The construction of Bairnsdale Airfield commenced on 4 September 1939, the day after war was declared in Europe. A forward air base was established at Bairnsdale on 15 January 1940.

2 Squadron RAAF started to use the airfield as a refueling stop. Bairnsdale became fully operational in May 1942 when 7 Squadron RAAF moved there with its Hudsons to fly shipping convoy escort and ant-submarine patrols.

7 Squadron RAAF was based at Bairnsdale Airfield from 2 April 1942 until 18 August 1942.

No. 1 Operational Training Unit and its Australian built Beaufort bombers was based at Bairnsdale Airfield from 14 June 1942 until 22 April 1943. 1 OTU trained 631 pupils and flew 38,875 hours. Unfortunately there were 53 aircraft crashes in the Bairnsdale area including some lost at sea. At least 71 airmen lost their lives in these tragic crashes. 1 OTU transferred to East Sale in April 1943.

The RAAF's General Reconnaissance School and its Avro Ansons was based at Bairnsdale Airfield from 24 April 1943 until 13 March 1946.

By January 1943 there were 1,997 officers and airmen and 117 WAAAFs plus 285 trainees based at Bairnsdale.


Photo:- Ian Heath 2007

One of the hangars still in use at Bairnsdale airfield


Photo:- Ian Heath 2007

A concrete building at Bairnsdale Airfield
Can anyone tell me what is is?


Photo:- Ian Heath 2007

One of the information plaques on the entrance road to the airfield



I'd like to thank Ian Heath for his assistance with this web page.

I'd also like to thank John Willis for his assistance with this web page.


Can anyone help me with more information?


"Australia @ War" Research Products

I need your help


 Peter Dunn 2015


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any information or photographs

"Australia @ War"
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This page first produced 27 March 2007

This page last updated 16 March 2017