"WOOLOOMANATA" PROPERTY IN VICTORIA
USED AS A TEMPORARY AIRFIELD
AND SOUTHERN COMMAND TRAINING SCHOOL
DURING WW2

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visits since 17 January 2003

 

"Wooloomanata" Homestead lies on the Geelong-Bacchus Marsh Rd, No 1580 in Victoria. It was the station home of the former Minister of Air, Mr. J.V. Fairbairn, who was killed in an aircraft accident near Canberra on 13 August 1940. The homestead was on a slight rise overlooking a large flat paddock. "Wooloomanata is currently owned by the Pettit family. The airfield on the property was known as "Esther's Paddock".

"Wooloomanata" was used as the Southern Command Training School for the Australian Army. 

79 Squadron RAAF was formed in a rush at Laverton on 26 April 1943. They moved almost immediately to "Wooloomanata", near Geelong arriving on 29 April 1943. Spitfires soon arrived which used Esther's paddock as their airfield.

20 days from joining and they received their first aircraft to take off on the long haul to the northern coasts of New Guinea with a mixture of a few combat experienced pilots, one or two ex-instructors, such as Douglas Scott and a majority of people just graduated from OTU. 79 Squadron RAAF was there from May until June 1943. They left "Wooloomanata" and moved to Goodenough Island on 4 June 1943. 

 

Crash of a Wackett Trainer
at Wooloomanata on 21 March 1942

 

 

"Wooloomanata" homestead

 

Entrance to "Wooloomanata" homestead

 


AWM ID Number: P02875.011

Anakie East, Victoria. 24 May 1943. A view southwards from the front verandah
of the Wooloomanata Homestead, 1580 Geelong-Bacchus Marsh Road towards
the line of gum trees where, on the right hand side No. 79 Squadron RAAF Spitfire
Mk Vc aircraft were dispersed during their month-long forming-up period in May 1943.
Pilots may be seen returning from the dispersal area and flying field to the homestead.

 

Memorial to 79 Squadron RAAF at "Wooloomanata" homestead

 

Close-up of Memorial to 79 Squadron RAAF at "Wooloomanata" homestead

 

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No. 15 Course, 23 March 18 April
Southern Command Training School, Wooloomanata

L - R Rear Row: Maj. K. Ewen, Capt. N.F. Attree, Capt. C.N. Bucknell, Capt. J.L. McKenzie, Capt. C.D. Seabrook, Lt. W.G. Foley
Maj. C. Dumble, Capt. A. Tavener, Maj. F. Langford, Maj. T.A.R. Cleave, Capt. M.D. Waller, Capt. J.B. Ainslie, Capt. G.M. Taylor
Capt. E.K. Jennings, Lt. J.H. Loxton, Capt. D.J. Breheny, Lt. R.V. Stephens, Capt. J.W.D. Cornell, Maj. C.A. Ricketts, Lt. A.R. Creswick
Lt. W. Ruthven, V.C., Capt. R.C. Tomkins, Capt. R.J. Bermingham, Maj. A.E. Arnott, Capt. L.S. Ralton, Maj. F.L. Edmunds, Capt. W.E. Paterson
Maj. H.W. Stockwell, Capt. C.A. Ferry, Maj. A.C. Jennings, Capt. W.L. Hart, Maj. R.R. Marston, Capt. R.A. Cameron, Capt. R.W.M. Page
Lt. A.E. Pizzey, Capt. A.G. Yungman, Maj. T.G. Court, Maj. J.B. Chapman, Maj. H.F. Gough, Maj. P.L. Barbour, Maj. H.M. Heward, Maj. E.C. Nolte
Lt. G.H. Rowden, Capt. C.J.F. Pollett, Maj. A.E. Bunbury, Lt-Col. E.W. Bundey, Major W.A. Cronk, Capt. B.V. Eames, Lt. N.D. Anderson, Maj. C.A. Lotherington

Absent: Lt. R.R. Webster, Lt. R.B. Blackwell?

Is the P. Barbour in the above photograph, the chap who became head of ASIO?

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Douglas Scott from 79 Squadron for his assistance with this page.

I'd like to thank David Gough for his assistance with this home page, particularly for the above colour photographs.

 

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 Peter Dunn 2003

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This page first produced 15 April 2001

This page last updated 04 September 2009