Mobile Maintenance Unit - 1967/69


In the early post-war period the Commonwealth, through the Department of Civil Aviation, owned most of the licenced aerodromes in Australia. However, from 1958 it began to divest some of these aerodromes under the Aerodrome Local Ownership Plan. Nevertheless, up until 1990 the Department provided resources for the maintenance of aerodromes, including those still owned by the Commonwealth. Outside of the capital city areas, aerodrome maintenance (and construction) was done by the Department's Mobile Maintenance Units (MMUs), of which a number were maintained.

An MMU was a self-contained party comprising specialised vehicles for the task of aerodrome construction and maintenance such as bulldozers, graders and tip-trucks, as well as the personnel to operate and sustain them. Personnel not only included vehicle operators, but also labourers, mechanics and cooks. Messing and sleeping were usually done under canvas.

These photos show the combined Numbers 1 and 2 MMUs on the move between Kidman Springs and Katherine, in the Northern Territory, on 18 December 1967. They have halted for a break somewhere on the sealed, single lane 'beef road' near Katherine. This photos above and below of this typical convoy show a tip-truck carrying a bulldozer with, behind it, a grader towing a mobile refrigeration store and cookhouse.




The photo above shows some of the men having a break alongside the cookhouse cum refrigeration store. Note that the Toyota Landcruiser ZAA-897 has a the DCA 'wings' logo on its doors (enlarged below).



The photo, left, shows the impressive convoy two days earlier, halted for a break on the deserted track en route from Kidman Springs to Katherine.

Katherine aerodrome itself was later developed into RAAF Base Tindal.

(Photos: CAHS collection)






Click here to see a short movie clip of an MMU convoy


Click on the image below to download an article from DCA News, August 1969 - With the MMUs Out Back



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With the MMUs Out Back