Another stage in Camden airport's history about to take off

THE impending sale of Camden Airport has heralded a new chapter in the more than 70-year history of the site.

Established in 1938 by Edward Macarthur-Onslow, the airport played a pivotal role in World War II and has been a significant contributor to Camden's economy since.

The sale, by BAC Holdco, has opened the opportunity for an investor to snap up a key commercial asset that had humble beginnings.

In 1934, Mr Macarthur-Onslow — an aviation enthusiast — took over what is now the oldest operating airport in BAC's network.

The airport was Australia's first privately-owned aerodrome and Mr Macarthur-Onslow started the country's first private training centre there in 1938.

His interest in flying was possibly sparked by a Hollywood moment right here in Camden.

In 1920, the little known racing film Silks and Saddles was filmed on the racecourse training track and pilot Edgar Percival flew his plane onto the set.

His offer to buy the land back was refused and the government offered him a leasehold over the family home, Macquarie Grove, as well as some of the hangars and land for grazing.

These days, life at the airport mimics the past: Ms Macarthur-Onslow and her two sisters continue to live on the same six hectares their father was able to retain. Over the dividing line remains the airport he pioneered.

Ms Macarthur-Onslow said the case of the government refusing to return her father's enterprise in the 1940s would be handed on to another private group to manage.

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