After the bombing of Darwin, the United States and Australia made joint plans for Australian inland defence. The Tocumwal airfield was the largest and first of several large airfields planned for construction in relation to the the line of possible Japanese advance. It was built by the Australian Government (Australian Civil Construction Corps and Allied Works Council) on behalf of the United States Army Air Force between February and April 1942. Five thousand people were involved in the construction of the base which was designed to stage bombing raids and reconnaisance flights, as well as take the role of the first training centre in the South-West Pacific for Liberators. Not long after the 'houses' were erected at the end of the building process, the Battle of the Coral Sea halted the Japanese advance and the USAAF decided to move north to Townsville. The Royal Australian air force officially took over the running of Tocumwal in November 1942, establishing it as a hospital and training base.

(Information from Thematic Study: WWII Aerodromes and associated structures in New South Wales, New South Wales Heritage Office, 2000, and military historians Dr Darryl McIntyre and Noel Flanagan)

 

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•  The Tocumwal air force base

•  Constructing the Tocumwal air force base

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The Tocumwal Archive was first developed by Mary Hutchison and Katherine Pepper with the support of
PhotoAccess and funds from the ACT Government through its Heritage Council.

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