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Daly Waters Airfield

Northern Territory, Australia

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Type Military airfield
Coordinates Latitude:
In use 1942-1945

Daly Waters Airfield was an airfield located at Daly Waters, Northern Territory, Australia.


Daly Waters was Australia's first international airfield. The airfield was a centre for the London to Sydney air race of 1926 and was a refuelling stop for early Qantas flights to Singapore.

The airfield was a waypoint on the "Brereton Route" the early months of 1942 during World War II for operations between Australia and Java. It was a staging base for aircraft from Cloncurry, Queensland and then up to Darwin, Northern Territory area airfields.

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) requisitoned the airfield and on 15 March 1942 it became RAAF Base Daly Waters. Daly Waters became an operational base known as RAAF Daly Waters on 15 May 1942.

The 64th Bomb Squadron of the USAAF Fifth Air Force 43rd Bombardment Group were based at Daly Waters from 16 May 1942 until 2 August 1942, flying B-17 Flying Fortresses from the airfield. The squadron made numerous attacks on Japanese shipping in the Dutch East Indies and the Bismarck Archipelago. Other operations during this period included support for ground forces on New Guinea; attacks on airfields and installations in New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, Celebes, Halmahera, Yap, Palau, and the southern Philippines; and long-range raids against oil refineries on Ceram and Borneo.

In late 1943 the RAAF base was wound down as the war proceeded north, and the airfield was returned to civil use.

Commercial traffic continued at the airfield until 1970. Ansett and TAA operated one flight a week on a Wednesday with TAA flying south in the morning and Ansett flying north in the evening. The last TAA flight was April 1, 1970 with Ansett a week or so later. The original Qantas hangar still stands, housing exhibits of photographs and equipment from the area's aviation past. The main runway, although deteriorated, appears to still be serviceable. The airfield is still utilized by the RAAF for joint military maneuvers.

Units based at Daly Waters

64th Bombardment Squadron (43d Bombardment Group), 16 May-2 August 1942 B-17 Flying Fortress
Dispersed from Group HQ at Sydney, NSW

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

External links

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