1960’s - In the 1960s and ’70’s the Snowy Mountains Authority used the land of the Aerodrome as an airstrip for the construction of the Snowy Scheme. We understand that the land was then intended to be returned to the community in return for the Old Jindabyne Town Common Land which had now been flooded by the new lake.
1974 - The land title was transferred to the care of the Lands Department on behalf of the Jindabyne community.
1978 - Barry Wrenford was granted a Permissive Occupancy of the land enabling access to the aerodrome for his exclusive use. He established an aviation business known as Alpine Soaring in the following years. However, access for local pilots was restricted and general use of the field remained outside the scope of local flying operations. This turn of events did not sit well with the Jindabyne Community and local pilots who felt the land belonged to the townspeople of Jindabyne. The operator had apparently been given the sole right operate the aerodrome in his own interests and those interests, rightly or wrongly, did not mesh with those of the wider community.
1980’ - The founding club members, a group of like minded local pilots informally started meeting, from time to time to discuss various aviation issues. The main subject of discussion centring around access to the Jindabyne Aerodrome for the operation of their aircraft and for visiting pilots. Eventually it was decided to form themselves into a registered club with the object of the club to “to encourage and foster flying generally, and in particular active participation in flying light aircraft at Jindabyne” and “Maintain at Jindabyne club premises suitable for members of the club”.
1985 - On the 2nd of Oct 1985 the Jindabyne Aero Club had its first official meeting where it was resolved to formally create the Club and the first executive committee was elected. Pres - Chris Randall, Vice Pres - Ron McDonald, Sec - Sandy Callum, Treas Ron Clarke. Other official business was conducted including attending to the registering of the name, the aims of the club, which included establishing a permanent airstrip for the use of the club and the public.
1985 -88 Jindabyne Aero Club had many meetings with Snowy River Shire Council, then together approached the Lands Department to discuss the matter of the Jindabyne Aerodrome licence arrangements and the possibilities of improving the strip for General Aviation activities. According to Chris Randalls notes, 12 different submissions where prepared, 8 meetings where held with the Minister for Lands, Lands Department Officers, CAA Officers, Gliding Federation officers. Many more meetings where held with Shire virtually on a weekly basis.
Having gained “In Principal” approval from the Authorities the club commissioned a Land Survey of proposed runway improvements, aircraft movements area, ascertained standards required for classes of aircraft that could possibly use the aircraft under the Air Laws relating at the time.
1989 - An meeting was arranged with the then Minister of Lands Ian Causley, attended by a deputation of the Clubs executive, MP Russell Smith, the Mayor and other Shire officials. Happily the Minister conceded to the weight of numbers and advised the deputation of his decision to hand back the land to the Shire and the Club.
1990 - The club was advised by the new Minister for Lands, Russel Smith, that the Club would be accommodated in a new Lease of the Aerodrome Land to the Shire. This was met with some scepticism by the club, as members where aware that the land was regarded as Town Common Land by the community, and the question was asked, “why should our community need to rent back our Common Land from the state government?” The proposed new lease to the Shire was resisted by the club for some time, but in the end was accepted as the path forward of least resistance.
1991-1992 - The Members of the Club and the general community in a huge effort spearheaded by Chris Randall, went to work on rebuilding the Jindabyne Aerodrome to a standard suitable for use by light single and twin engine aircraft. The job was not small and the scope hard to imagine when viewing the Aerodrome as it stands today. Literally small mountains where moved in scenes reminiscent of the Snowy Scheme.
1993 - The Grand Opening of the Jindabyne Community Aerodrome was held with a never to be repeated air show of exuberant proportions! There where vintage aircraft flying, helicopters, aerobatics, skydivers, a huge bon fire, a country and western band and all the fun of the fair. Dick Smith flew in to cut the ribbon and speak to the crowd of proud locals, and in his speech described the Aerodrome as the prettiest little Aerodrome in the country! We wonder if he realised the magnitude of the intense effort required by the club and the community to make it happen.
1993 -2000 Consolidation of the Club. Ongoing negotiations with the Shire to finalise the License conditions. More work done on fencing repairs and runway maintenance.
1997 - Thredbo Landslide –The airfield is heavily utilised by the Air Ambulance, Media Aircraft, Police, Emergency Services and others. Club members become involved ferrying Emergency Services crews to and from regional centres.
