Mount St. John Airstrip


Brad Webb Drive (near), Mount St. John 4818

Mount St John airstrip was a graded dirt landing ground that had been constructed prior to 1938 for the Townsville Aero Club. Separated from Garbutt aerodrome, it lay on the north-western side of Mount St John and was also referred to as Saint John Zoo airstrip, after the nearby animal park.


The 33rd RAAF Transport Squadron was formed in Townsville on 16 February 1942 and initially used this airstrip for their twin engined DC2’s. They were later based on the northern edge of the Stock route airstrip (Dalrymple Road).

A February 1942 list of airfields shows Mount St John airstrip being 4500 feet long. In May 1942, a report on camouflage works in the Townsville area revealed:

St John Zoo - 3 men are employed at this strip erecting nets for covering 2 aircraft.

After the 33rd left Mount St John, the airfield was used for the dispersal of aircraft from the main Garbutt aerodrome and for minor maintenance.

By June 1943 the airstrip is listed as 'abandoned' and having a surface of graded grass.

In the late 1990s, numerous 1940s era fuel drums and aircraft parts littered the site of the former airstrip.

In the early 2000s, an industrial estate was constructed on the former airstrip site.


Cardell, Rodney G. Wings Around Us. Amphion Press, Brisbane, 1991.

Marks, Roger R. Queensland Airfields WW2 – 50 Years On. Self published, Brisbane, 1994.

RAAF Selection of sites for new aerodromes in Townsville area 1942, A705/1, 151/1/703 ACT.

The North Queensland Line: The Defence of Townsville in 1942. Ray Holyoak unpublished Honours Thesis, James Cook University, Townsville 1998.

Townsville Aero Club Aerial Pageant 1938, John Oxley Library Collection.