RAAF Experimental Aircraft Station
Lawrence J. Wackett (later Sir Lawrence) started his career in the Australian Flying Corps in the First World War and saw service in Egypt; when the R.A.A.F. was formed in 1921 Wackett decided to move into aircraft design and development and, after a short professional training period, persuaded the then Defence Minister, R. K. Bowden, to set up a R.A.A.F. Experimental Aircraft Station at Randwick, in order to develop aircraft suitable for Australian conditions.
The first design was the Widgeon 1, a flying boat, followed by a much larger amphibian, the Widgeon 11, powered by a 440 hp A.S. Jaguar engine. In 1927, the Widgeon 11 undertook a 9,000 mile flight around Australia.
Two other aircraft were developed at Randwick to the prototype stage: Warrigal I (a trainer) and Warrigal II a single seat fighter. As a result of a government-sponsored report, the Randwick Station was closed in 1931: Wackett resigned from the R.A.A.F. and transferred, with some personnel and equipment to Cockatoo Dockyard.