Manbullo airfield


The 43rd Engineer General Services Regiment, US Corps of Engineers started to construct Manbullo airfield in April 1942. They had gravelled 915meters of the eventual 1,981 meter long runway by 19 May 1942. The Allied Works Council (AWC) then bitumened the runways and taxiways.

On 22 March 1942, nine Mitsubishi G4M1 "Betty" bombers of the Japanese Navy's Tokao Kokutai, 23rd Koku Sentai appeared over Katherine at 12.20pm and circled the area. They then disappeared. A local eyewitness Dorothy Hall said they came back about a quarter of an hour later and dropped their bombs. Local farmer Bert Nixon saw the nine bombers in formation coming in from the north east. Most of the bombs dropped on the Katherine airfield and nearby areas but two  bombs landed near Manbullo airfield

34 Squadron RAAF move from Hughes airfield (32 Mile) to Manbullo airfield on 27 August 1942. On 13 December 1942, the aircraft of 34 Squadron RAAF were allocated to 6 Communications Flight RAAF. 34 Squadron RAAF reformed at Parafield in South Australia on 3 January 1943. 


B-24 Liberator of 24 Squadron RAAF being loaded with 300lbs bombs
in about September 1944 at Manbullo Airfield. LAC L.J. Evans and
LAC C.J. Allen are carrying fins to be attached to the bombs.


24 Squadron RAAF was based at Manbullo airfield in the Northern Territory near Katherine from June to September 1944.


Photo:- Doug Tilley August 2009

Doug Tilley's 4WD on the old Manbullo WWII Airfield


Photo:- Doug Tilley August 2009

Photo of an historic plaque near Manbullo Airfield


Photo:- Doug Tilley August 2009

Photo of an historic plaque near Manbullo Airfield erected for the N.T. Heritage Trail
Caption on the photo reads "Hopper at Manbullo during the airfield construction by the US 43rd Engineers - Photo T. Skillman



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This page first produced 15 September 2002

This page last updated 13 January 2020