The airport was originally constructed as a RAAF training facility during World War II. After the war, the airport continued general aviation operations including regular public transport and civilian pilot training.
1960 - 1990
This period saw great change and development within the airport. Various charter and regular services, training and maintenance facilities operated, including the NSW Health operated helicopter rescue service. HM Queen Elizabeth II also visited the airport in 1970 as part of her tour of Australia!
In 1960, Council was granted permissive occupancy of the aerodrome and in 1962 the ownership was transferred under the Commonwealth Aerodrome Local Ownership Plan, however, the Commonwealth Government withdrew in 1990 and Council became solely responsible for the operations of the aerodrome.
1991 - now
In 1998 the current terminal was built. In 2000, the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society commenced development of their hangar and museum, exhibiting some of the oldest operating aircraft in the world. In 2005 major redevelopments took place; the main runway was upgraded to allow larger aircraft and the security system updated. In 2009, the NSW Rural Fire Service completed the construction of their nearby Regional Control Centre, acting as the Emergency Control Centre for the region and complementing the emergency services that operate within the airport.
In 2019 Council announced $15.97 million funding from the NSW Government’s Growing Local Economies program, as part of the Regional Growth Fund, for additions and upgrades to the airport, which will now be known as Shellharbour Airport. The grant will fund the development including the construction of a new passenger terminal building, aviation business park and upgrades to short and long-term car parks.