RAAF Adelaide River Airstrip (73 Mile)

RAAF Adelaide River Airstrip (73 Mile)
Mt Bundy Station by Doug Tilley and Clinton Bock 

Acknowledgement to Doug Tilley

Private Property / Permission Required

Dedicated to those airmen who did not return.






IMG_5201Another view taken looking towards the middle of the airstrip

 Some information about the Airstrips from the US Navy Fleet Radio Unit.
In an undated report believed to deal with the selection of a site for the HFDF installation, The intercept station was located on a series of lightly wooded hills and rises about three miles from Adelaide River center. Adjacent to the station was a large clay pan some miles in area, which had been used as an emergency landing strip during 1942 but was abandoned since it could only be used during the dry season. During the wet season, it would flood to a depth of a few inches with the unflooded area turning into wet clay while in the dry season, the surface turned to a powder dry surface soil of low conductivity. However, even in the dry season, water could always be found a few feet beneath the surface. It was decided that this particular clay pan would serve well as an HFDF site; particularly since this and other clay pans in the area were about the only flat areas of sufficient size.



The 8th squadron, 49th Fighter Pursuit Group United Stated Army Air Corps used the airstrip for a short time and had a small camp on the edge of the flood plain to the East of Haynes Road on Mt Bundy Station, The type of aircraft used was the P-40E Warhawk.

P40-dCurtiss P-40E Warhawk

P40-eCurtiss P-40E Warhawk

Doug has information about the Camera used that took most if not all of the AWM Photo’s starting with S/n NWA were taken by the RAAF official photographer John Harrison. He used an Anniversary Speed Graphic 1940-1946, to which he could attach different lenses. The telephoto lens made objects appear closer than they appear in many photo’s. Wartime model: no chrome. Bed and Body track rails linked, allowing focusing of wide angle lens within body. Solid wire frame viewfinder. Trim on face of body is found only on top and sides.grafle14


43rd Service (Materiel) Squadron USAAF at Adelaide River





IMG_512743rd Service Squadron workshop area distributed amongst the low hills near the airstrip. The men of the 43rd worked in tents to repair the P-40E aircraft of the 8th Squadron, 49th Fighter Group.

IMG_5129A tent peg, one of many distributed around the workshop area, the only real tangible remains of the structures that once stood in the area.

P40-05Curtiss P-40E Warhawk


P40-07Curtiss P-40E Warhawk

P40-08Curtiss P-40E Warhawk. Note tool box below the wing.

IMG_5263USAAC Tool box found in the 43rd Service Squadron camp area.

P40-Sarah-locationTracks to this site above

P40-SarahCurtiss P-40E Warhawk

P40-03bCurtiss P-40E Warhawk



P-40aCurtiss P-40E Warhawk

P-40bCurtiss P-40E Warhawk


P-40cCurtiss P-40E Warhawk

P-40dCurtiss P-40E Warhawk

photoA damaged ‘outboard door’ from a P-40E found in the old dispersal areas and now on display at a local museum at Mt Bundy. See location of door in the photograph below.


P-40eCurtiss P-40E Warhawks


P-40fCurtiss P-40E Warhawk


Spitfire_MkV_slipper_tank_webA photograph of a Spitfire MkVcTrop, possibly taken at Adelaide River Airstrip. Spitfires were known to have used this airstrip for repair and emergency landings given the artifacts observed at the site. (Could also possible be Pell Field) Special thanks to ‘pacificvictoryroll.com’ for the use of the photograph.