Serial No. 1381, Bowen

The Australian Government had little expertise or interest in radar technology at the start of the Second World War. By 1942 however the continent’s coastline was dotted with scores of radar stations operated by locally-trained technicians using, in many instances, Australian-designed and built radar equipment. This is the story of one such unit – Bowen’s No.55 Radar Station (RAAF).

Built in anticipation of a possible Japanese aerial attack against Australian mainland targets, approval for development of the Bowen radar station (costing £9,700) was granted in early November 1942.1Encl. 27A, Air Force Headquarters – CAS [Chief of Air Staff] (Organisation) – Establishment – Radar Stations – General, NAA: Series A705, Control Symbol 231/9/1031, ID 3336324,  Land and buildings necessary for the development were then requisitioned via the National Security (General) Regulations). The site selected for the installation was an elevated sandstone plateau at Cape Edgecumbe, two miles north-east of the port. Continue reading “Serial No. 1381, Bowen”

‘Strathmore Star’

The Strathmore Star was one of several aircraft wrecked by a cyclone which devastated the Bowen (Queensland) region on 2 April 1958. The Auster was later rebuilt however, and is thought to still be flying as VH-SNK (Delamothe Collection, James Cook University).

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 Star’s demise… Continue reading “‘Strathmore Star’”