History

Essendon Fields respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of this land – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.  

The site of the present-day Essendon Fields Airport has hosted aviation activities since 1919 when the Aero Club first established its base on farmland known as St Johns. On the 3rd of August, 1921 the site was officially acquired by the Commonwealth Government for the purpose of formally establishing an airfield.  In 1923, St Johns airfield was given the title “Essendon Aerodrome” and became a base for Australia’s rapidly growing civil aviation industry and later, Defence operations during World War II.

After the war, passenger services grew steadily and Essendon operated as Melbourne’s international airport from 1950 until 1970 when international flights were transferred to Melbourne’s new airport at Tullamarine, with domestic flights transferred one year later.

Since the 1970s, Essendon Airport has operated as a general aviation facility and today hosts regular passenger transport to regional locations, charters and tourist flights, emergency services, freight and private aircraft.

In 2001, the long term lease to operate and develop Essendon Airport was acquired from the Federal Government by Essendon Airport Pty Ltd, a joint venture between Fox and Beck families. Since privatisation, the airport’s operators have drawn on their experience in logistics and property development to revitalise the airport and create the vibrant commercial hub of Essendon Fields.