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Collapse Issue 201 - 13 Oct 2008Issue 201 - 13 Oct 2008
Collapse  NEWS NEWS
Council to fight bed closure
Groups to ride to Gosford CBD
Chamber calls for loss details
More disruption for Bulls Hill works
Residents asked to prepare for fire
Lobbying for bypass study
Chamber supports network replacement
Andrews warns on climate change
Hawthornes are farewelled
Channel dredging a priority, says Freewater
Mayor plays down economic crisis
Golden Oldies wanted
Finance seminars for retirees
Bush care work at Pearl Beach
Annual spring fair
Scouts celebrate with promotion day
Sustainable living day
Community ideas wanted
Town crier wins two awards
Village construction to start next year
Volunteering session
Council works
Restaurant wins award
Peninsula in the News
Unremarkable rainfall
Correction
Collapse  FORUM FORUM
Replacement toilet wanted
Praise for ferry captain
Peninsula will get fair share
Distortion of the facts
Proud to be Australian
States needed as a check
Early renewal
Chuckling
Collapse  EDUCATION EDUCATION
New attendance trial
Outstanding participation
Japanese students visit college
Rugby league win to boys
Ambulance service to run literacy course
Girls are rugby champions
Spelling final held at Ettalong
Student art exhibition
Collapse  SPORT SPORT
Recognised
Five soccer champions
Centre to host Masters event
Bowls awards
Netball club wins $2500
Annual pairs
Sand Slog success
Course for swimming teachers
Collapse  ARTS ARTS
Blues Festival in seventh year
Classes start
Author speaks at literary event
Patonga memories are inspiration
Wayne Cornell sings at festival
Mother and son exhibit
Springsong attracts 80
PCYC performs
Musical delight
Collapse  HEALTH HEALTH
Exercise program helps recovery
Baby massage workshop
Stroke awareness events held
Violence workshop for health workers
Yoga aid for children
New therapy starts at Woy Woy
Collapse  HISTORY HISTORY
The Trafalgar Ave airstrip

The Trafalgar Ave airstrip

During World War II, many airfields were constructed to house military aircraft at various locations around the country.

The majority of these were in the northern parts of Australia in ready response to an attack by the Japanese who were pushing further and further south.

In 1942, a proposal was made to construct an airstrip on the Woy Woy Peninsula.

The airfield was to house eight medium bombers and the airfield was to be known as Project 240.

Early plans had the airstrip running diagonally across the Peninsula from what is now Rogers Park to the base of Blackwall Mountain.

But to save costs, the strip was relocated to Trafalgar Ave.

This also helped in the overall camouflage scheme as the strip could now be disguised as a road.

The taxiways to the pens housing the bombers were actually local streets widened and stripped of power poles.

Some streets were first constructed by the armed forces for this purpose.

Nearby cottages and holiday houses were used for a camp and accommodation.

The pens housing the bombers were called "hideouts" and were located in the McMasters Ave area between Trafalgar Ave and the waterfront (Hideouts 1,2 and 3), another two near Watkin Ave and the council depot (Hideouts 4 and 5) and the remaining three around the Albion St and Palm St area (Hideouts 6,7 and 8).

Local materials were used for the construction of the runway.

The sandstone rubble base came from a quarry at the base of Mt Ettalong and the famous red gravel came from a quarry at Peats Ridge.

The airfield was built for the RAAF Fleet Air Arm and was to be a satellite of the Schofields airfield at Quakers Hill in Sydney.

Stationed at Schofields for most of the war were various units from the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm which comprised mainly of carrier-borne aircraft.

The British medium bombers were the American Grumman Avenger Torpedo Bomber, specifically designed for anti-submarine warfare and perfect for protecting the coastal strip.

Also monitoring the coast was the Bombi Point Radar Installation hidden in the bush on the Bombi Moor just above McMasters Beach.

There is scant information on whether aircrews and the bombers were actually stationed at the strip at any stage.

The whole area was fenced off from the locals so no photographs exist of facilities or aircraft.

An engine similar to that of the Grumman Avenger was dug up in Waterloo Ave in the early 1990s, adding more speculation to whether the aircraft were there hidden in the back blocks.

An almost identical airstrip was also built at Tuggerah along Lake Rd.

Locals recall the legendary Catalina Flying Boats from the Rathmines Flying Boat Base doing practice landings on the strip during the war.

The RAAF used the Woy Woy site until 1946 and then the runway was used by the Woy Woy Riding Club for horse races.

After hours, local hoons used to race their cars along it. (Nothing has changed!)

Some clever local real estate agents also used the strip and flew up prospective land buyers from Sydney.

The local kids always ran up to watch the planes land when they heard its engine coming.

What may certainly have sealed the fate of the strip was the crash landing of an RAAF Tiger Moth biplane in 1950.

It ended up on the roof of a house in Nelson St, Umina.

Records show that all resumed land parcels along the strip were returned to the former owners or sold off in 1955.

The strip was built over and nothing remains today but occasional glimpses of the red gravel along Trafalgar Ave.

The small park opposite Umina Fire Station is the only intact part of the runway surface existing today.

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