Hughes Airfield


Hughes Airfield (32 Mile) is an airfield in the Northern Territory of Australia located in the locality of Hughes.[1] It was constructed during World War II for military use. The airfield now functions as a base for aerial firefighting aircraft to protect the outer rural suburbs of Darwin.

Hughes Airfield
LocationHughes, Northern Territory
Coordinates12°41′20.13″S 131°05′21.11″E / 12.6889250°S 131.0891972°E / -12.6889250; 131.0891972Coordinates: 12°41′20.13″S 131°05′21.11″E / 12.6889250°S 131.0891972°E / -12.6889250; 131.0891972
Hughes Airfield is located in Northern Territory
Hughes Airfield
Hughes Airfield
Location of airport in Northern Territory
Direction Length Surface
ft m
3,023 920 Bitume

The airfield was built by the U.S. Army engineering unit, the 808th Engineer Aviation Battalion, from 10 March 1942 until 13 April 1942. The runway was 5,000 feet (1,500 m) long and 100 feet (30 m) wide.[2]

World War II useEdit

Units based at Hughes AirfieldEdit

Japanese Bombing Raids against Hughes AirfieldEdit

  • 23 August 1942 (12:12 pm)
  • 26 November 1942 (03.20 a.m.)
  • 27 November 1942 (03:56 - 04:46 am)

Present DayEdit

On 5 September 2011, the Hughes Airfield was added to the Northern Territory Heritage Register.[3]

On 25 January 2012, the Northern Territory Government awarded a contract to repair and resurface the airstrip to Downer EDI Works.[4] This will better enable access to the strip for the Air Tractor AT-802 water-bombing aircraft, operated from the strip by Bushfires NT since 2009.[5] In addition to the resurfacing works, a water tank has also been installed on site, allowing mobile pumps to be used to load firefighting aircraft.[6]

It has been proposed that construction of the new satellite city of Weddell to the northwest should include a general aviation airport separate from Darwin International Airport. While no formal commitment to building a new general aviation facility in the Greater Darwin area has yet been made by the Northern Territory Government, the runway alignment of 11/29 at Hughes is the preferred option for such a concept.[7]


  1. ^ "WWII Hughes Airfield". Heritage Register. Northern Territory Government. 5 September 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  2. ^ Dunn, Peter. "HUGHES AIRFIELD, NT (32 MILE) DURING WWII". Peter Dunn. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  3. ^ Hampton, Karl Rio (5 September 2011). "Heritage Conservation Act DECLARATION OF HERITAGE PLACE WWII HUGHES AIRFIELD" (PDF). Northern Territory of Australia Government Gazette. Northern Territory Government. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  4. ^ "502 Bad Gateway". Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  5. ^ "Wartime airfield in another battle role". Northern Territory News. 13 June 2009.
  6. ^ "Hughes Airstrip". Northern Territory Bushfire Volunteers. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit

  • OzatWar website
  • Lt. Col Bernard L. Robinson Reports on the NT June 1942