1998 - Snowy River Shire builds a bush fire fighting shed for aviation operations on the Aerodrome.
2000 - A proposal to run an RPT float plane service to Jindabyne distracts the club, with resulting submissions to the proposal and many meetings etc. The service never started.
2001 -The Deed of License to occupy the club area at the Aerodrome is finally signed off after a protracted negotiation period. Negotiations where conducted with good grace by all parties while the interests of all the parties concerned where accommodated. Many “robust” discussions where held!
2002 - Development and Building Approvals were issued for the first permanent hangar buildings. The first double hangar was completed late 2004. A further five hangar bays in three buildings were erected in the following years. There are still approximately eight hangar sites available for future development.
2003 - Catastrophic bush fires resulted in the Aerodrome being requisitioned by the RFS for intensive fire fighting operations. Up to 30 helicopters where based on the aerodrome along with many fixed wing aircraft. Unfortunately, the fragile grass surface could not withstand the heavy traffic and was badly damaged. Luckily the RFS agreed to make good the damage and provided sufficient funds to repair the main runway. The first repair, which involved top dressing the runway and reseeding in an attempt to restore the grass surface failed dismally due to the protracted drought, another major fire event and constant traffic. Luckily sufficient funds remained to strip the surface and replace the grass with a smooth gravel surface, which has been a great success.
Over the next few years during the prolonged draught the Aerodrome is repeatedly utilised by fire crews and others to respond fires and other emergency events.
2005 - Over a period of time the Shire had been running down their maintenance obligations at the Aerodrome, with infrequent mowing, weed control, wind sock maintenance etc. So the club picked some of the slack by investing in a tractor and slasher to take over the mowing, and its members have invested much of their own time attending to the other issues including weed spraying, runway maintenance, wind sock repairs, vermin & pest control, fence repairs, pilot liaison, etc. We estimate that the savings to the Shire to about $20,000 per annum.
2009 - Planning underway for a new club house. The Mens Shed advises that they wish to investigate the possibilities of co-locating with the Club at the Aerodrome. A proposed site near our club house has been pegged.
Negotiations continue with the Shire to extend the License or make more permanent the tenure arrangements of the Club at the Aerodrome.
The Jindabyne Aero Club, in pursuit of its aim of fostering aviation in the mountains, hands over a cheque for $1000 to the Snowy Mountains Grammar School Aviation Training program. Jindabyne Aero Club continues to support aviation education and training by fostering young pilots at every opportunity.
2010 - An official name for the aerodrome is adopted; “Jindabyne Randal Community Aerodrome” in memory of founding member Chris Randall who died in a tragic gyrocopter accident at the field on 24/1/2010
2011 - Another tragedy strikes the club and family of Richard Holgate on 24/6/2011 when Richard is lost in a seaplane accident on Lake Jindabyne.
2011 - The Men’ Shed is established and construction commences at the Eastern side of the Main Entrance. This is separate arrangement with SRSC and does not affect the Club in any substantial way.
2011 - Snowy River Shire Council commences a process of Compulsory Acquisition of the land of the Jindabyne Randall Community Aerodrome from the land Department.
2012 - February the biggest event since the opening of the Jindabyne Randall Community Aerodrome is held, the first ever Reach for the Stars Ball raises nearly $8000 towards a new club house.
2018 - The Jindabyne Aero Club has continued to operate the airfield since 1993, initially under a license with the Department of Lands and then more recently with the local Council, Snowy River Shire, until their amalgamation and a new title of Snowy Monaro Regional Council. The JAC had always considered ownership of the airfield as its ultimate goal. To this end, negotiations commenced in 2016-17 to purchase the airfield from the Council. The contracts were signed on 18 January 2018 and the JAC is now the owner and operator of the Jindabyne Randall Community Aerodrome, fulfilling the vision of its 1985 founding members, especially Chris Randall.
2020 and beyond - The JAC, in its capacity as the owner and operator of the JRCA, sees itself as an integral partner in the future development and economic growth of the region. Jindabyne has grabbed the attention of the NSW Government as one of the fastest growing regions in the State, if not the country, and has been designated a Special Activation Precinct. It is critical that the JAC receives sufficient financial support to upgrade its facilities in order to service the region efficiently and effectively into the future and provide an acceptable and attractive destination for the associated increase in air traffic and visitation.