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Hoxton Park Airport, Cowpasture Rd, Cecil Park, NSW, Australia

Photographs View Photo Database Record
List Register of the National Estate (Non-statutory archive)
Class Historic
Legal Status Registered (28/10/2003)
Place ID 102082
Place File No 1/15/023/0018
Statement of Significance
Hoxton Park Airport (1942-43) is historically significant for its direct association with defence plans during the Second World War. The airport was constructed as part of a group of airfields to be used as aircraft dispersal fields in the event of Japanese air attack on the Sydney area. (Criterion A.4)

The airport, retaining its runway with some of its wartime surface visible, wartime drainage works, and evidence of wartime taxiways and hideouts to the north-west, east and possibly the south of the airstrip, reflects important features of these dispersal airfields, and is particularly important for being a rare surviving airfield of this type. (Criteria B.2 and D.2)

Hoxton Park contains remnants of Cumberland Plain Woodland, a vegetation community listed as endangered at Commonwealth and state level. Less than six per cent of this woodland type remains in western Sydney and any remnant is regarded as significant. Alluvial Woodland is listed as an endangered ecological community at state level and is present along the edge of Hinchinbrook Creek, forming part of a corridor of natural vegetation running through a heavily modified environment. (Criterion B.1)
Official Values Not Available
Hoxton Park Airport is an active general aviation airport in Sydney's west. It covers 85 hectares and is 13kms west of Bankstown airport and 8kms from Liverpool. The physical structures include a single runway, taxiways, hangars and other aviation related buildings.The one sealed runway is 1,098 metres in length in the 16/34 direction.
At the northern end of the runway (beyond the length currently used by aircraft) there are present two earlier forms of surface, one bitumen and the other gravel, hence reflecting the form of material and surface dating from the Second World War. Wartime drainage works are found under the runway. There is a wartime taxiway leading off to the north-west (and thus running beyond the current airport boundary) where evidence of hideouts survives in eucalyptus forest (hideouts were used for hiding aircraft in case of attacks), and there are two surviving bridges which take the taxiway across gullies or drainage lines. There is evidence of taxiways and hideouts to the east of the runway, and possibly evidence of a hideout to the south. The hideouts were gravelled areas; they appear not to have been actual revetments with earthworks which seem to have been required only when planes were kept at closer distances to each other.
There are hangars and offices and other structures which do not date from the war and which have been built since the airport was revived for commercial and private use.
Hoxton Park Airport has approximately 35 hectares of remnant vegetation, mainly comprised of Alluvial Woodland, a component of Sydney Coastal River-Flat Forest and Shale Plains Woodland, a component of Cumberland Plain Woodland. Most of this vegetation lies to the east of the airfield along Hinchinbrook Creek. Cumberland Plain Woodland is a vegetation community listed as endangered at Commonwealth and state levels. Less than six per cent of Cumberland Plain Woodland remains in western Sydney and any remnant is regarded as significant. Alluvial Woodland is listed as an endangered ecological community at state level and is present along the edge of Hinchinbrook Creek. The soils consist of Quaternary alluvium derived from Wianamatta Shales and Hawkesbury Sandstone on flat to gently sloping alluvial plains.
Sixty-eight fauna species have been recorded from the place including 52 birds, four mammals, four frogs and eight reptiles. Species recorded include the whistling tree frog (LITORIA VERREAUXII), black-bellied marsh snake (HEMIAPSIS SIGNATA), sugar glider (PETAURUS BREVICEPS) and yellow-faced honeyeater (LICHENSTOMUS CHRYSOPS). The common scaly-foot (PYGOPUS LEPIDOPODUS) is a legless lizard found at Hoxton Park regarded as the most primitive member of its group.
The airport was developed by the Royal Australian Air Force in 1942-43 as one of a series of aircraft dispersal airfields on the perimeter of Sydney. The airfield was built in case of Japanese air attack, and reflects Australian fears of Japanese offensive operations against Sydney at that stage of the Pacific War. Also, RAAF pilots trained at Hoxton Park under the Empire Air Training Scheme. Hoxton Park was built as a satellite dispersal field for Bankstown airfield (Bankstown operates today) and was one of a collection of dispersal airfields built around Sydney at the time, the others including Menangle, Bargo, Cordeaux, The Oaks, Wallgrove, Fleurs, St Marys, Castlereagh, Pitt Town, and Ettalong/Woy Woy. Dispersal fields were also built elsewhere in NSW, and in other states. All of these other Sydney airfields have been affected by other use and development, and none could be called an operational airport today. Some have been entirely built over for housing, and others have been used for other purposes. Some wartime features survive in a few cases.
After World War Two Hoxton Park Airport was leased to the Hardy Rubber Company for use as a tyre test track. Plans were made to convert it into a speedway but lobbying by aviation bodies saw it revert back to the airport it is today. The Federal Airports Corporation (FAC) managed and operated the site from 1988 to 1998, when on 2 July 1998 Hoxton Park Airport Limited assumed the management and operation from the FAC.
Today, the airport is used for light aircraft flying training and private flying. It is operational 24 hours per day and is one of the busiest uncontrolled airfields in Australia. As the airport is not operational for passenger traffic it does not have terminal facilities.

Condition and Integrity
The airport is a relatively intact example of a wartime dispersal airfield facility. The northern end of the runway is disused and has grass growing on it in places.

The airport is under threat of closure due to Badgery's Creek Airport developments and adjacent land is at risk of subdivision for housing. The hideout taxiway beyond the perimeter fence is threatened by the proposed Western Sydney Orbital road and wildlife habitats are also similarly threatened. The Eucalyptus forest may be protected by the Government instrumentality Landcom. (December 2000)
About 88ha, at Cecil Park, being an area bounded by a line commencing at the intersection of McIver Avenue and Cowpasture Road, then northerly via the western side of Cowpasture Road to Hinchinbrook Creek, then northerly via the central thread of Hinchinbrook Creek to its intersection with the northern boundary of Lot 1 DP546264, then westerly and southerly via the boundary of Lot 1 DP546264 to its intersection with McIver Avenue, then south easterly via the northern side of McIver Avenue to the point of commencement.
Also included is the taxiway (and bridges) leading to hideouts, and those hideouts, located on adjacent land to the north west of the airport. The hideout remains are within remnant eucalypt forest centred on AMG point 9030-II-S-004462.
Brew, Andrea, Thematic Study: World War II Aerodromes and Associated Structures in New South Wales. Prepared for Deakin University and the NSW Heritage Office, November 2001.

Hoxton Park Airport Limited - Preliminary Draft Environmental HPAL, Feb 1999.

Sydney Airports Corporation Limited Annual Report, 1999.

Greening Australia, information from Mr Richard Davis.

National Archives of Australia; CRSA9716 Box 30 File 384 'Hoxton Park-RAAF Directorate of Works and Buildings-Engineer Intelligence Section-correspondence and other related information on aerodrome 8 December 1943-20 March 1953'. Also, files Series A705 item 171/26/54 parts 1 and 2, and item 171/106/717.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Native Vegetation of the Cumberland Plain. NSW Government, Sydney 2000.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, NSW Wildlife Atlas Data. NSW Government, Sydney 1998.

Sydney Basin Visual Pilot Guide and Visual Terminal Chart Civil Aviation Safety Authority, June 1999.

Road Transport Authority - Preliminary Brochure on Western Sydney Orbital Road.

Royal Australian Air Force Executive Officer, Historical Records (Air Force), information, 2000.

Report Produced  Thu Jul 31 15:05:53 2014