In March 1949, the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) received a contract to build two primary trainer prototypes to replace the Tiger Moth and Wirraway in RAAF service. Designed by J.C. Humphries and Ian Ring at CAC, the first machine designated the CA-22 flew in February 1951. The aircraft was intended to be powered by a CAC Cicada engine but production aircraft were fitted with a Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior engine. The design of the tail was altered to allow the aircraft to spin as the first design was too stable to allow spinning which was not desirable in a training machine.

The revised aircraft was put into production as the CA-25 Winjeel (an aboriginal word meaning 'young eagle') and deliveries began in 1955. A total of 62 Winjeels were built by CAC and they served mostly with No. 1 Basic Flying Training School (later No. 1 Flying Training School) at Uranquinty, NSW and then later at Point Cook, Victoria after the School moved location in 1958. The Winjeel was replaced as the RAAF's basic trainer by the CT4A Airtrainer in 1975 but some aircraft were used in the Forward Air Control role at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW until 1994. A number remain airworthy with private owners.

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