Monday, June 14, 2010

RAAF Marsden Park - yet another WWII Sydney area airstrip

Marsden Park airstrip, a WWII dispersal airstrip and later motorsport venue. May have also been called "Berkshire Park", a neighbouring locale. (Or they were two separate airstrips!) Close also to Schofields and Richmond. Marsden Park, despite references suggesting the contrary, is not Pitt Town, another neighbouring dispersal strip to the north and east of Richmond.  
Somewhere in that Google Maps image is a clue to where Marsden Park airstrip actually was...

From the Penrith City Heritage Study, Berkshire Park: "Aerial photographs of the early 1970s show the land west of St. Marys Road was open forest, with a cleared area of the Second World War era diversionary airstrip." The area described, top left of the Google map, is now developed.

Meanwhile, I've found an interesting link between this airstrip and Australian F1 motorsport engineer Ron Tauranac: "Ron Tauranac was born and raised in New South Wales, Australia but lived and worked for most of his life in England. He will be known as one of the great race car designers covering the early Brabhams, the Ralts of the 1970s and 1980s, and less-well known the Theodore F1 car. Ron gained his initial experience of engineering with a local company CSR Chemicals, and bought himself an Austin 7. Out for a drive one Sunday, he came across a race meeting at Marsden Park airfield, near Pittown, Sydney. His interest was sparked, and he quickly met up with the Hooper brothers, of motorcycle repairers Hooper & Napier. The brothers were in the process of building their own 500cc car, using a dirt-track JAP in a very simple chassis." Full story here
Marsden Park Aerodrome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Marsden Park Aerodrome was an aerodrome constructed by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) near Marsden Park, New South Wales, Australia during World War II.

The aerodrome was built in 1942, as a relief landing ground for RAAF Base Richmond, with a runway 5,000 feet (1,500 m) long and 150 feet (46 m) wide. A number of RAAF radar stations; No's 169, 170, 309 & 312 were located around the aerodrome during separate times. The aerodrome was abandoned after World War II and was briefly used as a motorsport facility in the 1950's.
Whilst it's hard to miss a 1,500m airstrip it has been almost 70 years and the land may have been redeveloped or simply ploughed out of existence.

Here is an updated list of Sydney's airports.  

2 comments:

planeimages said...

"Marsden Park" strip, where some motor racing was conducted in the late 40s or early 50s, was actually located in Berkshire Park, a few kilometres to the west of Marsden Park township. In the 1960s the strip was clearly visible but, over the years, development has disguised it from motorists driving along Richmond Road. The strip is exactly opposite the entrance to Windsor Downs, i.e., on the left travelling westbound and a short distance after the Shell service station. The strip crosses the three streets which run parallel to Richmond Road, they are First, Second and Third Roads.

gtveloce said...

Thanks for that location clarification.