Collection type Place
Category Military base
  • Australia
  • Australian Capital Territory
  • Fairbairn


Uphold and endure

RAAF Station Canberra was officially established on 1 April 1940. Prior to this, the RAAF had established a temporary camp in Canberra for the official opening of Federal Parliament in 1927, and 8 Squadron was formed and based in Canberra in September 1939. During the war, the airfield was used as a base for anti-submarine patrols and as a training school for personnel serving in army cooperation squadrons. From April 1942 to December 1943 three squadrons from the Netherlands East Indies Air Force were also based at Canberra. Following the Cowra outbreak in August 1944, aircraft from the base were used to search for the 500 escaped Japanese prisoners.

Headquarters RAAF Station Canberra ceased to function on 31 May 1952 and Headquarters RAAF Canberra was formed the next day. Ten years later, on 19 March 1962, the name was again changed, to Headquarters RAAF Fairbairn, in honour of J.V. Fairbairn, the former Minister for Air who died in an air crash at Canberra on 13 August 1940.

Headquarters RAAF Fairbairn was closed on 30 January 1991 and its functions were taken over by Base Squadron Fairbairn. On 28 May 1998 the base was sold to the Canberra Internationl Airport, although part of the base was leased back to the Department of Defence, on a five-year lease, as operations were wound up. The base was decommissioned on 27 June 2003.

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