Having previous dealt with the perils of auto-generated website content in my post about the former township of ‘Sue City’, my recent random Google Maps wanderings around the greater Sydney area have found another mysterious location: ‘Sydney West Airport‘. So what gives?
When you plug ‘Sydney West Airport’ into Google the results aren’t of much use. Giving advice to the non-existent travellers who visited Sydney West Airport? Reading up on and departure and arrival times for a paddock? Driving directions to the middle of nowhere?
The answer to the question comes when you zoom out of the Google Map: ‘Sydney West Airport’ is located in the suburb of Badgery’s Creek, which has long been the preferred site of the construction of a second Sydney Airport. The history of the entire saga can be found in the background paper “Second Sydney Airport – A Chronology” produced in 1998 for the Federal Parliament:
In every post-war decade, governments have studied the airport needs of Sydney and possible locations for the second airport. Priorities and locations have been identified. These plans however, have been scuttled or delayed for a variety of reasons including changes of government and funding shortfalls.
From the nineteen sites that have been considered over these years, two remained in discussion in the 90s, namely Badgery’s Creek and Holsworthy. As campaigns against each of these continued to be mounted, discussion continued on a ‘Sydney-West’ second airport.
The above paper suggests that the first usage of the ‘Sydney West Airport’ name was in 1994 during planning work for the Badgerys Creek airport, with a body named the ‘Sydney West Airport Development Corporation’ to be established to drive the project. Another official usage of the term was in the ‘Airports Act 1996’ – an act that enabled the privatisation of the previously Federal Government administered airports of Australia.
So why did an entire forest of useless links like ‘Sydney West Airport Car Rental’ and ‘Sydney West Airport Hotels’ appear? For this we can blame companies who take a list of IATA airport codes and convert it into a farm of web pages without any human intervention. The list they appear to be using IATA ‘Fuel Code Directory’, you can find the 2010 edition here in Excel format, where ‘Sydney West Airport’ has the code SWZ.
Another mystery solved!