EF Celebrates Centenary with Huge Community-Wide Open Day

On 11 August 2021, amid the pandemic, Essendon Fields Airport marked its centenary. A snap lockdown announced a few days out from the big day threw plans into chaos, but on Sunday 27 March 2022, Melbourne’s first airport was finally able to celebrate, holding an action-packed, precinct-wide open day for the community.

Around 25,000 people attended the Open Day, which showcased all that Essendon Fields has to offer, including a very special behind the scenes peek at the 305-hectare precinct.

“It was incredible to welcome the community to our open day to celebrate an incredible milestone of 100 years of serving the people of Melbourne and our surrounding community. Thousands turned out for this event, where together with our tenants, operators and local ministers, we celebrated the past and also looked eagerly to the future.’’ said Essendon Fields CEO, Brendan Pihan.

On show was a unique collection of aircraft including the Victoria Police Air Wing fleet, Coulson’s Chinook Helitanker, antique aeroplanes, specially modified aeromedical aircraft and luxury private jets. Many lucky punters also took up the chance to take a helicopter joy flight on the day with PremiAir and Melbourne Heli.

Essendon Fields also showcased a massive collection of classic cars along Wirraway Rd, including a special selection from Lindsay Fox’s Classic Car Museum, further celebrating its title as Melbourne’s most extensive automotive sales location.

On the day, guests also enjoyed a historical walking tour, showcasing original hangars, air traffic control and early aviation pioneer history, as well as displays from the Civil Aviation Historical Society. Super exciting was the Simulation Centre set up in the terminal, where Orbx Simulation and the Royal Australian Air Force hosted a full throttle virtual reality flight experience.

Over in the main event hub on English Street’s perfectly manicured lawns, there was a treasure hunt for the kids, The Royal Flying Doctors simulator, live music, local exhibitors, and the opportunity for family and friends to build their very own Bombardier cardboard jet and take flight with the team at Boxwars.

The event was held under perfect blue skies, and raised $16,000 for the hardworking Rotary Club of North Essendon volunteers, who were supported by William Angliss Event students,  the 5th Keilor Scout Group, RAAF Cadets and Essendon Fields family and friends.