Archerfield Airport (ICAO: YBAF) is a small airport located 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) south-west of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
The land upon which Archerfield airfield is now situated (Portion 18, Parish of Yeerongpilly) was originally purchased in 1855 by Thomas Grenier, publican of the Brisbane Hotel in Russell St., South Brisbane. He purchased 640 acres (2.6 km²) of lightly timbered alluvial soil, some of the best grazing land in the district, for a price of £1,920.
Thomas Grenier called his property Oomoropilly. By April 1862 the property was almost established with most of the fences erected and a cottage with outbuildings and a stable erected. By 1865 the property had been subdivided into three farms. Thomas's son George Alexander Grenier and his wife Sarah Greenwood lived on the middle farm where they had been since 1863. Tom and his wife Mary Ann lived in the homestead called Willows which fronted onto Mortimer Road. Franklin Grenier occupied the farm which fronted onto Mortimer and Beatty Roads, and William Leichhardt Grenier ran the farm called Stoneleigh which had a long frontage onto Oxley Creek.
Thomas Grenier died in 1877 and was buried at the cemetery on his property. It was known as Oxley Cemetery at that time. This is now known as Grenier's Cemetery or [God's Acre]http//www.foga.org.au and it is located at the main entrance to Archerfield aerodrome. Franklin Grenier died in 1889 and his farm was bought by the Beatty family in the early 1890s. The other two farms were also sold in the early 1900s.
In 1927 Captain Lester Brain, chief flying instructor for Qantas Airways, landed his DH-61 on Franklin's Farm which was located at the western side of the present aerodrome. His mission was to see if the site was suitable to become an airfield. A Civic Survey was carried out in 1928 by the Brisbane City Council and then in July 1929, part of the Oxley Ward was zoned for noxious trade as recommended in the Civic Survey and it was renamed Archerfield by the Brisbane City Council to distinguish it from the surrounding residential and farming areas.
The Government finally acquired about 300 acres (1.2 km²) of land in 1929. More land was purchased in 1930, 1936, 1942 and finally the cemetery (God's Acre) in 1946 resulting in a total area of 825 acres (3.3 km²). Two light gravel strips 5,000 feet x 500 feet were built and the aerodrome started operations.
In the 1930s Qantas moved their operations from Eagle Farm to Archerfield after the first hangars were erected at Archerfield. Ansett ANA and Trans Australia Airlines both used Archerfield during the 1930s. The Queensland Aero Club, which was established in 1919, moved from Eagle Farm to Archerfield in 1931.
The Control Tower and many buildings at Archerfield were built during these busy years when Archerfield was the main airport in Brisbane. Although designed in 1936, it was not until 1941 that the Administrative building and Control Tower was finally erected at a cost of £15,000. The Control Tower on top of the Administrative building has since been dismantled.
World War II
During World War II, Archerfield became an important military air base for the Royal Australian Air Force, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), Royal Netherlands Air Force and Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. The airport was home to RAAF Station Archerfield from 1939 to 1956. Plaques commemorating the RAAF, USAAF and Royal Navy personnel who served in the Pacific theatre can be viewed in the old administration building.
With the Japanese conquests in the Philippines and much of the Southwest Pacific in 1941 and 1942, Brisbane became both the headquarters of the USAAF Fifth Air Force, as well as a major logistics and maintenance center. Personnel transports and cargo shipping from the United States arrived at Brisbane's port facilities, with aircraft being unloaded and transported to Archerfield. The Air Technical Service Command 44th Depot Repair Squadron's mission was to uncrate and prepare these aircraft for combat units assigned to Australia. In addition, the squadron was tasked to perform depot-level repair on aircraft in service throughout Australia. Aircraft processed though the depot consisted of P-38, P-39, P-40, P-47, P-70, B-25, B-26, A-20, B-18, and B-24s. The United States Army 1622d Ordnance and Supply Company (Aviation) was the main organization coordinating warehousing of spare parts, receiving cargo and shipping supplies from Brisbane.
In addition to the maintenance and logistics, during 1942 the flight echelons of USAAF groups and squadrons assigned to Australia received their aircraft at Brisbane. After a short organizational stay, they were reassigned to their operational airfields around the country.
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