The site of the present-day Essendon Airport has hosted aviation activities since 1919 when the Aero Club first established its base on farmland known as St Johns.
In 1923, St Johns airfield was given the title “Essendon Aerodrome” and became a base for Australia’s rapidly growing civil aviation industry and later, Defence operations during World War II.
After the war, passenger services grew steadily and Essendon operated as Melbourne’s international airport from 1950 until 1970 when international flights were transferred to Melbourne’s new airport at Tullamarine, with domestic flights transferred one year later.
Since the 1970s, Essendon Airport has operated as a general aviation facility and today hosts regular passenger transport to regional locations, charters and tourist flights, emergency services, freight and private aircraft.
In 2001, the long term lease to operate and develop Essendon Airport was acquired from the Federal Government by Essendon Airport Pty Ltd, a joint venture between Linfox Group and Beck Corporation. Since privatisation, the airport’s operators have drawn on their experience in logistics and property development to revitalise Essendon Airport and create the vibrant commercial hub of Essendon Fields.
Click on the interactive timeline below to view important milestones in the development of Essendon Airport & Essendon Fields.
Some of the above information has been provided courtesy of Roger Meyer – Civil Aviation Historical Society and Susan Jennison OAM.