Sydney International Terminal Building - 1967-74
SY aerial 67-70

In the late 1960s Sydney/Kingsford Smith Airport underwent major changes to prepare it for the aniticipated introduction of the Anglo-French Concorde and the US Boeing 747. The most significant of these changes were the extension of the north-south Runway 16/34 into Botany Bay and the construction of an entirely new International Terminal Building (ITB) on the north-western quadrant of the aerodrome site. Both of these major projects would be built on reclaimed land.

The images above show the aerodrome layout in 1967, at the early stages of construction of both projects, and in 1970 after they were finished (roll your cursor over the 1967 image to see the 1970 image). The ITB site is highlighted in yellow.

The Cooks River, which runs down the western (left) side of the aerodrome had previously been diverted to empty into Botany Bay as seen in these images. It had previously run along parallel to and just inland from the Botany Bay coast to empty on the right hand side of these views. The works also required further diversion work on the Alexandra Canal where it branches from Cooks River along the aerodrome's northern boundary, in order to provide suitable ground for a new ILS on Runway 16. This had the beneficial effect of also permitting construction of a new road, thus improving airport access.

The runway extension, seen also below, necessitated the construction of a 3,000 ft (1,000 m) peninsula and would allow an increase in runway length from 5,500 ft to 9,100 ft. This work was contracted for £6.15M. The runway extension also required a tunnel to take General Holmes Drive, running along the shore of Botany Bay, under the extension. The extension was completed by early 1968 but the full runway length was not available until December 1968 owing to the need to make major improvements to the existing pavement, work that could not commence until the extension was open.

By mid-1969 tenders had been let for a further extension of Runway 16/34 into Botany Bay for a total runway length of 13,000 ft, expected to be completed by mid-1972. Dredging and filling had commenced by mid-1970.


Shell fuel company emblemGovernment Hangar No 1Government Hangar No 2old Government Hangar, later Adastra AirwaysAir Travel Ltd. hangarMilton Kent's workshopRWY 34

The image below shows BOAC Boeing 707-436 G-APFN crossing the bridge over General Holmes Drive at Sydney/Kingsford Smith Airport. The date is not known, but probably 1969-70.


Boeing 707

Work on the new ITB site began by mid-1966. Approximately 3 million yards of Botany Bay sand were pumped out of the bay by dredge
to fill the site. The ITB worksite is arrowed in the views above and below if you roll your cursor over them. The view below looks to the west from over the Qantas maintenance area.




The estimated cost of the ITB work was £11.3M. Site preparation was completed by mid-1967. By mid-year the following year the ITB frame was complete and work had commenced on the remainder of the buildings, and associated pavements and services.

The views above and below show the ITB at an advanced stage of construction, probably some time in 1969. The view above looks west across Runway 16/34 toward the Domestic Terminal and Qantas maintenance (far left) area. A second, slightly different, view of the image below is available if you roll your cursor over the image.



The new ITB was officially opened by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second, on 3 May 1970. The Royal Vickers VC-10 was the first departure from the ITB and regular services began on 5 May.

The next series of images show the finished ITB (and additional runway extension in the case of the view below) a few years later, in 1974. The design of the Sydney ITB was closely based on the design of the ITB portion of the terminal at the contemporary Melbourne/Tullamarine Airport.



The images above and below illustrate the typical traffic using the ITB in the early 1970s. (You can get a second view in the one below by rolling your cursor over it). Aircraft visible include: a Qantas Boeing 747; Qantas, Pan Am and BOAC Boeing 707s; Air New Zealand Douglas DC-8s; a BOAC VC-10; and an Air New Zealand Lockheed Electra.



(Photos: CAHS collection)


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