A Kipling-like character

Auctioned in London a few weeks ago were the gallantry and campaign medals of a long-forgotten Queenslander whose adventures read like something Rudyard Kipling might have penned. Remarkable not only for his military exploits, Major George Edward Clerk, D.S.O. had a more-than-passing connection with Queensland, aviation, Longreach and Q.A.N.T.A.S. Returning to his home State of […]

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Same as it ever was

For some years now I have been trying to locate the surviving Skippy (1960s Australian television series) helicopter VH-AHI with a view towards having it repatriated and preserved in Australia. After serving in PNG it later appeared on the U.S. civil register as N1164T. In 2012 it was permanently deleted from that register however in […]

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Unexpected

The demand for war memorial furniture here in Australia has been so great, for so long, that it’s now difficult to obtain the military-grade anchors, propellers and guns that were once the entitlement of every R.S.L. club. Next-best-things, such as diminutive Cessna propellers which began appearing on memorials some decades ago, have now become acceptable […]

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Going, going….gone.

Aviation heritage has never attracted broad investor interest, the inclusion of such items in high-end auction catalogues being more the exception, than the norm. Indeed, there is no such thing here as a established aeronautica market, as there is say for antiques or fine art. While it was not altogether unusual to see an item of […]

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High above the Dardanelles

Queenslander Alfred Warner served in the Dardanelles for more than two-and-a-half years, far longer than any of his compatriots, and yet you won’t find his name mentioned in any Australian military history. As Australia’s only airship pilot (and airship station commander), his war experience was singularly remarkable, much of it spent floating high above the […]

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‘Strathmore Star’

Founder of Bush Pilots Airways Ltd., Edward (Ted) Cunningham, named all the aircraft in his fleet, always with the suffix Star. Strathmore Star was named after the owner’s stud property, Strathmore, near Collinsville in north Queensland. Following is an extract from a letter which Cunningham wrote (dated 8 December 1989), recounting the circumstances of Strathmore […]

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Canefield pitstop for ‘Kurana’

ANA’s ‘Kurana’ made a forced landing at Holbrook (Victoria) on 14th February 1944. Eight months later it made another forced landing, this time into a north Queensland canefield. Although the incident was reported (inaccurately) at that time in the local press it’s the attending policeman’s report (QSA Series 16865 Item 2177771), written in that unmistakable […]

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Death of a Dragon

Twenty year old Air Force Sergeant Alan Andrew Pearson had only made the forty-five minute flight from Archerfield to Toowoomba once before, uneventfully, on 24 February 1943. It was early Autumn when he next flew that route, again accompanied by nineteen year old Air Mechanic Albert Munt in their unit’s (No.4 Communications Flight) newest aircraft […]

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Anson agonies

By 1938 King Islanders had grown accustomed to the sight and sound of scheduled weekly airline services arriving and departing Bowling Aerodrome near the southern township of Currie. This reassuring routine was interrupted in September that year by a succession of dramatic arrivals and departures involving RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) training aircraft.  The charred […]

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King Island’s war

In mid-1943 a RAAF Beaufort bomber inexplicably crashed on Bass Strait’s King Island killing all four crew members. Unreported then by the media – presumably because of wartime censorship – a cluster of white-marble CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) headstones in the Currie cemetery appear to be the Island’s only clues to this wartime tragedy. […]

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