Colacino pushes for Lawrence Hargrave airport

Wollongong councillor Leigh Colacino at Stanwell Park beach. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Wollongong councillor Leigh Colacino at Stanwell Park beach. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

A Wollongong councillor hopes to stamp a little piece of Illawarra history on Sydney’s new airport by urging the government to name it after northern suburbs flight pioneer Lawrence Hargrave.

At next week’s meeting, Liberal councillor Leigh Colacino will ask Wollongong City Council to write to NSW and federal ministers, asking them ditch the location name Badgerys Creek for the loftier Lawrence Hargrave International Airport.

Cr Colacino - who lives near the Stanwell Park beach where Mr Hargrave first took off on one of his flying machines in 1894 - said he came up with the idea as a way to honour the pioneer and promote Wollongong.

‘‘I think it’s a really good idea for the airport, and it’s a great thing for Wollongong because tourists would see him flying his kites on the beach any time they came into that airport,’’ he said.

However, Cr Colacino said Mr Hargrave was also an international figure who deserved to be recognised on a national level.

‘‘If you aren’t aware of him - why the hell not?’’ he said.

‘‘This guy is acknowledged as the forefather of flight... because he was the one who developed the wing that made it possible for the Wright Brothers to do their first flights.’’

If Cr Colacino’s suggestion is successful, it wouldn’t be the first time an Australian airport has been named after an aviator. 

The airport at Mascot was renamed in the 1950s in recognition of Charles Kingsford-Smith, but these days all signage or branding has reverted to simply Sydney Airport.

Cr Colacino said he hoped councillors would support his bid and also urged Illawarra residents to get behind the campaign.

‘‘If we get on to it at the beginning of this new airport, we might be able to get a groundswell of support,’’ he said.

‘‘Lawrence Hargrave was a man who attained great heights among men whom he helped to soar even higher and he was not only a great son of the Illawarra - he was an amazing Australian inventor.’’

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