A nomination to place remnants of Canberra's first aerodrome, the site of the city's first plane crash, on the ACT's heritage register has been accepted for consideration.
Now the people behind the application want to see archaeological work done on the site in an effort to put together a complete picture of what remains.
The National Trust ACT's nomination calls for the use of ground-penetrating radar to find remnants of a 60-foot diameter concrete ring at the centre of the aerodrome's landing ground and the lockspits which marked two of its corners.
Plans for the aerodrome were included in Walter Burley Griffin's final blueprints for Canberra and it took up a third of the territory's first soldier-settler block.
Jane Goffman, whose research prompted the heritage nomination, said the Dickson site was critically important in the story of Canberra's development.
The aerodrome was crucial for the Federal Capital Commission's aerial photography surveys in the 1920s, which were used to inform some of the city's earliest works projects.
But the aerodrome is perhaps best known for being the site of Canberra's first plane crash.
"The crash that happened here in 1926 was a real tragedy," Ms Goffman said.
"There were two young air force members flying in from Richmond that were killed on that day as they arrived to carry out an aerial survey mission of the Murrumbidgee."
Ms Goffman said the two-person operation involved the pilot telling the observer when to start taking photographs, which were recorded on glass plates.
The pilot, Flying Officer Philip Mackenzie Pitt, a 26-year-old Queenslander, and the observer tasked with taking the photographs, Aircraftsman William Edward Callander, 25, were both killed in the crash on February 11, 1926.
"The crash happened in the north-west corner of the aerodrome. The plane had made its final turn to come in for the landing and it stalled. It was too close to the ground at that point to recover from the stall, so it nosedived and erupted into flames," Ms Goffman said.
Both Pitt and Callander were buried locally, and the crash was the subject of inquiries. The event is now only marked by an inaccurate plaque on the side of the Dickson Library, which sits about 150 metres from the site of the crash.
Photos of the wreckage of the plane, a First World War-era De Haviland DH9 bomber given to Australia by Britain, were taken within hours of the crash by William James Mildenhall, whose photographs document much of Canberra's early history.
The photographs had been incorrectly catalogued in the National Archives collection, Ms Goffman said, who led a significant research effort to uncover the story of the aerodrome.
The heritage nomination argues the site meets four of eight heritage criteria.
Ms Goffman said strong heritage engagement in a city enriched its residents' connection to the place and contributed to social well-being.
"I don't think Canberra has actually looked at that very much. There's been a tendency to sweep it away, to dismiss it as irrelevant. But actually, what was here ... is pretty amazing," she said.
Ms Goffman said it was important for Canberrans to engage deeply with their city's history, and more focus should be on the period before white settlers arrived.
"Let's keep winding back. We go back to the Aboriginal occupation of the territory. It's not just a fiction, it's a reality and bringing that alive for people ... shouldn't just be a set of words. We should actually be taking it seriously," she said.