Parafield - 1965
2 RAAF C-47sDAP hangarsAviation Service (SA) LtdOps/Admin & Control Tower - click here to learn moreRoyal Aero Club of SARoss Aviation/Rossair4 general purpose hutsRobby's Aviation storage hangarRobby's Aviationglider hangargeneral use & visiting aircraft hangar former water tower stand

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This photograph of Adelaide's Parafield aerodrome dates from October 1965. Note that apart from the sealed aprons, the movement area is still all grass. Sealed runways were still some time off.

In the centre of the shot is the art-deco Ops/Admin building with its Control Tower cab on the roof. This building, and similar buildings constructed at Brisbane/Archerfield and Sydney/Mascot, was built in 1940. They were the first purpose-built Control Towers in Australia. By this time control was mostly exercised by VHF radio, though visual light signals were still regularly in use for some light aircraft. The former signal square, which was on the grassed area to the left of the Tower, has disappeared.

Working from the Tower to the left (north-west), the hangars are:

  • Aviation Services (SA) Ltd, the South Australian Auster agents. According to aviation historian Geoff Goodall "By 1960 they had set up country flying schools in competition with the Aero Club using Chipmunks, and were also active Beagle agents: their hangar was always packed with rag and tube aircraft and I never saw a Cessna or Piper in there."
  • The igloo hangar was built by RAAF in WW2 and at this time was in use by Department of Aircraft Production (DAP) who built the adjoining two very large hangar and office complexes for Dakota overhauls for RAAF. DAP continued this work for RAAF & RAN into the '70s. Two RAAF C-47s can be seen parked on the tarmac.

Working from the Tower to the right (north-east), the hangars are:

  • Royal Aero Club of SA.
  • United Aviation, later Aerokair then Rossair.
  • Four huts that were still there until the '80s at least and had various uses.
  • Bellman hangar used by Robby's Aircraft for aircraft storage.
  • Next two hangars also used by Robby's Aircraft (Frank Robbiliard) training with Avro Cadets, Tigers and Ryan STMs and the first aerial agricultural operator in SA with Cadets and Tigers.
  • Smaller hangar: used for glider maintenance and wood/fabric components repair.
  • Small top hangar: general use. Visiting aircraft parked up there and on the grass opposite.

According to Geoff Goodall: "All of those huts behind the hangar rows were put in by RAAF during WW2, and I recognise a number of them that survived into the '70s at least. They were used by Aero Club, Rossair, and Robbys for storage, and I remember one large hut had 3 crashed aero club Chippie wrecks stashed inside." The formerly distinctive water tower near the airport entrance has disappeared although it's supporting tower remains.

Roll your mouse over the main buildings or significant features in the photo for identification and, in some cases, more information.


Compare this photo with a similar shot from 1948

(Photo: Will Heitbrink/CAHS collection)

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