Air Traffic Services Index

With the development of commercial air services (and radio) in the 1930s came the need for a supporting ground organisation. This need was reinforced by the tragic losses of the first ANA's Avro X Southern Cloud in 1931, Airlines of Australia's Stinson VH-UHH in 1937 and the second ANA's DC3 Kyeema in 1938. At first marine radio stations were used for communication with aircraft, but soon a dedicated air traffic services organisation was established, one that continues to play a vital role in safe air transport today.




click hear to read the brochure

< Read the ANA brochure Flying With an Ear to the Ground c.1948-49

< View a 1956 slide show about Air Traffic Control

Read about Coastal Radio Stations in the Early Days of Communications With Aircraft

Download a Movie Clip: A Position Report, 1950s-style

The Phonetic Alphabet - Old & New

Read about the 'Q' code

Australian Company Radio Callsigns

A list of Unit and equipment acronyms used on this site



Article - The Coming of Aeradio

NOTAM 6/1940 giving callsigns for Aeradio Stations


< Read about The Early Days of Aeradio on Lord Howe Island
< Take a tour through a typical Aeradio station - 1939
< Look around Karumba Aeradio & Flying Boat Base - 1938


Launceston/Western Junction:

  • temporary Aeradio Station - 1938
  • permanent Aeradio Station - 1939

Nhill Aeradio - 1939 & 2009

Oodnadatta Aeradio - 1939

Darwin/Parap Aeradio station - late 1930s

Read about Aeradio during the Second World War

Cloncurry Aeradio station - 1940

Daly Waters Aeradio station - 1940s

Halls Creek Aeradio - 1941-42

Hobart/Cambridge Aeradio - c.1940s

Kempsey Aeradio and the Flood of '49

Sydney Aeradio - c.late 1950s

Adelaide Aeradio cartoon - 1950

Bundaberg Aeradio 1954

Cocos Island Aeradio - 1955-57

The historic, surviving Aeradio Station at Hobart/Cambridge - 2011



Bundaberg Flight Service Unit:

Wynyard Flight Service Unit and read about the unique railway crossing - 1960s

Devonport Flight Service Unit - 1975

Mildura Flight Service Unit - c.mid-1970s

Melbourne Flight Service Centre - 1976

Charleville FSU - 1987 and now disused in 2001

The former FSU at Dubbo - 2007 - also used for a 6-month Unicom trial from December 2007

Below: Cover of a booklet about Flight Service training courses c.1978 showing the Central Training College (Henty House) Flight Service simulator (at the time Victorian airspace was simulated).
The FSO on the far left is Kevin Carter, and the fourth FSO from the left standing and leaning forward is Dick Cantwell, both FS Instructors.


Flight Service

he history of Air Traffic Control - Part 1, Part 2

DCA pamphlet on The Air Traffic Control Service c.1950

Essendon ATC complex - c. early 1950s

Runway Selection Diagram for ATC and aircrews - 1955

1956 Press Release concerning new ATC facilities

Photo of the 1967 ATC Standardisation Meeting

Examine a chart showing the extent of controlled airspace and radar coverage - 1967

Read some ATC humour from the Melbourne AACC Quote Book 1977-81 and the Launceston ACC Quote Book 1981-89

Departmental 'Information Paper' on The Use of Radar in Air Traffic Control - c.1980s

An essay on Air Traffic Control surveillance systems, including the difference between Primary and Secondary radar




< Read a recruiting brochure - c.1964
click here to read the 1979 recruiting brochure < Read a recruiting brochure - 1979

Look at ATC salaries and career structure - 1981



Read about the Signal Square

Photo of an Air Traffic Controller using the Aldis signalling lamp and Very flare pistol - late 1940s.

