They were there to see the arrival of the Australian Airforce Globemaster C17. But they were also there to catch a glimpse of the cargo - the brand new high-tech "designer" fire engines which have been purchased from Germany.
Three of the old fire engines came out to form a sort of "guard of honour." No doubt some of these will now be well and truly pensioned off, and I am told are even destined to become museum pieces!
As we started back to our cars, thinking the excitement was all over, the new engine did a celebratory lap of the airfield close to the fence, sirens blaring!
The Globemaster has a massive interior - but unfortunately just a bit too small to bring both engines on one trip. The plane returned that evening with the second one, and was able to Medivac an injured local boy back to the mainland.
Now do you know the question that is on everyone's lips?
What about Santa Claus?" You see, Santa has always arrived on Norfolk Island on the back of one of the big old red fire engines. Will he be allowed a place of honour on one of the flash new models? Will he even want to ride on something that is bright green and yellow, and not the familiar old Christmas red?