Essendon Tower - 1940s

Keith Leonard in Essendon (then Melbourne) Control Tower in the late 1940s. At that time the sports coat was the unofficial uniform of Air Traffic Control.

Under his right hand is an early version of the Semi-Automatic Altitude Assignment Board (SAAB), which enabled silent coordination of levels for arriving aircraft between Approach (located in a hut nearby) and Tower.

The audio console on the desk is preserved in the collection of the Airways Museum - click here to see it.

This Tower, the second at Essendon, while a vast improvement on the original box atop the aero-club, had its shortcomings. On one occasion staff wrote to Head Office complaining of having to stand ankle-deep in water due to the rain leaking in. The response was to offer a supply of waterproof coats and gumboots!

(Photo: CAHS collection)

Click here to see external photos of this Tower

Listen to some recollections of life in Essendon Tower:

ATC Training c.1945 (Don Charlwood - 718 KB MP3 file)

Toilet Facilities (Jack Russell - 1.84 MB MP3 file)

Doggos (night shifts) (Jack Russell - 1.4 MB MP3 file)

(Safari users: try OPTION + click on the link to download the file)

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