The Opening of Quirindi Aerodrome - 1957

The opening of the new Quirindi aerodrome on Saturday 28 September 1957 was a big event for the town and surrounding district, the local Quirindi Advocate comparing its importance to the coming of the railway in 1877. Located in north-eastern New South Wales, about 400 km from Sydney, like many outback towns in the 1950s Quirindi regarded its new air service as an important link with the outside world.

Like almost all country aerodromes of the day, Quirindi was designed around the Douglas DC-3, mainstay of regional airline services for many years. DCA checked the Tamarang Shire Council's proposed aerodrome site and then prepared a development plan which provided for two consolidated grass strips, both 500 ft wide. The longer was 5,800 ft while the shorter was 4,700 ft. The work to prepare the runways was conducted by the Council and local volunteer labour under the supervision of DCA, the estimated cost being £12,402. The runway work included grading, draining and sowing with couch and rye grass.

Additionally, a passenger terminal building, consisting of a waiting room, porch, office and 'septic closets' (toilets) was constructed at a cost of £2,000. The total cost of the aerodrome was estimated at £16,000.


On the great day a large crowd gathered to hear speeches from various dignitaries. East-West Airlines also flew in their flagship DC-3 VH-EWA for the occasion. At that time East-West were serving 14 airports, concentrating mainly on intra-state services in NSW.

Along with the new aerodrome came a new air service, with three southbound flights a week heading for Sydney and three northbound flights each week heading for Gunnedah or Tamworth, although East-West did hedge their bets somewhat by saying that they were "closely watching the needs of the Quirindi people in order to provide the best air service available to them, and it will depend entirely upon the demands of the people in that area just how frequent the service will be".


(Photos: CAHS/Dr KNE Bradfield collection. Diagram: Quirindi Advocate, September 24th 1957)

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