RAAF Edinburgh was built in 1953 at Salisbury, on the northern edge of Adelaide, to replace RAAF Mallala.  Edinburgh was the home of the top secret joint British-Australian Weapons Research Establishment, carrying out extensive aircraft tests at Edinburgh and the Woomera rocket range. RAAF courier services to Woomera operated from Edinburgh until 1967.

During the 1960s, high security activities meant access and photography at Edinburgh was restricted. However by the end of the decade, the winding down of the WRE and basing of RAAF P-3 Orion squadrons at Edinburgh changed it to a more standard RAAF station.

Gloster Meteor U16 target drone A77-873 on the flight line at Edinburgh in February 1965, white and red.

Meteor A77-885 on the airport fire service drill ground, February 1965.

RAAF Meteor T.7 two seater A77-701 at Edinburgh in February 1965, all white.

A replaced rear fuselage of A77-701 was found in a pile of target Meteor wrecks in a scrap metal yard in the Adelaide suburb of
Croydon in February 1966. It was an earlier scheme of metallic with dayglo orange band.

Meteor drone A77-682 in November 1963, red and white.

Meteor A77-851 was found dumped between buildings on the base in February 1965. All white.

Cockpit section of Meteor VT168 was among dumped aierframes from Edinburgh in the Croydon scrapyard in May 1963.

RAF Canberra U.10 WK165 taxying out in February 1965. White with black calibration stripes.

All black RAF Canberra WD929 was found at a different scrapyard at Wingfield, Adelaide in July 1967.

Woomera based RAAF Otter A100-390 painted all white with black underbelly, at Edinburgh in February 1965.

RAAF No.24 (City of Adelaide) Squadron kept this ground instructional DH Vampire F.30 with spurious serial "A/1/10".
In February 1965 it was parked in a vehicle store in one of the fortified blast-proof structures at Edinburgh.

Also usually Woomera based, all white RAAF Sud Alouette A5-167 was at Edinburgh in February 1965.

Woomera-based RAAF Bristol Sycamore Mk.3 A91-1 was replaced by the Alouettes. It was ferried from Woomera to Edinburgh
on 6 September 1965 for civil disposal. All silver silver with black serial number amd red lettering and warning placards. Seen here
the following day at Adelaide Airport on delivery to Melbourne, to purchaser J. Rose Motors who registered it VH-GVR.

Four RAAF Bristol Freighter Mk.21Es maintained the RAAF Mallala to Woomera courier service from 1950.  After one was
lost due to wing failure in flight, the other three continued RAAF Edinburgh to Woomera runs until 1967.  My B&W negatives
do not do them justice, so here's a colour shot of A81-3, courtesy of Neil Follett.  Taken at Parafield Airport, only a few miles
from Edinburgh in April 1965, parked outside the DAP military maintenance hangars

The two airworthy Bristol Freighter survivors A81-1 & A81-3 were put up for sale by tender in early 1968. They were purchased by
a partnership of Jim Hazelton, aircraft dealer at Orange NSW and Keith Dayal Singh of Tamworth NSW.  The Bristols were ferried
from Edinburgh to Orange, where I caught them in September 1968. RAAF markings painted over except for the last digit of the serial.
Here's A81-3, which became VH-SJQ with the start-up company Jetair Air Australia. A81-1 joined Jetair as VH-SJG.

A81-4 was damaged by a windstorm on the ground at Woomera in 1967. It was taken by road to Edinburgh, and included in the
sale of the two airworthy Bristols. Here is the fuselage, filled with spare parts, on the Edinburgh airfield boundary in August 1968.

RAAF Dakota A65-86 assigned to WRE at Edinburgh was painted all white, with blue cheat line and dayglo orange nose.
Seen visiting Adelaide Airport in September 1963. Two years later it reverted to standard RAAF markings.

The same WRE white, blue & dayglo paint scheme was applied to Dakota KJ881, seen in one of the large hangars at Edinburgh.
The aircraft was based at Woomera, and prior to rocket and missile firings, would fly down the range in a slow climb to 16,000 feet.
The modified cockpit allowed a photographer in the copilot seat to take photographs with a specialised camera of the atmosphere at
each thousand feet on climb, repeated during descent back to Woomera. The WRE scientists used the images to determine the dust
content of the atmosphere to allow for refraction when calibrating the trials. 
After disposal from Edinburgh in 1969, KJ881 was acquired by a dealer then civilianised by Jet Air Australia as VH-EQB.

VH-UPQ was former RAAF Dakota A65-105, transferred to the Department of Supply in July 1969 after RAAF support of
Woomera was withdrawn. The Department let a contract for the operation on a civil basis of former RAAF Woomera range aircraft,
the successful bidder being Short Brothers and Harland. The RAAF Otters, Alouettes and this Dakota received civil registrations.

Edinburgh November 1963. The public were invited to view USAF Boeing B-47Es touring Australia at a time when the
Department of Defence was considering an offer for the loan of USAF B-47s to RAAF to fill the gap until the ordered F-111s
were delivered.  The RAAF won its strong preference for USAF F-4 Phantoms on loan, which were a great success.
This B-47E was 53-1822.

Supporting the B-47 tour was this Douglas C-124 Globemaster, which proved a bigger hit with the public than the B-47s.
Supporting the visiting civilians was the Mr Whippy icecream van. This rare public access to Edinburgh was strictly controlled,
using a remote parking ramp and all resident aircraft tucked away out of sight.

Back to the Photographs Menu