Rathmines Park, former RAAF Seaplane Base
The Rathmines RAAF seaplane base played a pivotal role in the defence of Australia in World War II. It was the largest seaplane base in the Southern Hemisphere and was the longest serving during the war effort. It is the most intact example of an RAAF WWII seaplane base in Australia.
Rathmines RAAF Base is significant as a flying boat base used for the defence of Australia in World War II. During WWII, it was a major boat base in NSW, and was the largest boat base in Australia. It is understood to be the only flying boat base in NSW with a significant amount of physical fabric remaining.
The Rathmines RAAF Base is important through its use as a base for the seaplanes used in WWII, particularly the Catalina flying boat, which had the ability to land and take off in calm water, and had great endurance over long distances. The Catalina was one of the most successful flying boats produced and its qualities made the aircraft important in the defense of Australia during WWII.
The Rathmines RAAF base is significant as it was a centre for training, housing the Operational Training Unit for Catalina crew and providing training to over 200 Catalina crews during the war. The Base was also important as a repair centre for the flying boats and was the location of a Flying Boat Repair Depot.
The Rathmines RAAF Base is significant through its association with specific WWII events. The Base's flying boats were involved with the mining of Manilla Harbour, and played an important part in the Battle of the Coral Sea.
The Base has continuing social significance to WWII service personnel, and to the community of Lake Macquarie, who recognise the site's history and continue to use the site, creating an evolving landscape which retains significant elements of the RAAF Base.
It had a dramatic impact on the housing and road development within the area (Suters Architects Snell 1993)
Source:NSW Heritage Branch
Dorrington Road, Rathmines, NSW