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Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport turns 100

Michael McLaren
Article image for Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport turns 100

Jim Haynes, Writer, Australian Historian & George & Paul regular, joins Michael to talk about the history of Sydney Airport which is celebrating its 100th birthday.

Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport is the primary airport serving Sydney, situated next to Botany Bay, and is one of the world’s longest continuously operated commercial airports and the busiest airport in Australia.

The land used for the airport had been a bullock paddock. Nigel Love, who had been a pilot in the First World War, was interested in establishing the nation’s first aircraft manufacturing company which would require him to establish a factory and aerodrome close to the city.

A real estate office in Sydney told him of some land owned by the Kensington Race Club which had been used by a local abattoir which was closing down, to graze sheep and cattle.

This land appealed to Love as the surface was perfectly flat and was covered with a pasture of buffalo grass. The grass had been grazed so evenly by the sheep and cattle that it required little to make it serviceable for aircraft. In addition, the approaches on all four sides had no obstructions, it was bounded by a racecourse, gardens, a river and Botany Bay.

In 2018, Sydney airport was rated in the top 5 worldwide for airports handling 40–50 million passengers annually and was overall voted the 20th best airport in the world at the Skytrax World Airport Awards.

The airport’s Air Traffic Control Tower is listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List.

Download this podcast here.

Michael McLaren
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