Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Landing Ground, Carpentaria Downs

Carpentaria Downs Station

North and Cape York

Gregory Developmental Road, Carpentaria Downs Station, Einasleigh 4816

An inspection of the Einasleigh district by engineers of the Main Roads Commission (MRC) and the Department of Interior was carried out in early May 1942 to determine possible sites for strategic airstrips on the Forsayth railway west of Cairns. Work commenced on the clearing of strips on Prestwood and Carpentaria Downs cattle stations. However, while Carpentaria Downs was developed more than Prestwood, both were incorporated into post-war road construction.


The original intention was that Carpentaria Downs should serve as a US 'Operational Base-Bombardment Field-Parent'. By early July 1942 the main strip and several dispersal bays had been gravelled and were ready for use. Operational and camp buildings were erected on a nearby ridge. However, by December US Forces in Australia had abandoned plans for the use of the base and all work had stopped.

After the war the Department of Civil Aviation decided that the southern-most (42°) runway should be used as an emergency landing ground for aircraft flying between Townsville and Normanton and Etheridge Shire Council upgraded the strip in the 1960s to cater for mining exploration activity. However, it received little use and is now overgrown. The main northern-most (110°) runway and a connecting taxiway have since been utilised as part of the Gregory Developmental Road.


Pearce, Howard (contributing author).

Main Roads Commission, The History of the Queensland Main Roads Commission during World War II 1939–1945, Government Printer, Brisbane, 1949.

Roger Marks, Queensland Airfields WW2: 50 years on, Brisbane, 1994.