The First International Airport in Australia was........?

I called into this place just about two years ago (April 2013)  on my drive around Australia.  It had not been on my agenda, but as I drove along the Stuart Highway on my way south to Tennant Creek, that I saw the turn off to Daly Waters.  I did a u-turn, and went back and took the turn off to Daly Waters - a 3 km trip from the Highway.

But it was only recently when I found the brochure that I had collected on my journey that I read that it was at Daly Waters that the very first International Aiport in Australia came into use.

I knew about John McDouall Stuart - we learned about many of the early Australian explorers at school, though I confess I have forgotten most of the details, but when I see the names of the early explorers much of it comes back to me and I can now (thanks to Professor Google) find out more information.

It is about 620 kms south of Darwin and  John McDouall Stuart during his expedition from the south to the north of Australia in 1861-2 found the site and it was named after the then Governor of South Australia, Sir Dominic Daly.  It was an important place as fresh water was found in the area.

  I do wish I had planned to stay there - rather than drive in and out - taking photos.  There's plenty of fun around Daly Waters as you can see from the photos.

The Pub was originally a "Drover's Store" opened by Bill Pearce and he and his family were responsible for not only feeding passengers but refueling aircraft at the Daly Waters Airfield for many years.  It was a major Air Force base during World War 2, and was the first international airport when it "opened its hangar doors" for the Australia to England air race, though I understand that many planes stopped at Parap Airport in Darwin, so I am not sure about the detail of this.  

As you can see there is a lot of Aussie humour on display at Daly Waters.  below is a building beside the service station, with a crumpled helicopter on the roof with a sign below  offering scenic flights.  Mmmm.

The scenery all around is spectacular.

Maybe next time I will be able to stay a bit longer.


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