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Archerfield Airport

Archerfield Airport is a Leased Federal Airport located in Archerfield, 12 km (7.5 mi) to the south of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.[3] For some time it was the primary airport in Brisbane. During World War II it was used as a Royal Australian Air Force station. Airport traffic peaked in the 1980s. In December 2010, a development plan was released for public comment which included a new parallel runway.[4]

Archerfield Airport

Brisbane/Archerfield Airport
Archerfield ATC.jpg
Archerfield air traffic control tower
Airport typePublic
OwnerLeased Federal Airport
OperatorArcherfield Airports Corporation
Elevation AMSL63 ft / 19 m
Coordinates27°34′13″S 153°00′29″E / 27.57028°S 153.00806°E / -27.57028; 153.00806Coordinates: 27°34′13″S 153°00′29″E / 27.57028°S 153.00806°E / -27.57028; 153.00806
YBAF is located in Queensland
Location in Queensland
Direction Length Surface
m ft
10R/28L 1,100 3,609 Gravel/Asphalt
10L/28R 1,471 4,826 Asphalt
04L/22R 1,245 4,085 Natural
04R/22L 1,100 3,609 Natural
Statistics (2011)
Sources: Australian AIP and aerodrome chart[2]


De Havilland DH89 biplane pictured outside a hangar at the airfield, Archerfield, ca. 1937

The land upon which Archerfield airfield is now situated (Portion 18, Parish of Yeerongpilly) was originally purchased in 1855 by Thomas Grenier, publican of the Brisbane Hotel in Russell Street, South Brisbane. He purchased 640 acres (2.6 km2) of lightly timbered alluvial soil, some of the best grazing land in the district, for a price of £1,920.[5]

Thomas Grenier called his property Oomoropilly. By April 1862 the property was almost established with most of the fences erected and a cottage with outbuildings and a stable erected. By 1865 the property had been subdivided into three farms. Thomas's son George Alexander Grenier and his wife Sarah Greenwood lived on the middle farm where they had been since 1863. Tom and his wife Mary Ann lived in the homestead called Willows which fronted onto Mortimer Road. Franklin Grenier occupied the farm which fronted onto Mortimer and Beatty Roads, and William Leichhardt Grenier ran the farm called Stoneleigh which had a long frontage onto Oxley Creek.

Thomas Grenier died in 1877 and was buried at the cemetery on his property. It was known as Oxley Cemetery at that time. This is now known as Grenier's Cemetery or God's Acre Cemetery and it is located at the main entrance to Archerfield Aerodrome.[6] Franklin Grenier died in 1889 and his farm was bought by the Beatty family in the early 1890s. The other two farms were also sold in the early 20th century.

In 1927, Captain Lester Brain, chief flying instructor for Qantas Airways, landed his de Havilland Giant Moth (DH-61) on Franklin's Farm which was located at the western side of the present aerodrome. His mission was to see if the site was suitable to become an airfield.[5] A Civic Survey was carried out in 1928 by the Brisbane City Council and then in July 1929, part of the Oxley Ward was zoned for noxious trade as recommended in the Civic Survey and it was renamed Archerfield by the Brisbane City Council to distinguish it from the surrounding residential and farming areas.[5]

The Government finally acquired about 300 acres (1.2 km2) of land in 1929. More land was purchased in 1930, 1936, 1942 and finally the cemetery (God's Acre) in 1946 resulting in a total area of 8,250 acres (33.4 km2). Two light gravel strips 5,000 ft × 500 ft (1,524 m × 152 m) were built and the aerodrome started operations.[5]

Qantas moved their operations from Eagle Farm to Archerfield after the first hangars were erected at Archerfield, and the airport was officially opened on 1 April 1931.[7] Ansett ANA and Trans Australia Airlines both used Archerfield during the 1930s. The Queensland Aero Club, which was established in 1919, moved from Eagle Farm to Archerfield in 1931.[5]

The control tower and many buildings at Archerfield were built during these busy years when Archerfield was the main airport in Brisbane. Although designed in 1936, it was not until 1941 that the administrative building and control tower was finally erected at a cost of £15,000. The control tower on top of the administrative building has since been dismantled.[5]

World War IIEdit

During World War II, Archerfield became an important military airfield for the Royal Australian Air Force, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), Military Aviation of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army and Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. The airport was home to RAAF Station Archerfield from 1939 to 1956, with 23 Squadron being the first RAAF squadron to be based in Queensland.[7] Plaques commemorating the RAAF, USAAF and Royal Navy personnel who served in the Pacific theatre can be viewed in the old administration building.[8][9][10]

With the Japanese conquests in the Philippines and much of the Southwest Pacific in 1941 and 1942, Brisbane became both the headquarters of the USAAF Fifth Air Force, as well as a major logistics and maintenance center. Personnel transports and cargo shipping from the United States arrived at Brisbane's port facilities, with aircraft being unloaded and transported to Archerfield. The Air Technical Service Command[clarification needed] 44th Depot Repair Squadron's mission was to uncrate and prepare these aircraft for combat units assigned to Australia. In addition, the squadron was tasked to perform depot-level repair on aircraft in service throughout Australia. Aircraft processed though the depot consisted of P-38 Lightning, P-39 Airacobra, P-40 Warhawk, P-47 Thunderbolt, P-70 Havoc, B-25 Mitchell, B-26 Marauder, B-18 Bolo, and B-24 Liberators.[11] The United States Army 1622d Ordnance and Supply Company (Aviation) was the main organization coordinating warehousing of spare parts, receiving cargo and shipping supplies from Brisbane.[12]

