8 October 1930:The Department of Defense approved the site at Aldavilla on the Sherwood Road for development of an aerodrome for all types of present aircraft. When the work is finished, the department will issue an official aerodrome license. The department has advised the Kempsey Municipal Council (which has been in the forefront of this matter) to acquire rights to adjoining properties to provide for future expansion when larger aircraft come to Australia.

In 1936 the Kempsey Aero Club would hold a very successful air pagent at Frogmore. This followed a visit on Monday June 5th,1933 by Sir Charles Kinsford Smith to Frogmore (near Gladstone) in which he conducted joy flights (in the Southern Cross & a smaller de Havilland DH-50 aircraft) from Mackay's paddock to raise money for his purchase of an aircraft for the proposed England to Aust flight.

On the 25th September 1961, seven local pilots plus the proprietor of the local travel agency formed a company limited by guarantee called “Kempsey Flying Club Limited", the registered office of which was at Kempsey Airport. “The Office” consisted of half a machinery shed rented from the D.C.A. (Department of Civil Aviation) for a peppercorn rental.

Having no aircraft or capital, flying training was carried out by Hastings District Flying Club when an instructor and aircraft visited Kempsey. Aircraft were also, on occasions, hired from Coffs Harbour.

Early in 1966 a decision was made to build a hangar ready for the purchase of an aircraft. A pre-cut steel frame was purchased from Newcastle and all erection and completion was carried out by voluntary labour the first sod for the foundation was turned by the then Governor General, His Excellency the Right Honourable Lord Casey in April 1966.

The first aircraft a Cessna 172A, VH-RLZ was purchased on the 9th December 1966 for $6,750. The hire rate was set at $15 per hour.

In November 1967 an instructor was employed and the club operated as a flying school until 1973 when the instructor’s employment was terminated. From that time until the present, the club has operated its aircraft on a private hire basis only.

The club purchased a second aircraft, a Cessna 182G VH-AVK, on the 8th August 1971 for $10,000, but due to insufficient utilization and the expiry of the engine life with lack of capital for its overhaul it was sold on the 12th February 1974 for $8,200.

VH-TNG, a Cessna 172G, was purchased on the 17th March 1976 for $12,500. This replaced old faithful VH-RLZ which was sold on the 26th April 1976 for $6,000. After having served the club well for two years VH-TNG was sold on the 4th February 1978 for $13,000 and replaced by VH-TDK, a Cessna 172M on the 10th February 1978 at a cost of $23,250. This has proved to be an excellent aircraft and was repainted and refurbished in its factory original colour scheme.

Pilots from the club competed in both NSW Air Races held in 1973 and 1975.

In October 1982 a very successful Airshow was organized by the club which netted almost $14,500. This was immediately put to good use building a new clubhouse. Once again voluntary labour enabled this building to be officially opened on the 27th October, 1989 by Wing Commander A W Titheridge Commanding Officer of 97 Squadron Williamtown, completely free of debt.

Another Airshow was organized in October 1986 in conjunction with Kempsey’s sesqui-centenary celebrations.

Mobil Australia offered the use of the avgas fuel installation to the club in 1974 as Mobil considered there was not enough throughput to warrant an agent. The club took up this offer and on payment of $2,000 towards the updating of the installation, entered an agreement with Mobil. The Club owned the fuel in stock while Mobil maintained the installation. During 1986, due to distribution problems, Mobil transferred to ownership of the fuel installation to BP Australia, but the Club’s arrangement continued as before. The Club still owns the fuel in stock.

During 1968 the Club Pilots organized a Shark Patrol of the local beaches. This operated in December and January each year and was still maintained in 1990. Beaches patrolled were from Point Plummer south of Crescent Head to Scotts Head in the north.

An inter-club competition week-end is held with Armidale twice yearly alternating between bases. The beginning of these competitions came about as a memorial to Robert Cumming a local boy who learned to fly with the Club who went on to become an instructor at Armidale and was killed in a mid air collision over Bankstown while training for an instrument rating. The possession of the “Robert Cumming Memorial Shield” is the aim of each club on these weekends.

Of the eight original foundation members in 1961, five were still flying members of the club in 1990.

Unfortunately the Shark Patrol finally succumbed to the times and the growing real fear of litigation in 1996.

In more recent years the club has hosted The Auster Fly-In, a Static Display in March 1997, Vintage Aircraft and Club Open Day in March 1998, Fly-in Breakfast in October 2000, Inter Club Flying Comp March 2005 and the Great Eastern Fly In December 2006.

There have been numerous small Fly in Breakfasts, the Annual Comp twice yearly with Armidale and comps with Coffs Harbour and Hastings.

Excursions have also been a highlight, there have been trips to Narromine Fly In, Bellbrook Pub for Christmas in August, Hunter Valley Wines, Kunderang Homestead, Ross Glen, Cowra Inter Club Flying Comp.

