Main Civil Aviation History Index
The repatriation of a large number of trained pilots and the importation of a number of aircraft for civil use at the conclusion of World War I caused the Australian Government to make provision for the regulation of civil aviation in Australia. Accordingly, the Air Navigation Act 1920 was passed by Parliament, granted Royal Assent on 2 December 1920, gazetted on 11 February 1921 and came into force on 28 March 1921.
Regulations were drawn up under the Act to provide for the registration and periodical examination of aircraft, licensing of aerodromes, examination and licensing of personnel engaged in flying and in the maintenance of aircraft, and rules of the air.
The organisation established to administer the Act and Regulations was the Civil Aviation Branch of the Department of Defence. This organisation grew and evolved over time, changing its name and function along the way. In 1938 the organisation became a Government Department in its own right, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA).
From 1973 onwards, DCA began a series of changes that saw it amalgamated with other Government Departments and parts broken away to form other, independent organisations. Regardless of what it was called at a particular point in time, for the sake of ease of use this web site uses the term "the Department" to identify all branches and iterations of the organisation in a generic sense unless a specific organisational name is quoted. Click here to see a list of organisational acronyms used on this site.
The Department had a wide range of powers to regulate civil aviation. We are continually adding to this part of our website and you can find out more about the various activities of the Department, and related aspects of civil aviation in Australia, by clicking on the images on this page.