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Point Cook RAAF Base, Point Cook

Citation

Wyndham City Libraries, “Point Cook RAAF Base, Point Cook,” Wyndham History, accessed November 12, 2019, http://www.wyndhamhistory.net.au/items/show/321.
Description

RAAF Base at Point Cook comprising a number of distinctive structures and other features.

Source

City of Wyndham Heritage Study 1997

Description

RAAF Base at Point Cook comprising a number of distinctive structures and other features.

Title

Point Cook RAAF Base, Point Cook

Subject

Air force bases - Point Cook (Vic.), Air force bases - Laverton (Vic.), Air force bases - Richmond (NSW), Murdoch, John Smith,

Creator

Wyndham City Libraries

Source

City of Wyndham Heritage Study 1997

Publisher

Context Pty Ltd

Date

1997

Contributor

Dr Carlotta Kellaway

Format

text

Language

eng

Type

Text

The RAAF Base at Point Cook comprises a number of distinctive structures and other features.  The significant features identified in the National  Trust's assessment of the significance of the site are listed below.  Detailed descriptions of these structures are available in a nomination to the Registrar of the National Estate:

- Former motor garage (Building No 90)
- Former Aeronautics School (Building No 91)
- Former New Aeronautics School (Building No 92)
- Former New Air Navigation School (Building No 93)
- Former New Wireless School (Building No 96)
- Former Seaplane Squadron Headquarters (Building No 100)
- Former Seaplane Hangars (Building No 101)
- Former Seaplane Jetty (Building No 108)
- Bases of Former Buildings 105 and 106 (Buildings Nos 232 and 233)
- Former Gunnery Shop Butt (Building No 121)
- Former Flight Office and Casualty Room, now Barracks Office (Building No 72W)
- Magazine and Pyrotechnics Store (Building Nos 97 and 119)
- Electric Sub-station (Building No 120)
- Inflammable Store (Building No 122)
- Hangars No. 104, 210, 95.

History
The RAAF Base at Point Cook with the southern tarmac group of buildings, facilities and adjacent airfield and the Parade Ground and Domestic Group make up a living complex of great significance in early aviation in Australia.  With the Laverton Base, the Point Cook Base has a place not only in the history of the Shire, but also in the history of the Commonwealth of Australia.

At the beginning of 1914, according to one account, two tents under a clump of pines represented practically all that was to later develop into a Royal Australian Airforce Station, Point Cook.  The first course to train pilots organised by the Central Flying School at Point Cook commenced in the same year.  Later on 20 November 1914, the first group of graduates left Point Cook for overseas service.

As Point Cook remained the only base in Australia to 1925 when RAAF expansion rought Laverton, the Richmond (New South Wales) bases into being, it can truly be called the Home of the Air Force.

Building of the southern tarmac group of buildings commenced in 1914, at a time when aircraft was novelty, with the erection of the workshop for aeroplanes and an aeroplane hanger, followed by a flight office (1915) now removed to the northern tarmac.  A seaplane jetty was built in 1916 and a battle plane hangar and equipment store in 1916, the latter building now removed to the northern tarmac.  An aeronautics school and motor garage were added in 1922 and a seaplane hangar in 1927.  During the 1930s, more buildings were added including: magazine and pyrotechnics store and electric sub-station (1934), gunnery stop butt (1935), new aeronautics school (1936), seaplane squadron headquarters (1938), and a new navigation school, new wireless school and inflammable store (1939).

From 1914 until 1929 the works were carried out under the direction of the architect, John Smith Murdoch, subsequently chief architect for the Commonwealth.

This group of buildings has been identified as of particular significance and is on the register of the National Trust and the Australian Heritage Commission.  A group of five Bellman Hangars has been recorded by the National Trust.

The National Trust has also identified the Parade Group and Domestic Group  of buildings at Point Cook.  This group consists of the Parade Ground, the Headquarters Building, Flagpole and Memorial and Married Quarters buildings constructed between 1914 and 1928.

Significant events associated with the Point Cook RAAF Base include the first transcontinental flight to Darwin (1920), the first round Australia flight (1924) and the first non-stop fight to Perth (1928).  All these events were made from Point Cook.

With the advent of the Empire Training Scheme, the Point Cook Base expanded rapidly, personnel reaching two thousand, with the Armament School and Signals School also being based there.  However, the end of the Second World War brought a reduction in activities, all training being suspended.  On 1 November 1945, the RAAF Staff School (later renamed the RAAF Staff College) moved from Mount Martha to Point Cook.  It remained there for 15 years before moving to Canberra.  Its place was taken by the Officer Training School.

All the streets and roads at Point Cook are named after members of the AFC and RAAF.  A memorial shrine stands at the rear of the main parade in memory of the Australian Flying Corps in World War 1.  The RAAF Museum at Point Cook, established in 1952, preserves relics of the AFC and RAAF.

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