RAAF Base Laverton

From Our Contribution

RAAF Laverton.jpg

Brief History

Point Cook was the only base in Victoria until 1925 when Laverton was opened to support the increased workload in flying and maintenance commitments. The existing warehouses and workshops were inadequate to service the expanding numbers of aircraft requiring accommodation there. Also machinery stored in unsealed canvas hangers at Point Cook were deterioratig due to their exposure to salt air, and the site was therefore inappropriate for the growing support squadron. A 160 acre site, seven kilometers to the north, that had been acquired in 1921 was chosen, as it was also capable of housing an aircraft landing strip. Point Cook would revert to pilot training with No. 1 Squadron RAAF moving to Laverton on 1 Mar 1926. It was also to be the testing ground for a number of RAAF aircraft.

Activity increased as WW2 approached and during the war Laverton served as the birthplace of squadrons that later served in the Pacific theatre. Laverton also saw the formation of a paratroop training unit, an equipment training school and the 150 Radio Direction Finding Unit, formed in May 1943. Many of the units formed then moved north, but Laverton's prime function, that of an aircraft depot, continued throughout thc War.

The Aircraft Research and Development Unit moved to Laverton from Point Cook on 25 Oct 1948; 6 RAAF Hospital moved to Laverton in 1949; and he School of Radio moved from Ballarat to Laverton in 1961 to join the radio apprentice school already located there. In June 1946, the first jet to land at Laverton was a Gloster Metior. In May 1947. the first Vampire jet aircraft assemblod at No. 1 Aircraft Depot was flown for the first time in Australia. The first Canberra aircraft arrived from the United Kingdom in August 1951, and later the first Australian-built Canberra arrived for delivery to I AD in july 1953.

With a name change in May 1952 to Headquarters RAAF Laverton, the base continued to be the starting point for several aircraft types introduced to the Air Force. The first Australian built Sabre lighter aircraft arrived in September 1953 and September 1955 saw the first Australaim-built Winjeel arrive at Lnvcrton Base.

In March 1989 Point Cook and Laverton combined to form RAAF Williams which includes a naval reserve unit and an air cadet unit. Laverton airfield now is used as the second commercial airport for Melboune.

Units based at Laverton

Unit Personnel


Content has come from Units of the Royal Australian Air Force - A Concise History - Volume 1 Bases, Supporting Organisations - Australian Government Publishing Service - 1995

External Links