Flying Below the Radar Civil Aviation Heritage in Australia's Northern Territory

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Fiona Shanahan


Australian government administrators and private enterprise took full advantage of the opportunities made possible by civil aviation in Australia’s Northern Territory. Yet, there is a common perception among Territorians that there is more on display and known about the defence aviation heritage of the Territory. Considering the long-term impact civil aviation has had on Territorians and their way of life, this paper queries this representation of its aviation past. This is achieved through a heritage audit, alongside an exploration of primary and secondary historical resources, and other forms of presentation. This paper highlights existing gaps in the representation of civil aviation heritage in the Northern Territory and suggests a way forward so that this significant historical narrative is not forgotten.

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Author Biography

Fiona Shanahan

Fiona Shanahan is an aviation archaeologist based in Australia's Northern Territory. She was awarded a First Class Honours in 2014 for her research into aviation heritage management in Australia and the Marshall Islands. Since 2014 Fiona has continued researching Top End World War II aviation heritage, which has resulted in papers regarding the living history at aviation sites and one of the first definitions for aviation archaeology. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Canberra.