Airport West

Some visitors to Melbourne may be confused by the name of Airport West, since it is quite clearly located to the south of the city’s current airport. They underestimate the age of the site. Not only is it named for Melbourne’s original airport, located adjacent to (and yes, east of) it in Essendon, but that airport itself is much older than is generally realized.

In the late 1890s, it was originally designated as a construction and mooring area for zeppelins, but alas, none ever came to Melbourne until much later. Again, in the war years, it was mooted as the site for Australia’s first air force base, but that honour went instead to Laverton. Finally, in the 1960s, after the construction of Melbourne Airport in Tullamarine, it was suggested as a site where drug users could safely come down from their highs without bothering anyone else (as it was still surrounded by tall fences on all sides), but then the Sixties ended in late 1975, and the idea of ‘coddling’ drug users went out the window.

Airport West today remains a mixture of residential and industrial development. The only significant change to the area since the closure of Essendon Airport as an international destination has been a slow but noticeable gentrification of the area, with the accompanying rise in house prices.

Suburbs near Airport West:

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