Photo of an Air Traffic Controller using a Signal Lamp - 2010

Read about Control Towers Part 1 (1937-1946), Part 2 (post-1946)


Sydney/Mascot Tower No.1 c.1937
Sydney/Mascot Tower No.2 & Control Building - c.1945

Sydney/Kingsford Smith's Tower No.4 - 1989




Adelaide/Parafield Ops-Admin Building, Passenger Terminal & Control Tower No.2:

Adelaide/Parafield Control Tower No.3 - 2008

Adelaide/West Beach Tower No.3 - 2008


Brisbane/Archerfield Ops-Admin Building, Passenger Terminal & Control Tower No.1:


Brisbane/Archerfield Control Tower No.2:

  • under construction - 1974
Photo of a primitive early post-War 'Control Tower' in New Guinea - c.late 1940s

Melbourne/Essendon Towers Nos.1 & 2:

Photo of the Essendon ATC complex c.early 1950s


Hobart/Cambridge Control Tower c. early 1950s - external & internal

Photos and early history of Mangalore Tower - c.1950

Adelaide/West Beach Control Tower No.2 -

Cocos Island Tower - 1955-57

Melbourne/ Essendon Control Tower No.3 (present Tower):


The Control Towers of Melbourne/Tullamarine Airport:

  • Tower No.2 under construction - 2010 Page 1, Page 2
  • construction continuing - 2011

The Control Towers of Melbourne/Moorabbin:


Download by clicking here

< Download a short history of Moorabbin Airport & Control Tower by clicking on the icon at left. (260 KB .pdf file)

Perth/Guildford Control Tower No.1 - 1960

Perth/Guildford Control Tower No.2 & Fire Station:

Perth Tower

Perth/Guildford Control Tower No.3:

  • construction c.1985

The Control Towers of Darwin:

Devonport Control Tower and Terminal - 1965

Mackay Control Tower and Terminal, 1968 - outside & inside

DCA Control Launch C.A.15 at Rose Bay - 1969

Inside Sydney/Kingsford Smith Control Tower - April 1968

The old Control Tower at Adelaide/West Beach - c. late 1960s

Alice Springs Tower - c.1970s-2007

The old Tamworth Tower - 1968-1990s

Rockhampton Tower - c.1970s

Port Moresby/Jacksons, Papua, Control Tower c.1971-73 - inside and outside


Read about the temporary Control Tower at Fitzroy Crossing for the visit of Princess Margaret in 1972
The Proserpine 'Pie Cart' (Mobile Control Tower) - 1977
A temporary Control Tower for the Birdsville Races - 1982

Mobile Control Towers - 1977, 2005


Canberra Tower inside & out - 1976-2008

Rare photo of two Towers at Karratha (also the FSC/BO) - 1987


Brisbane Tower No.3:

Cairns Towers - 1959 & 2005

Albury Tower - 2007


The remarkable story of Gove Tower


Photos of:

Read about The Semi-Automatic Level Assignment Board

Sydney Area Control Centre 1956 showing the Semi-automatic Level Assignment Board

Launceston Area Control Centre 1968 showing the Semi-automatic Level Assignment Board

'Bright Display' radar display system -1977

Aerial photo c.2003 showing the location of Melbourne's three Air Traffic Control Centres

Melbourne Area Approach Control Centre - 1979 (Bright Display)

Melbourne Area Approach Control Centre c.1980s (Bright Display)

The 'new' Melbourne Area Approach Control Centre c.1988 (ATCARDS)

Panorama of the Melbourne AACC - Nov 1993 (ATCARDS)

The third Air Traffic Services Centre at Melbourne/Tullamarine (TAAATS) - c.1999-2000.



Essendon Briefing 1948-49 & 1989

Moorabbin Briefing c.1970s

Bundaberg Briefing - 1979

Flight Plan & route briefing pack for Ansett Electra VH-RMC, Melbourne-Sydney - 1966

Domestic Flight Plan Form & flight plan approval - 1990


Melbourne Air Traffic Control Simulator Instructors, c.1992.


For radar & messaging, go to the Communications & Navigation index



DCA Aero Commander 680E VH-CAY being loaded with Storepedoes, c.1967

Sea Rescue Kit - 1960s

SAR stores dropping exercise involving a TAA Fokker F.27 - 1981

DoA Gulfstream 1000 VH-LTJ being tested for dropping SAR stores, c.1983

Loading SAR stores aboard a Departmental G1000

Try the link to AusSAR on our links page.


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