Lat 33° 52' 8S Long 151° 15' 43E Rose Bay Seaplane Base is located at Rose Bay at the eastern end of Sydney Harbor in New South Wales in Australia. To the west is at Sydney. Also known as Rose Bay, Rose Bay (Qantas) Seaplane Base, Rose Bay Airport or today Rose Bay Water Airport.
During the 1930s, Rose Bay Seaplane Base developed as a seaplane base proving the first air service to the Sydney area. The facility included a wharf, moorings for seaplanes and a seaplane ramp and repair facilities for the seaplane operators based at this location including Qantas Empire Airways (QEA), Tasman Empire Airways Limited, Barrier Reef Airways and Imperial.
Beginning in 1938, Qantas began providing air service from London eastward across the globe terminating at Rose Bay. This aerial service made Rose Bay the first international airport.
Starting in April 1940 was seaplane service to Tasmania with a fleet of four Sandringhams servicing the route and making the seven hour crossing to Auckland. Also air service to Perth and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) route. Later, seaplane services were introduced to Lord Howe Island, Fiji and Tahiti using a variety of flyingboats including Sandringhams, Hythes, Solents, Sunderlands and Catalinas.
During World War II, Rose Bay Seaplane based continued to be used a seaplane base by Qantas and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). During the war, Qantas was contracted to assemble seaplanes, performed repairs, maintenance and modifications to RAAF seaplanes and flying boats.
On January 18, 1944 while attempting to land a Rose Bay S.33 "Clifton" Serial Number A18-14 crashed on landing.
On October 11, 1944 while attempting to land a Rose Bay S.23 "Coolangattta" Serial Number A18-13 crashed on landing.
On September 14, 1945 nine Catalinas landed at Rose Bay repatriating Australian Prisoners Of War (POW) who were liberated at the end of the Pacific War.
Plans were made to expand Rose Bay but postwar needs for flying boat services declined in favor of land based aircraft and airports.
Several flying boats were scrapped at Rose bay including S.23C "Coriolanus" VH-ABG in 1948 and S.25 Sunderland Mark III VH-AKP in October 1955.
By the middle 1950s, only eleven personnel worked at Rose Bay Seaplane Base. On August 16, 1955 at midnight, a Qantas flying boat made the last seaplane flight from Rose Bay. On September 10, 1974 Ansett Airlines made their last seaplane flight to Lord Howe Island.
Still in use today as Rose Bay Water Airport. Airport code IATA: RSE. Today the sole seaplane operator is Sydney Seaplanes offering private scenic flights over the area and Catalina Rose Bay Restaurant Sydney named after the Catalina flying boats that once operated here.
Catalina Rose Bay Restaurant Sydney
Pocket Oz Travel & Information Guide Sydney - Rose Bay International Airport
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
April 7, 2020