Unplanned

In early June 1944 the RAAF’s No.457 Squadron, one of three Spitfire units recalled from Britain for homeland defence, began exchanging its near-obsolete Mk.V aircraft with more effective Mk.VIIIs. As deliveries of the latter began arriving in the Northen Territory, squadron pilots would ferry equal numbers of the former south for overhaul and re-assignment – […]

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Ipswich Railway Workshops

As a consequence of the 1939 British Air Mission to Australia, the state railways in Victorian, New South Wales, and South Australian each became involved in the production of military aircraft and aero engines. Following a visit to Queensland in March 1939 by the Mission’s Technical Member L C Ord, serious consideration was also given […]

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Gundaroo’s Ventura

I just remember the biting cold thinking, all the while, that perhaps we shouldn’t have been traipsing – in winter – through bush-land in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, especially while it was sleeting. Thoughts of all that wasted organisational effort might have dissuaded me from postponing, along with the knowledge that any […]

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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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