WERRIBEE AIRFIELD, VICTORIA
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WWII

 

Werribee airfield was built in early 1940 as a satellite field for Point Cook and Laverton. It was used for the storage of aircraft produced by CAC at Fisherman's Bend until required by the RAAF for night fighter operations. It had an all over grass runway area with no defined runways.

Werribee airfield was also used for the assembly of aircraft coming from the UK as was the International Farm Machinery factory at Geelong.

There were 4 large hangars built at Werribee which still existed on 5 November 2000 when I visited to look at the B-24 Liberator being refurbished in one of the hangars. I was advised that two of the hangars (the 2 nearest the main road) were added to the National Heritage Register the previous week.

Werribee was home to a number of RAAF Repair and Salvage type units during WW2 including:-

1 Central Recovery Depot
9 Repair & Salvage Unit (9RSU)
12 Aircraft Repair Depot (12ARD)
22 Repair & Salvage Unit (22RSU)
26 Repair & Salvage Unit (26RSU)

As a result of these units being based at Werribee many wrecked planes were brought there. Apparently there were still many of these wrecks left at the rear of the airfield at the end of WW2, including some Japanese aircraft possibly including an Oscar from Eagle Farm airfield in Brisbane and 2 German aircraft. After the war the field was used as a disposal dump for aircraft no longer required and many fine planes were broken up there. It was also used as a source of aircraft for the various firing ranges that operated up until the late 1950's.

There are also stories of possible buried aircraft at Werribee airfield.

The Water Board owns the land that the hangars are located on.

At the end of the war, AVM George Jones ordered that 2 of every aircraft that had served with the RAAF be stored at Werribee for later use in a museum that he wanted built. This project started and some 200 aircraft were taken there. But unfortunately some time in 1948 a supply officer made an error and gave the order for them to be broken up. Australia and the RAAF lost a valuable collection.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I'd like to thank Dennis Whiley and Bob Livingstone for their assistance with this web page.

 

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 Peter Dunn 2006

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This page first produced 24 November 2000

This page last updated 28 December 2014