VH-TDK still remains as the Club Aircraft and is in excellent condition for use by Club Members and others.

1st Jan 2018 to 1st Jan 2020:
Several improvement were made to the club's main building. These included repainting of the exterior (with the help of inmates from the nearby correctional centre) and the interior which was performed by the members of the Sky Aces Model Jet Club from Foster/Tuncurry. Additionally, the kitchen was modenised with the addition of new cooking facilities, sink, cupboards, etc. Once again all this work was completed with the additional help of club members free of charge.

1st July 2019:

Avionics in TDK are upgraded to include GPS navigation and improved VHF radios. Equipment donated by Mr Bob Palmer.

11th November 2021:
Both clubhouses are air conditioned at a cost of $5995.00 thanks to a $3995.00 Community Grant from the Bushfire Recovery Program administered by the Kempsey Shire Council. The Flying Club made up the balance of the air conditioning costs. ($1900.00)

19th November 2021:
NSW Government grants $17400 to Flying Club for hangar improvements.

25th November 2021:
CASA grants the Flying Club $3000.00 to run two Safety Seminars. One on RA AUS maintenance and the other on GA Pre Flight safety and aircraft inspection. As part of this grant the club has also purchased a home theatre projector, portable PA system and large indoor projection screen.

12th February 2022:
Mr Brian Chow leases main clubhouse building and begins pilot training (Sport Fly Aviation) in a Foxbat based at the airport. Pilots will receive a Recreational Australia (RA Aus) pilot licence at the completion of successful training.

13th April 2022:
Local hangar owners and pilots form THE KEMPSEY AIRPORT USERS GROUP to represent the interests of local pilots and all stakeholders in the airport and their dealings and decisions in regard to the airport with the local council.

26th April 2023:
Foundation For Regional Rural Renewal grants Flying Club $9995.00 funding for purchase of clubhouse improvements. This includes back to base security system, new refridgeration, 75" TV with surround sound system & additional cupboard storage plus repairs to clubhouse.

6th Dec 2023:

Kempsey Shire Council advises Flying Club lease for hang and clubhouses weould be raised from $2300.0PA to approx $1200.00PA Club seeks urgent meeting with Council to resolve lease fee. Attempt to add curtilage by Council to lease airside found to be illegal by Flying Club.

6th Jan 2024:

TDK to have upgrade to audio panel including microphone jacks for rear passengers at a cost of $5300.00


18 October 1930

The Department of Defense approved the site at Aldavilla on the Sherwood Road for development of an aerodrome for all types of present aircraft. When the work is finished, the department will issue an official aerodrome license. The department has advised the Kempsey Municipal Council (which has been in the forefront of this matter) to acquire rights to adjoining properties to provide for future expansion when larger aircraft come to Australia.

7 December 1936

The Aldavilla aerodrome was officially opened on Saturday by the minister of defense the Hon H. V. C. Thorby. An aerial pageant was held during the day on the all over grassed aerodrome.

1 June 1953 - New ’drome opened
The newly-constructed Kempsey aerodrome was officially opened on Saturday by the Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr. H. L. Anthony). The ‘drome cost £160,000 to construct, the breakdown being: 44 degree runway £69,000; landing strip and sealing at either end £25,000; apron and taxi-ways £5,000; area roads around the aerodrome £2,500; car park and access roads £3,000; passenger facilities (yet to be built) £1,500. The opening of the aerodrome was the first of the Coronation celebrations in the district. It was followed by a spectacular aerial pageant which drew a crowd of over 2000. Among those at the ceremony was a former mayor of Kempsey, Mr. Sam Lacey, now of Sydney. Some 20 years ago he took two departmental officers to Aldavilla to make a survey of the ‘drome site. Also present was Mr. A. J. Druitt, former town clerk (and an alert 88) who arranged for the resumption of the land.

Air Service 1 July 1953:
Butler Air Transport Ltd has recommenced its air service between Kempsey and Sydney. It landed a four-engine De Haviland Heron passenger plane on Kempsey aerodrome about

9.15am yesterday with 13 passengers aboard.

Kempsey airport had a major upgrading with the existing gravel landing area being converted to an all weather bitumen strip. Kempsey airport was then on a par with all regional airports throughout Australia.

1 July 1975:
Kempsey airport was taken over by the Macleay River County Council from the Commonwealth Government.

12 May 1984:
It was announced that Kempsey airport would get navigational aids allowing night landings. Landing lights at the airport have been in operation for some years.

In June 1986:
Kempsey airport became fully operational for night flying in 1986.

1st October 2016:
Wings Over Macleay is the first 2 day event of its kind for the Kempsey-Macleay area. Whilst the Kempsey Shire Council owned airport has been in operation since World War 2, it has recently undergone a $2.5 million upgrade to make it suitable to become a fully serviced Aviation Business Park. It is now ideally situated to host a regional air show There are currently several aviation related business operating at the airport. The popular Kempsey Flying Club, as well as local parachutists, use the site for their GA flying activities. It is also an important centre for the NSW Air Ambulance to service the Mid-North Coast region.

