Archerfield Aerodrome c. 1930s
Shell fuel store - click here for moreQEA hangars - see below for a 2006 view

In a scene typical of the daily routine at CAB-owned aerodromes around Australia, groundsman Andy Lauchland is seen at Brisbane/Archerfield engaged on maintaining the grass surface of the landing area. In the background can be seen the Qantas Empire Airways hangars, with one of that airline's DH86s on the tarmac outside the larger one. This dates the photo to the 1930s, some time after 1934.

Andrew Veitch (Andy) Lauchland and a horse named Anzac were the Civil Aviation Branch's first employees in Queensland. Andy joined the Branch in 1925 with Anzac and a dray he bought with £25 from his own pocket. Together they looked after Brisbane's Eagle Farm aerodrome - mowing the field and chasing off livestock.

When 'Smithy' landed at Eagle Farm after his epic 1928 Pacific flight, his first remark from the Southern Cross cockpit was "G'day Andy - you old so and so!" Andy laid the first aerodrome flare path in Queensland, after his own experiments and planning. Previous landings were made by moonlight.

In 1931 he went to Archerfield, and in 1940 to Townsville as Control Officer at the Flying Boat Base. Andy was Officer-in-Charge at Parafield from 1941 to 1951 when he was appointed Airport Manager at Brisbane Airport - on the site at Eagle Farm he had helped pioneer as an aerodrome twenty-six years before.

Andy retired from DCA in 1955, and died in 1961.

The photo below shows the exact same view 70 years later, on 6 May 2006. Although the rows of parked aircraft obscure the view a bit, the hangars and, particularly, the Shell fuel store in the right background can still be made out.

former QEA hangar - see above for a 1930s viewShell fuel store - click here for moreformer QEA hangar - click here for more

The photo below gives another view of the QEA hangars in about 1935. The aircraft are two of QEA's DH86s, VH-UUA RMA Adelaide (closest to camera) and VH-USD RMA Brisbane. Both aircraft were registered to QEA on 22 January 1935 though, whilst Brisbane was new, Adelaide was the former G-ACWE. The UK registration, at the end of a batch of DH86s for Imperial Airways, suggests that the aircraft may have been ordered for that airline but diverted to QEA to replace VH-USG, the second QEA DH86 which crashed on its delivery flight in November 1934.


Click here to see some aerial photos of Archerfield in 1931

Click here to see overviews of this area from 1965 & 2006

(Photo: Top & bottom-CAHS collection; Centre-Phil Vabre collection)

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