In addition to the maintenance and logistics, during 1942 the flight echelons of USAAF groups and squadrons assigned to Australia received their aircraft at Brisbane. After a short organizational stay, they were reassigned to their operational airfields around the country. Known USAAF units assigned were:[13][14]

B-17C/D Flying Fortress; Aircraft survivors from Philippines Campaign. Reassigned to Karachi, India.
A-20 Havoc; Reassigned to Charters Towers Airfield, Qld.
B-26 Marauder; Reassigned to RAAF Base Amberley, Qld.
B-25 Mitchell; Reassigned to Doomben (Eagle Farm) Airport, Qld.
A-24 Dauntless; Air echelon of 27th Bomb Group originally assigned to Luzon but airfield overrun prior to aircraft arrival in Southwest Pacific. Received aircraft at Brisbane, unit reformed and reassigned to Batchelor Airfield, Northern Territory.
P-38/F-4 Lightning. Unit reassigned from Melbourne to Archerfeld, then moved north to Townsville Airport, Qld. for operational service.
Used various (B-18 Bolo, C-39, C-49, C-56, C-60, DC-3, DC-5) aircraft providing logistics and transport duties. Reassigned to Port Moresby Airport, New Guinea.
P-38/F-4 Lightning, F-7/B-24 Liberator; Unit reassigned from Sydney to Archerfeld. Reassigned to Port Moresby Airport, New Guinea.
P-47 Thunderbolt; Unit reassigned from Sydney to Archerfeld. Reassigned to Dobodura, New Guinea.
Aircraft mechanics working on an Avro Anson Mk1 aircraft at Archerfield, ca. 1942.

The main USAAF flying unit permanently assigned to Archerfield was the Air Transport Command 21st Troop Carrier Squadron from April 1942 to August 1944. Various USAAF bombers and fighters of various types transited the airport, however, thougout the war.[14]

Postwar yearsEdit

After World War II, Ansett ANA and Trans Australia Airlines moved their operations to Eagle Farm Airport. The improvements to Archerfield allowed it to assume its role of secondary and civil aviation airport.

In 1998, the airport was leased by the Federal Airports Corporation to the Archerfield Airport Corporation. Today, Archerfield is used mainly for civil aviation. It is home to the Department of Emergency Services rescue helicopter flights, No. 219 Squadron of the Australian Air Force Cadets[15] and still in their original hangar, the Royal Queensland Aero Club.

General aviation proceduresEdit

Tower hours

Archer Tower is only open between 0700 and 1700 hours. Outside these hours Archerfield becomes a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF). During this time the longest runway (10L/28R) becomes the main active runway for both arrivals and departures. The grass runways are not available during CTAF hours. Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS) broadcast the phonetic letter Zulu to alert pilots that CTAF procedures are in effect.

Reporting points

Archerfield has four inbound reporting points. These are Goodna from the west, Park Ridge water tower from the south, Target from the east and TV towers from the north.

Aircraft reporting inbound are usually given circuit joining instructions straight away however an example when this does not occur is when aircraft reporting inbound from Park Ridge Water Tower during the use of runways 10L and 10R.

Format Example
Tower Archer Tower
[Aircraft Type] Cessna 172
[Call Sign] Romeo Delta Mike
[Reporting Point] Target
Altitude 1,500
Received [ATIS] Received Alpha
Type of Call Inbound

Ground procedures

During tower operating hours Archerfield is a Class D control zone, and taxi clearances are required before ground movement in the manoeuvring area. There are run up bays located near each runway to allow aircraft to conduct pre-flight checks.

See alsoEdit


  This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  1. ^ 122,522
  2. ^ YBAF – Brisbane/Archerfield (PDF). AIP En Route Supplement from Airservices Australia, effective 15 August 2019, Aeronautical Chart Archived 10 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Leased Federal Airports, Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development Archived 6 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 4 September 2014)
  4. ^ Ynja Bjornsson (15 December 2010). "New runway proposed for Brisbane's Archerfield airport". ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Dunn, Peter. "HISTORY OF ARCHERFIELD AERODROME". Archived from the original on 29 April 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  6. ^ Dunn, Peter. "GOD'S ACRE GRENIER CEMETERY ARCHERFIELD AIRPORT". Archived from the original on 30 April 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  7. ^ a b Clark, Colin. "Archerfield Airport Dairy Farm, International Airport, Military Base and Historical Site". Archived from the original on 30 April 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  8. ^ Dunn, Peter. "ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE RAAF STATION ARCHERFIELD 1939 - 1956". Archived from the original on 30 April 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  9. ^ Dunn, Peter. "5TH AIR FORCE USAAF IN AUSTRALIA 1942 - 1945". Archived from the original on 27 December 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  10. ^ Dunn, Peter. "HMS NABSFORD ROYAL NAVY FLEET AIR ARM WHO SERVED AT ARCHERFIELD DURING WW2". Archived from the original on 30 April 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  11. ^ USAF Historical Research Agency document 00052183 Archived 11 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ USAF Historical Research Agency document 00022544
  13. ^ Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  14. ^ a b Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 March 2009.
  15. ^ "2 Wing AAFC - Sth Qld". Australian Air Force Cadets. Archived from the original on 27 February 2015.

External linksEdit