Perth Airport 1962 Control Tower & Fire Station: History

© 2013 David Eyre

The first control tower at Perth Airport was a tower built using steel girders during 1946, when the airport was still called Guildford Aerodrome. This tower was located approximately where the Qantas Domestic Terminal is now located.
This is a view of the south-east side.
This first tower was dismantled in 1962 when the second tower was built.

NOTE: The square black box hanging from the tower gantry was an indicator to pilots that the Tower was manned – and therefore they would need to talk to the Tower for a clearance.
Photo via David Harvey

 

In 1962, a major redevelopment of Perth Airport was underway in preparation for the 1962 Commonwealth Games, which were held in Perth.

In January 1962, the main north-south runway was extended to take larger Boeing 707s.

In March 1962, the control tower and fire station opened, replacing the old WW2 tower.

On 13 October 1962, the then new terminal building was officially opened – this is now the site of Domestic Terminal 3.

ABOVE: A 1963 photo of the Perth International Airport terminal and control tower, one year after they were built.
A South African Airways Douglas DC-7B aircraft is parked on the tarmac.

Photo via David Harvey

 

In 1962 a major redevelopment of Perth Airport was underway in preparation for the 1962 Commonwealth Games, which were held in Perth.

In January 1962, the main north-south runway was extended to take larger Boeing 707s.

In March 1962, the control tower and fire station opened, replacing the old WW2 tower.

On 13 October 1962, the then new terminal building was officially opened – this is now the site of Domestic Terminal 3.

 

LEFT: VH-RMR Boeing 727-77 of Ansett-ANA disembarks passengers at the combined international/domestic terminal, with the then recently-constructed air traffic control tower and fire station in the background. (circa 1965)
(Photo: Richard Woldendorp collection, State Library of Western Australia, 215602PD)

LEFT: Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers learning Australian methods of air traffic control inside Perth Airport control tower in 1964. They are in Australia under the Special Commonwealth Assistance to Africa Plan. From left; Mr Joeseph Okinedo, Mr Samuel Imasuen and Mr Hugh Bolton, the air traffic controller at Perth airport .
(Photo: R Woldendorp, via National Archives of Australia – Image no: A1501, A5456/1)

 

BELOW: The 1962 Control Tower console, taken when it was new.
Note the arch-shaped Quonset buildings in the upper right of the photo, which served as Perth Airport’s terminal until the 1962 terminal was completed. The hangar with the serrated roof was used by ANA (Australian National Airways) as a terminal for some time, before reverting to being a hangar. It was eventually demolished in the 1990s.
Photo via David Harvey
 

BELOW: The eastern side of the 1962 control tower and fire station, seen shortly after being built. Small trees were later planted around the building.
Photo via David Harvey

 

BELOW: A 1974 view of the eastern side of the control tower and fire station.
Photo via David Harvey

 

BELOW: A 1974 photo of the north side of the control tower and fire station.
Photo via David Harvey

 

In August 1984, construction started on a new 80 metre control tower, located near the site of the then-new International Terminal, on the east side of the runways. Construction was completed on the new tower in June 1986, but the old 1962 tower continued operation until 22 April 1987 when the new tower finally started Air Traffic Control operations.

In March 1988, the Bureau of Meteorology moved its surface observations from Ivy Street in Belmont to the 1962 control tower, which had been vacated the year before. However, in October 1997, the Bureau moved from the tower to a new dedicated facility on the Northern Perimeter Road in the north-eastern corner of the airport.

From around 2005, Perth Airport experienced significant growth in airline operations caused by the resources industry boom.

Larger types such as the A330 and Boeing 747 were regularly used on domestic flights, and the old 1962 tower and fire station was beginning to constrain operational expansion, so the airport authorities commenced plans to remove it.

Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting had stayed at the fire station next to the 1962 tower. In 2010, a new Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting Station was built on the northern perimeter road, and this was officially opened on 30 August 2010, leaving the old 1962 tower and fire station vacant.

In late 2010, in response to queries from Aviation Association of WA, Perth Airport advised that preparations were underway to ready the 1962 tower and fire station for demolition. We followed up on this again in February 2011, and were advised that the facility was to be demolished within a month.

The demolition of the fire station and other buildings surrounding the tower commenced on Thursday 24th March 2011, and only the tower remained by 28 March.

On 29 March 2011, the tower was demolished, leaving a pile of rubble.

 

Airside walkaround photos of Tower and Fire Station just prior to demolition
– 17 Feb 2011: CLICK HERE

Photos from inside tower just prior to demolition (4 Mar 2011) & info about unsuccessful attempt to re-use the glass cab from the tower: CLICK HERE

Demolition photos of Tower and Fire Station: 24 – 29 March 2011: CLICK HERE

More articles and photos about the 1962 control tower and fire station, on the AirwaysMuseum.com website:

A photo inside the tower circa 1965

2 thoughts on “Perth Airport 1962 Control Tower & Fire Station: History

  • March 19, 2014 at 10:23 pm
    Permalink

    How are you. I’m very interested in the histroy of the fire station after read this artical, and I have aquestion. why would you build a fire station in airport? Think you.

    Reply
    • March 21, 2014 at 12:54 pm
      Permalink

      The Fire Station was for Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting vehicles, in case of an aircraft accident.

      Reply

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