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.
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.
Moving from Far North Queensland to Canberra in 1980 was something of a mixed blessing. Loved my job, but the weather was cripplingly cold. I soon became acquainted however with Bob Piper (RAAF Historical Section) who, bit-by-bit, opened my eyes to the fact that there was a wealth of aviation history to be found in the region (outdoors). You just needed to enjoy the cold and know where to look, and there was no one more studied in this subject than R. K. Piper.