MIDDLE SWAN AIRFIELD
A Memorandum to the Secretary, the Department of the Interior, dated 7 August 1942 indicated that Requisition No. D.W.B. 86/42-43 detailed the following works to be built for the Royal Navy and the United States Navy:-
A parent aerodrome and four (4) dispersal fields in the Fremantle area, with hard surfaced runways and aircraft dispersal facilities at each site, together with Building and Engineering Services, in accordance with Plans and Schedules to be supplied, at an estimated cost of £210,000; the work being Priority A.1. Item 1658.
Middle Swan was to be the parent airfield with the following satellite airfields:-
Gin Gin North
A Memorandum to the Commander Aircraft, 7th Fleet, US Navy Headquarters, Grace Building, York Street, Sydney dated 3 April 1944, advised the following progress with the construction of a Fleet Air Arm Base in the Fremantle area at Middle Swan:-
MIDDLE SWAN (Parent)
Location: 4 miles N.N.W of Midland Junction
Position: Latitude 31º 50 ½" S., Longitude 115º 58 ½' E.
Runways: 52ºM., 132ºM., 180ºM., each 5,000' x 150', primed.
Dispersal Bays 25 M/B Hardstandings complete. Gravelled taxi-way to dispersal complete
On about 15 May 1944, Western Area Headquarters advised that RAAF Headquarters had approved:-
"use of Middle Swan airfield by the United States Army Air Corps until required for other operational purposes. AOC has requested immediate provision water supply 750 personnel estimated cost 500 Pounds and provision hard standing 200 feet by 150 feet, cost 200 Pounds."
In later years after the war, it became known as Caversham Airfield.
The Western Australia Sporting Car Club (WASCC) held the Victory Grand Prix on a makeshift circuit at Middle Swan airfield on 7 April 1946. It was attended by 60,000 people. In 1956 the WASCC obtained a lease for Caversham, which was then converted into a permanent track. The aircraft parking bays were connected by sealed track to become part of the racing circuit.
The Australian Grand Prix was held at Caversham in 1962. This was the same year as the British Commonwealth Empire Games which were held in Perth. The track was resume by the Commonwealth and handed over to the Department of Army in about 1968.
The remains of the old Middle Swan Airfield will soon disappear as it is apparently destined to become a housing estate.
I'd like to thank Simon Somogyi for his assistance with this web page.
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© Peter Dunn 2006
This page first produced 22 July 2007
This page last updated 28 December 2014