Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome (State Heritage Listed)

Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome (State Heritage Listed)

The Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome is located within the northern NSW coastal town of Evans Head. The Aerodrome has historical and social significance. It was built in the 1930s by Woodburn Shire Council and resumed by the Commonwealth for defence purposes in 1937. The airfield was modernised and used to train 11,000 ground and air crew for the Royal Air Force. In 1943 the Bombing and Gunnery School was disbanded and the No. 1 Air Observers School was transferred from Cootamundra. The Empire Air Training Scheme program came to an end in June 1944.

The Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome was added to the NSW State Heritage Register on 22 November 2002.

Statement of Significance

The Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome has historical, social and cultural significance. The aerodrome is purported to be the largest RAAF training base (over 5,000 personnel) in the Southern Hemisphere during World War II (No 1 Bombing and Gunnery School) under the Empire Air Training Scheme, and made a major contribution, through provision of trained personnel, to the Commonwealth's war effort (see Haughton-James & Manley, 1995).

The site contains only one original Bellman Hangar of 17 that represented technical innovation for that period. The hangars were designed and built for Australian conditions by Sir Valston Hancock, Director of Works, who later became the first commanding officer for the base.

The site has social significance to the many ex-servicemen and women who were associated with the aerodrome, RAAF personnel, ANZAC Day participants, and fellow personnel, families and friends of people who served there and died during WWII. It is also significant to the people of the North Coast region, the residents of Evans Head and visitors who attend activities or are tourists. Moreover it is significant because it is a substantial landmark, from the ground and from the air. It is a cultural site and continues to have an effect on the civilian, ex-service and defence population of the North Coast area of NSW and all visitors to the region.

(NSW Heritage Office, 2002)

Statement of Heritage Impact - Dismantling of Evans Head Works Depot

Council has conducted activities determining the impacts upon the heritage of the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome, with regards to vacant industrial land under a preliminary investigation.

Details of heritage issues for dismantling of the Richmond Valley Council Evans Head Works Depot are available in the document 'Statement of Heritage Impact' in the list at the end of this page.

Heritage Interpretation Plan

Richmond Valley Council recognises the Heritage importance of the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome and through the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Heritage Interpretation Plan seeks to give all visitors to the site an opportunity to enhance their knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of the site.

The significance of some Heritage items is easy to understand, however, the significance of others is not obvious and it is these later sites in particular that require Heritage Interpretation. The NSW Heritage Branch confirms this approach:

"Interpretation enhances understanding and enjoyment of Heritage items by appealing to different audiences, different levels of experience and knowledge and different learning styles".

The Heritage Interpretation Plan is available for download in the list at the end of this page.

For More Information

The Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Plan of Management was prepared under consultancy by GHD and adopted by the NSW Heritage Council in June 2006. in January 2009 revisions were made, based upon resolutions by the NSW Heritage Council. The plan was submitted to the NSW Heritage Council in January 2009 and as yet has not received official endorsement from the NSW Heritage Council.