Port Moresby Flying Boat Base used Fairfax Harbor as a takeoff, landing and mooring area with shore facilities to the west at Port
Moresby. During February 1942, flying boats were moored off Napa Napa (Napanapa) directly across the harbor to the south. Also known as "Fairfax Harbor Flying Boat Base" or "Qantas Flying Boat Base".
Built during 1939 by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) marine section as a seaplane base with a ramp and mooring areas in Fairfax Harbor. Prewar, used by both commercial and RAAF flying boats.
During the Pacific War, used by the
Allies as a flying boat base for seaplanes operating from the Port Moresby area including PBY Catalinas, Short S23 and Short Sunderlands.
Allied units that operated from Port Moresby flying boat base
11 Squadron (PBY Catalina)
RAAF, 20 Squadron (PBY Catalina)
USN, VP-101 (PBY Catalina) August-December 1943
Norbert Ruff recalls in Ruff Suff page 74:
"Norb received a call hat a repaired plane was down at Townsville and he had to go down and get it. He took his chute bag and went down to the harbor to catch a Martin Flyingboat."
The base was taken over by the Department of Civil Aviation and used by Qantas PBY Catalinas and Sandringham flying boats. Known as 'Qantas Flying Boat Base' during this period. Later, when Qantas stopped operating in New Guinea, the base was taken over by Trans Australian Airways that continued to operated PBY Catalinas from the base until January 1966.
Afterwards, the area was acquired by the Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources until 1967 when the Defense Force constructed a wharf, slipway and facilities at this location for their patrol boat base. During this construction, the wreckage of PBY Catalina A24-5 was demolished.
It is the site of the modern PNGDF
patrol boat base.
PBY Catalina Serial Number A24-5
Sunk April 24, 1942 at its moorings after Japanese bombing raid
Thanks to John Douglas for additional information
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April 7, 2020