Based in Melbourne, Essendon Airport began as an instrumental duo in 1978 with Robert Goodge on guitar and David Chesworth on Wurlitzer electric piano along with a home made drum machine bought from the Trading Post. Both members lived in or near the suburb of Essendon and took the name of Essendon Airport which since 1971 was no longer an international terminal (replaced by Melbourne Airport).
They later became a four piece adding drums - Paul Fletcher, and saxophone - Ian Cox, and finally a five piece with bass player Barbara Hogarth in 1982. The group disbanded in 1983. Each of these three line-ups produced quite different music. Essendon Airport performed around Melbourne's newly emerging post-punk inner-city venues such as The Crystal Ballroom, various galleries such as the George Paton and the Clifton Hill Community Music Centre (CHCMC), a venue for experimental music, performance and film during this time.
The duo released the EP Sonic Investigations of the Trivial and the single Talking To Cleopatra with Anne Cessna both on Innocent Records.
Their EP was described at the time by Essendon Airport as .... songs which combine many of the most facile and insipid kinds of music in a redeemingly dignified manner.... creating new trivia out of old. All this takes place along with a kind of pedantic fetishism for small-repetition games - the music travels in circles, spirals and solid blocks of sameness and difference. This manifestation of Essendon Airport is perhaps less well known than the later ones but played some memorable performances around Melbourne including the Clifton Hill Community Music Centre and supports in front of bemused punters waiting for Midnight Oil and Jimmy and the Boys.
Embellished with the arrhythmic drumming of Paul Fletcher and the often sweet, often brittle saxophone of Ian Cox. The four-piece performed a range of material from extreme minimalism to plundering the hidden resonances of the popular song. Examples can be heard on the album Palimpsest (Innocent Records). The group also made recordings for Fast Forward cassette magazine and a disc give-away for the Art Network magazine.
Adding bass player Barabara Hogarth (from the funky band 'Government Drums' featuring Willy Zygier and Richard Pleasance) the group developed material with an art/funk feel and performed many headliners at the Jump Club, Crystal Ballroom and toured to Sydney. Strangely the quintet did not release a recording. However there are tapes of Live-to-Air performances on 3RRR FM including their final performance at the Crystal Ballroom.
After the dissolution of Essendon Airport, Chesworth continued performing as a soloist and with a new group entitled Whaddya Want? He later formed the instrumental group the David Chesworth Ensemble. Goodge, Cox and Hogarth formed the nucleus of the successful pop-funk band I'm Talking which featured Kate Ceberano as lead vocalist.