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Hangars at RAAF Station Archerfield in 1940

RAAF Station Archerfield was a permanent Royal Australian Air Force station at Archerfield Airport in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, from 1939 to 1956.


1939 - 1945

At the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, the RAAF took over the Royal Queensland Aero Club facilities at Archerfield Airport. Club aircraft were impressed into service and flying instructors were commissioned into the RAAF. No. 2 Elementary Flight Training School was transferred to Archerfield to look after flight training. No. 23 Squadron RAAF, now officially called "City of Brisbane Squadron", received the Australian built CAC Wirraway to defend the city against air attack.

Up to 1941, Archerfield was being upgraded as a military base for the RAAF pending completion of RAAF Base Amberley. In 1940 a new administration block with control tower on top was built and the RAAF built hangars and huts along the southern boundary of the field.

The attack on the US base in Pearl Harbor coincided with another on US bases in the Philippines. The loss of these bases made Australia, especially the north of the country, a valuable staging area for the war against the Japanese. In the following months, military aircraft of several countries competed for space with the civil airliners still operating.

On 1 July 1942, the RAAF transferred control of the airfield to the United States Army Air Forces. Visitors to the station included General Douglas MacArthur and a young Gough Whitlam, then a navigator on a Lockheed Ventura.

In February 1945, the Royal Navy moved its Transportable Aircraft Maintenance Yard No.1, known as TAMY 1, to Archerfield. The Royal Navy base was known as HMS Nabsford and a plaque commemorating it and the British personnel who served in the Pacific theatre can be viewed in the old administration building along with plaques from the RAAF and the US 5th Air Force.

1945 - 1956

No. 23 Squadron RAAF was reformed at Archerfield in 1947 flying the CA-17 Mustang 20. No. 1 Initial Flying Training School was based at Archerfield in 1951 until it was merged with No. 1 Basic Flying School in 1955. No. 23 Squadron RAAF re-equipped with the De Havilland Vampire in 1955, but the grass fires started by the Vampires’ jet exhausts on the grass runways necessitated relocating the squadron to RAAF Base Amberley. The Station Headquarters was closed soon after.

Units based at Archerfield

Royal Australian Air Force

United States Army Air Force

Royal Netherlands Air Force

Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm

  • Transportable Aircraft Maintenance Yard No.1

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