Wartime Norfolk Island/Airport


airportPrior to 1942, getting to Norfolk Island was possible only by ship.  World War II was to open Norfolk Island up to the rest of the world as never before. 

The requirement to lay down an airstrip was a strategic move with origins from MacArthur, himself.  181 ha of precious island land were taken.  It was imperative to have Norfolk Island accessible by air primarily because of the push and threat of Japan.  The cable station at Anson Bay and the perfect location of the island to assist both ship and plane would see Norfolk Island as a pivotal base should the enemy advance.

Work began in earnest in August of 42 – it is local family lore, for the most, that speaks of the sacrifice of the avenue of pines, tree of knowledge, and island homes.  Sacrifice is an ungainly creature and though Norfolk was a half hemisphere away from the frontline of Europe the families touched by war were plenty enough and feeling runs deep – even to this day.

Local men and a further 200 men from Australian Main Roads, together with shipped plant equipment worked tirelessly to put the strip in.  In true Norfolk style they were made to feel welcome and part of the community.  

airport 2Visiting the Norfolk Island Airport today you can witness for yourself some fantastic oversized black and white prints adorning the walls.  These prints celebrate the construction and first touchdown of the Hudson to land on the newly completed airstrip.  Fascinating and awe inspiring to think that at record speed, such endeavours can be met.

The face of Norfolk Airport now heralds our much welcomed visitors and the occasional defence or customs plane en route to or from Australia or New Zealand.  It is heartening to think that out of necessity and darker days we can put to use in a more positive light the efforts of those men and that though the Pines were lost it is still for a very good reason – Tourism - the ongoing lifeblood of Norfolk Island.


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