The VX-6/USARP Hangar

The USAP hangar at Christchurch airport
To start with, here is my January 2014 photo of the hangar, at Christchurch International Airport (also known as
Harewood for the suburb in which it is located). The hangar is now used by the New York Air National Guard, and this photo shows its new NSF logo which had just been added in December.

Since Operation Deep Freeze and IGY preparations began in 1955, VX-6 and the USAF occupied space at what was then known as Wigram Aerodrome in a southwest suburb of Christchurch, now closed but still the site of an Air Force museum (Christchurch libraries historical page). The commands had also been using space at Harewood and Weedons (a RNZAF stores depot southwest of Wigram). The offices had been located in a former brewery on Kilmore Street. But with the plans to continue the U.S. Antarctic program, the decision was made to consolidate the Advance Base Headquarters at Harewood. The headquarters offices and barracks were relocated in 1959 to a renovated former wartime RNZAF facility at the roundabout just outside of Harewood (photo and info). Meanwhile, this large hangar was being constructed at the airfield by Seabees from Antarctic Support Activities. It was completed in the 1959-60 season.

Before looking at the hangar construction, below is a photo of Harewood in October 1957.

Harewood during DF58
A "before" photo showing USAF C-124A Globemasters of the 53rd Troop Carrier Squadron on the tarmac in
October 1957. At right top center is a VX-6 R4D-8. But I'm not sure about that USAF aircraft at lower right.

Partly for clarification purposes, here's another 1959-60 era photo that I'm having trouble with:

C-124A's on the tarmac
This photo, looking south, shows the hangar under construction, many C-124A's parked on the tarmac...and
surprisingly, no roundabout. And the iconic water tower isn't visible either, perhaps it is just out of the frame.
early steel erection

A view of the early stages of steel erection; the hangar was a prefabricated structure.
aerial view of the hangar under construction
An aerial view of the hangar under construction, with most of the steel framing completed.
The hangar, almost complete
A view of the hangar, nearly completed, from the airfield tarmac extension yet.
The Christchurch airport during the 1960-61 season
An aerial view of Harewood in 1960-61. The Deep Freeze headquarters is to the left of the traffic circle.
An aerial view of Christchurch airport
Another look at the airfield at the beginning of the 1962-63 season, looking south-southwest.
Deep Freeze aircraft on the tarmac
Here's a zoomed view of the eastern portion of the tarmac from the photo at left...Joe Hawkins has identified all of the Deep Freeze participating aircraft. Thanks, Joe!
The hangar entrance
Back to the more recent past, here is my January 2004 closeup photo of the hangar pedestrian entrance.

The USAP hangar at Christchurch airport
I'll finish up this page with my January 2004 photo of the hangar

Be careful...on another day that January I was walking on the sidewalk across the street from the hangar carrying my camera (in my hand, in its closed case) and the hangar security guards yelled at me not to take any photos.

Credits and thanks...the color photos are mine. And note that a full size version of the photo at the top of this page is available from the Antarctic Photo Library.

Of the B&W pictures...#1 and #7 are from Gateway to the Ice by Tony Phillips, they are © V.C. Browne and Son, used by permission; #2 is from Dave Howell (and I'm asking him for clarification and a better copy), #3 is from the Christchurch Star; #4 and #5 are U.S. Navy photos from the Task Force 43 Deep Freeze 1960 cruisebook; #6 is from their Deep Freeze 1961 cruisebook; and #7 is © V.C. Browne and Son, used by permission.