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Mallala Aerodrome

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Fast Facts
Also known as: Mallala Aerodrome, Mallala Motorsport Park, RAAF 6 SFTS, Section 262 also 7 adjoining sections
Town or Locality: Hundred of Grace
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In 1939 the Federal Government established an aerodrome suitable for training pilots, north of Mallala. In 1941, No. 6 Service Flying Training School (No. 6 SFTS) was formed.

Australia was just coming out of the depression years, and the advent of the RAAF base at Mallala provided employment for many local businesses, e.g. builders, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, Postal Dept., Railways, Algar's Bakery, J.C.K. Reid fruit and vegetables, E.P. & O.W. Pitt butcher, as well as kitchen staff, cleaning and grounds staff, to name a few.

The role of the Aerodrome changed as the war ended. The 6 SFTS unit ceased to function on 31 December 1945.

From 1 January 1946, the personnel at the base served in the Care and Maintenance Unit.

In the following years the Mallala Base was operational for the Royal Australian Air Force and functioned in the defence strategy of the Commonwealth until closure in 1961.

During this period the Commonwealth Government planned that an area at the RAAF Base be established to accommodate personnel seeking settlement in Australia. In 1949 the Department of Immigration commenced the task of altering selected buildings for use as domestic accommodation. The Migrant Accommodation Centre was officially opened on 1 October 1950 and many families began a new life at Mallala. The project lasted for a short duration because the Department of Defence required the area for other purposes.

The land and buildings were sold in 1961.

Next on the site came speedway entrepreneurs. A racing circuit was laid and big names won big races in magnificent cars, e.g. Lex Davison, Bob James and Frank Matich. The Adelaide International Raceway superseded Mallala, but after a great many hassles, the throb of tuned-up engines and the thrills of speed are back again with sporting car events, motorcycling and Formula 2 and V8 races. The Motorsport Park is now a very busy place, with motor related activity on most days of the week.

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