responsible for routes to and from Tasmania and New Zealand. Arrivals managed arriving and departing traffic within 80 miles or so of Melbourne, in to 20 miles when Approach (located in the Tower) took over.

This ACC was replaced in 1967 with a radar AACC constructed at Melbourne's new Tullamarine Airport.

Click here to see some later colour photos inside the Essendon ACC

(Photos: CAHS collection)

To a 1956 press release concerning this ATC Centre

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