1st January 2018:
Kempsey Airport was chosen by the Australian International Aviation College to invest 18.2 million dollars in a training facility for international pilots. Due to public protests this was abandoned and now a small number of Chinese pilots are being trained at Kempsey using the limited facilities the Business Park has available. The Airport is also popular with Coffs Sky Divers who use the airport on a 2 weekends per month basis and the Sky Aces Radio Controlled Model Jets who use the airport on a regular basis with pilots coming from all over NSW and Southern Queensland.

1st March 2019:
A new self-servioce refuelling facility was opened supplying Jet A and Avgas 100LL fuel on a 24 hour basis. This facility is managed by the Flying Club on behalf of Aero Refuellers. The old refuelling system owned by the Kempsey Flying Club was de-commissioned on April 5th, 2019. Also in 2019/20 the large Rural Fire Service complex at the airport assisted in both the bush fire crisis that engulfed the hinterland of the Macleay Valley and surronds and fire recovery efforts. Several new hangers were completed as well during this period at the airport (bringing the total to 15) as it goes from strength to strength as a community asset.

1st January 2020:
Australian International Aviation College ceases operations at Kempsey Airport due Covid-19 regulations restricting the entry of trainee Chinese pilots to the country and pressure brought to bare by local action group opposed to the training of pilots at Kempsey Airport by the AIAC..

29th November 2020:

It was announced by the Kempsey Shire Council "A new Macleay Valley Recreation & Adventure Park will be established on land to the east of the main runway featuring facilities for parking as well as all disciplines of skydiving, including a world-class canopy swoop pond and an indoor rock climbing gym. The indoor climbing gym will be designed for users of all levels to practice speed climbing, sport climbing and bouldering. The canopy swoop pond will be multifunctional and will also be used to teach flat water kayaking, sailing small crafts and for fun water-based activities for children as well as serving its core purpose for competitive parachutists. The park will be equipped with amenities, dormitories and a training classroom to support the sports facilities. Funding was secured thanks to support by the NSW and Commonwealth governments supplementing the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund of $11,283,000. Concept plans were designed by Williams River Steel & council have developed relationships with the Australian Parachute Federation and Sport Climbing Australia and are working together with those organisations to ensure the facilities are built to the highest athletic standards." The Adventure Park is estimated to be completed by July 2022.

18th February 2021:

Old fuel facility is dismantal and fuel tanks removed by Kempsey Shire Council at a cost of over $100,000.00

21st July 2021
Submissions are called for as to why the crossstrip (34/16) should not be closed down.Flying club puts in a submission against the closure of the grass cross strip.

2nd August 2022:

Kempsey Council commissions Brisbane firm to develop a Master Plan for the airport.

3rd August 2022:

Kempsey Airport Users Group and local pilots oppose the introduction of landing fees for local hangar and aircraft owners at the airport.

22nd November 2021:

Kempsey shire Council advises CASA the grass cross strip (34/16) was to be decommissioned due lack of use. This decision was made after Kempsey Shire Council announced "extensive consultation" with stake holders in the Kempsey Airport. A more plausable reason is the new 11.5 million dollar Adventure Park is being built at the eastern end of the cross strip and its buildings would have impacted on the cross strips use.

24th August 2022:

Work commences on the stabilization of apron and edges of taxiways. Estimated cost to be $5.4 million dollars. Work was extected to be completed by 10th October, however, due to unprecedented wet weather completion is now not expected untill late November 2022.

26th November 2022:

Upgrade to airport completed. Aero Refuellers fuel facility upgraded to modern state of the art facility. Master Plan for airport put on display for public comment.

26th June 2023:

Kempsey Shire Councillors vote to adopt airport Master Plan up to 2042 with the following amendments: 1)Fuel facility to be moved to a more suitable location. 2)Terminal building not to be demolished without Councillots' approval .

7th Feb 2024:

Kempsey Shire Council advised by NSW State Govt. the proposed Adventure Park at the airport was financially unviable and funding offer of 11.5 million dollars (from bushfire recovery fund) would now be withdrawn. Counciol decides not proceed with construction of Adventure Park .

10th Jan 2024:

Kempsey Shire Council commences work on electric conservation proof fence around airport at a cost of $200,000.00. Funding to be provided by Fed Govt. Fence designed to keep wildlife fron confines of airport.

14th Jan 2024:

Kempsey Shire Councils calls for a financial feasibility report on the airport to be presented to the June 2024 meeting of Council.

14th Jan 2024:

Kempsey Shire Council announces resurfacing of main runway in 2024 and an upgrade of air strip lighting at a cost of 12.5 million dollars. Fed Govt to provide 5 million dollars of this funding.