Perth/Maylands - 1960s

WAA DH66 hangars

On 2nd November 1923, the Commonwealth approved the acquisition of a 130 acre, roughly rectangular, site on a bend of the Swan River at Maylands, about 4 miles from the Perth GPO, as Perth's first permanent aerodrome. Maylands aerodrome opened in 1924 and West Australian Airways immediately moved their hangar from the Esplanade to the new site and commenced building another larger hangar. The Swan was prone to flooding and, although a levee and pumping station were later installed, Maylands remained boggy in winter throughout its life. The levee can be clearly seen in the photo above.

West Australian Airways initially operated Bristol Tourers up the west coast. In 1929 WAA won the contract offered by the CAB to establish an air service between Perth and Adelaide using de Havilland DH66 Hercules aircraft. The DH66 was a huge aircraft for its day, and special hangars were constructed at Perth/Maylands, Adelaide/Parafield and Forrest, on the Nullarbor Plain, to house them. All of these hangars survive to this day (2008) and are among the oldest surviving hangars in Australia. The two Maylands hangars are the semi-circular 'blister' hangars visible in the photos above and below.

Other tenants on the aerodrome included MacRobertson Miller Aviation Co. (MMA) and, from 1935, Airlines (WA) Ltd. The Royal Aero Club of Western Australia was also based at Maylands.


WAA DH66 hangars

By 1938 it had become apparent that Maylands offered limited opportunities for expansion to meet the runway performance requirements of more modern aircraft and land for another airport was purchased at Guildford. Perth/Guildford was initially a military airfield during the Second World War, but soon afterward it became the main Perth airport.

Maylands continued as a base for General Aviation operations, but the aerodrome was really too small and the circuit conflicted with nearby Perth/Guildford. By the end of the 1950s, DCA had decided that Maylands should be closed and ordered all the tenants to move. The Royal Aero Club of Western Australia, for example, left Maylands on 23 April 1959 and set up operations at Perth/Guildford pending the opening of the new General Aviation airport at Jandakot. The opening of Jandakot in 1963 allowed Maylands to be finally closed to all operations on 30 June 1963.

The photos on this page show an almost-deserted Maylands in September 1961.

(Photos: Geoff Goodall collection)

Click here to see the first Departmental Office at Maylands in 1936

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