Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

Polley's Field - A Trip Down Memory Lane

Written by
VH BPR Belmont VH BPR Belmont
Barwon heads Airfield was originally built by Mr Bill Polley in 1964. It was known as “Polley’s Field”

The Geelong area has a long association with aviation – all the way back to the 1920’s when flying was carried out at Belmont Common.

The Pratt Brothers – Charles and Percy operated a significant aviation business at Belmont with a hangar and workshop. They taught  flying – both powered flight and gliding, and did aerial photography with the huge box cameras of the day.

10,000 Geelong residents turned up at Belmont in 1928 to see aviator Bert Hinkler after his 2 week flight from England to Australia.  In 1929 Percy Pratt started the Geelong Gliding Club - which still operates at Bacchus Marsh.

World War 2 saw plenty of aviation activity in and around Geelong from the Ford plant at North Geelong assembling aircraft to the bombing ranges
in Lake Gnarpurt and Lake Corangamite – both of which are still visible today and make beautiful photographic subjects with their incredible symmetry.

After World War 2 Belmont Common was used by Bass Island Airways, operating with Avro Anson bombers on the run to King Island.

On 14 Jan 1964 Percivil Proctor VH BPR was at Belmont prior to a flight to SA and then further inland.

In May 1966 Proctor VH BXQ was flown by Mr Colin James  Hunt (lived Newtown in Geelong)  from Moorabbin to Belmont with an expired Certificate Of Airworthiness. It was one of the last aircraft to fly from Belmont before it closed.  Hunt was later prosecuted for this matter. This aircraft was later based at Polley’s Field and remained there until it crashed into Lake Connewarre on the 30th of October 1972.

 “Polley’s Field” which started in such a humble fashion in 1964 is a hive of action today, as the new runway is built, digging up 50 years of history to lay a new structural base and tarmac surface.
Last modified on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 07:49

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