School Battle

Wearing the same single [light] color paint scheme as K9411, this Battle image is from the Zara Clark Museum in Charters Towers (via Graham Aspinall).

In North Queensland in the late-1970s it seemed that there were precious few people interested in aviation heritage, or at least that’s how it appeared to this [then] teenage university student. Those few did manage nonetheless to find each other and spend long hours together exchanging tidbits concerning the region’s rich aeronautical heritage. As the youngest of this unlikely gathering I had the most to learn, and the least to offer. And so I hung off every word they uttered, scribbling down both fact and rumour. Continue reading “School Battle”

Search for Auster VH-AFK

Last night’s ABC’s 7.30 program featured a story about the renewed search for Auster J5/F VH-AFK which crashed in the rugged Burragorang Valley ranges in October 1954. Although the pilot and sole occupant, Max Haselton, survived the crash he was assumed at the time to have perished. Five days after the crash however he re-emerged from the bush, tired, sore and hungry, but otherwise uninjured.

Max, now in his eighties, went on to found Haselton Airlines. His remarkable survival story has been a source of abiding interest for entrepenueur Dick Smith who is now leading a concerted effort to try and relocate the wreckage of Max’s Auster.

Take a look:


Wartime graffiti

Narrandera in southern New South Wales was home to the RAAF’s No,8 EFTS during the Second World War and, in common with many former military airfileds it still has a number of original air force structures on site. The most imposing of these is the airfield’s remaining Bellman hangar which still bears its original identification number (viz. ’68’).

Bellaman hangar, Narranderra, N.SWhat really caught my attention however was this original RAAF insignia stencilled on the inside of the hangar’s side door. In fact the entire door panel had been painted – in similar hues – in a manner suggesting that it could have been used then as a test panel for surface finishers.

The colours too are barely faded, as might be expected given the panel’s deeply recessed internal location.

Have we learned anything?

A92-22One of only two surviving Mk.1 Jindiviks, A92-22 does a slow rot out the back the Australian Naval Aviation Museum’s 6,000 square metre hangar complex at HMAS Albatross. The former Jervis Bay Range Facility gate guardian is second only to RAAF Endinburgh’s A92-9 as the the world’s oldest surviving Jindivik. Would this have been allowed, had a significance assessment been carried out?

Ironically, the Museum has a substantial covered storage facility barely a few hundred metres away.

A Holden…of sorts

All collecting institutions endure the frustration of never having sufficient space for the display and storage of their – always – expanding collections.

This is particularly true for large public institutions, like the Queensland Museum, occupying premium CBD real estate. It’s partly for this reason that the provenance of a donation offer is now being subject to ever more scrutiny.

The GMH inspector's stamp which substantiated the likely source of this Lincoln wreckage.
The GMH inspector’s stamp which substantiated the likely source of this Lincoln wreckage.

Continue reading “A Holden…of sorts”

Long and winding road

Built in 1944, former T.A.A. DC-3 VH-CAO has spent almost half its life on the ground, covering more miles by road – in the past thirty-five years – than it has by air.

It arrived this evening at the Caboolture Warplane & Flight Heritage Museum after a four day inland road trip via Charters Towers and Duaringa.  A deetrmined survivor, VH-CAO is now owned by David Kingshott of Complete Aircraft Care who plans an airworthy restoration for the C-47A.

After retirement from service in 1979 it was sold tothe  Chewing Gum Field Aircraft Museum at Tallebudgera, Queensland. After that folded it went to Drages Airworld at Wangaratta, Victoria, and went turtle in 2002 it was roaded to its most recent address – in Mareeba.

Things can only get better from here!

Nhill ‘s $355,000 grant

Anyone able to i.d. this airframe?The Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre in Western Victoria has recently received a $355,000 grant from the State Regional Growth Fund, to help develop an aviation  museum  complex incorporating surviving WWII – and pre-war- heritage structures located at the town’s aerodrome.  A central element of this new complex will be a Avro Anson which is undergoing restoration  following its recovery from a local property.