Did you know that the Port Hedland Racecourse doubled as the town’s airport for nearly 20 years? A hangar and terminal were built beside the racetrack, which was used as the town’s primary airstrip until 1940.
The original terminal shack still stands today (located between the tennis courts and the track). In later years the shack was re-purposed as the clubhouse for the Hawks local sports club.
Extract from the TOPH Municipal Inventory of Historical Places:
“Following Port Hedland’s inclusion in the Geraldton to Derby airmail service in 1921, an appropriate site for an airfield was sought. A rough area 11km out of town was initially selected, but it was decided that the racecourse, located only 3 kilometres out of town and already flat, was better suited. Following a test landing, the racecourse became the site of the weekly landings, and a hangar built at the course. The racecourse was used as the landing ground from 1921 until the current aerodrome was constructed in 1940. ”
Sources: Local residents; TOPH Municipal Inventory of Heritage Places by Laura Gray (2007)