Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Casey Airfield at Berwick

The Casey Airfield was established at Berwick in 1938 by Colonel Rupert Ryan, who owned the Edrington property with his sister, Lady Casey. Ryan's brother-in law, Lord Casey owned a Perceval Gull monoplane and flew to and from Canberra, where he was a member of the House of Representatives. Lady Casey was also a pilot. From 1948, until the early 1960s the airfield was also used by the Victorian Motorless Flight Group for gliding. In 1968, Colonel Keith Hatfield and Major Ron Kerrison took over the airfield and operated a flying school under the name Group Air P/L. Sadly, less than two years later, Major Kerrison and his passenger, Mrs Roma McLeod, were killed in  an aircrash at the field. Colonel Hadfield was born in 1919 and served in the British Army in World War Two, then joined the Australian Army after the War  and flew with the American Air Force in Korea. When the airfield was established in 1938, Berwick was a small country town, however by the 1990s, it had developed into a suburb of Melbourne and it appears that a small airfield had no place in Berwick anymore. The beginning of the end came in 1992 when the Berwick Campus of Chisholm TAFE was constructed and it finally closed in 1994 when it was announced that the Berwick Campus of Monash Universtity was to be built on the site.

 The Airfield, photograph undated, possibly 1940s.

This photograph of the Airfield is from the book, Berwick Nostalgia, published by the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society.

Aerial photograph of the Casey Airfield, taken December 27, 1963. The road bi-secting the photograph is Berwick-Clyde Road. The Railway line shows up as a curve from the top left to the bottom right of the photograph. You can see the criss-crossing of the runways. The hangars appear in the centre of the photograph, they are the white dots, the dark dots are the rows of cypress trees, still seen in the 1992 photograph further below.

 An air show at Casey Airfield. The Photograph is most likely from the 1980s.

 The photographs, above and below, were taken in October 1992.

This was also taken in October 1992 and shows the construction of the Berwick Campus of Chisholm TAFE in the background.

The official announcement that the State Government had obtained the Casey Airfield site for the Berwick Campus of the Monash University. Photograph dated January 6, 1994. Left to right are Federal Member for Latrobe, Bob Charles; Tertiary Education Minister, Haddon Storey; Monash University Deputy Vice Chancellor, Ian Chubb; City of Berwick Mayor, Cr Norma McCausland and the State Member for Berwick, Robert Dean.

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