World War II Airstrip McDonald - NT



DEG: -13.75151 131.719849
DMS: 13º 45' 5.43" S 131º 43' 11.46" E
UTM: 52 L 8478095mN 794130mE
Altitude: 202.21m


Place Type

Infrastructure - Airstrip


172.27kms SouthEast of Darwin - Driving 210 km (2 hours 13 mins)

Address & Contact

Douglas-daly NT 0822
Phone: N/A
Email: N/A
Web: N/A


Orientation 137°. Burkholder Field, later known as McDonald Airfield, is located 16km north west of Pine Creek in the Northern Territory. The airfield was built by Company "A" and HQ Detachment of the 808th Engineer Aviation Battalion from 11 May to 16 July 1942.

They built 6, 000 ft of runway, 100 ft wide with 50 ft shoulders paved with 4 inches of gravel. They also built 5,000 ft of taxiways 40 ft wide with 15 ft shoulders paved with 3 inches of gravel and 18 dispersals without revetments. Company A also built Camp buildings.
Dutch airmen who escaped to Australia after the Japanese invasion of the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) were brought together to form Dutch squadrons under RAAF command. First among these special squadrons was 18 (NEI) Squadron, formed at Canberra on 4 April 1942. Although nominally made up of Dutch nationals, the RAAF supplied many co-pilots, air gunners, bombardiers, photographers, and ground staff. The US provided supplies and equipment.

Engagement with enemy forces came early for 18 Squadron when, on 5 June 1942, unit B-25s sunk a 300-ton Japanese submarine off Sydney. This success resulted in the supply of 18 B-25s between August and September. In December the unit moved to MacDonald airstrip in the Northern Territory and began transforming the undeveloped site into a workable airbase. From January the squadron commenced offensive operation missions over East Timor and the Tanimbar and Kai Islands.

Note: The Airstrip is in very good condition and seems to be maintained .
Text and B/W Photo courtesy Peter Dunn's "Australia @ War"

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Closest Weather Station

Douglas River at 23/04:30am CST
Distance from World War II Airstrip McDonald 58.22km W
TemperatureFeels LikeRel. HumidityDew PointPressureRainfallWind DirectionWind SpeedGusts

Closest Climatic Station

Pine Creek Council
Distance from World War II Airstrip McDonald 14.56km SE
Mean Max. °C32.932.533.233.731.929.830.632.335.537.036.534.6
Mean Min. °C23.923.823.422.119.516.716.517.721.623.824.324.2
Mean Rain mm351.9386.1263.592.710.

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