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I have used "Poetic Licence" to include aviation material prior to my joining Adastra Aerial Surveys Pty. Ltd. and from then recording details of flights taken from my Flying Log Book including items of interest from when I started in April 1957 to when I finished in August 1963. Please note that all the information included is from back in the early '50s to mid '60s.

I was a Naval Airman Photographer in the RAN Fleet Air Arm signing on in January 1950 and being discharged in April 1956.


This picture shows a Hawker Sea Fury (powered by a 2,480hp Bristol Centaurus 18 cylinder radial air-cooled engine) about to pick up a wire with its tailhook, landing on HMAS Sydney when on operations in Korean waters. The pilot controls his landing by interpreting the "Batman's" signals (before "mirror" days). The Batman being satisfied has waved the Sea Fury "on" and is directing his attention to the first of the next four to come in. Note the photographer (one of my duties) in the bottom left hand corner taking cine of the landing; these were processed in negative form to be shown after "flying stations". The debriefing was in the crew room, and the cines were projected for aircrews with their CO's for flying evaluation.

Other naval aircraft crewed in for photo duties.

RAN C-47 Dakota, for personnel and parts transport duties, (N2-43) taken c1952 at NAS Nowra NSW (HMAS Albatross). It was powered by two 1200hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Wasp 14 cylinder air-cooled radial engines. This is the aircraft I flew to Griffith in to photograph two damaged Sea Furies which when taxiing out for take off were badly damaged; there was a huge cloud of dust created by many 2,480hp Bristol Centaurus engines churning it up on Griffith airstrip. Apparently a pilot in one Fury lost sight of his predecessor and chewed half way up his fuselage before mercifully stopping before going further to hit the cockpit.

RAN Wirraway, pilot training, A20-168 (972) taken c1953 at Nowra. It was powered by a CAC built 600hp Pratt & Whitney S1H1-G Wasp 9 cylinder air-cooled radial engine. I flew in this aircraft (Lt. Roberts RN pilot) in 1953 as a photographic exercise with the F24 aerial camera mounted in the rear cockpit.

Bristol Sycamore Helicopter (these were initially brought out with the HMAS Vengeance in March 1953); it was powered by a 520hp Alvis Leonides Mk72 seven-cylinder radial air-cooled engine. This unusual Truth (March 1955) photo of XA221 (908) was taken during the Maitland Floods on the 2/3/1955 and immediately after this attempted rescue it crashed with the crew escaping by dinghy. I flew in 908 mid 1953 on a photographic exercise in the Nowra area; actually, it was the only time I ever flew in a chopper. The inset caption if interested states: " Dramatic picture of the Maitland flood horror showing two men crashing to their death on the live power lines while being rescued by a Navy Helicopter on Friday. In the picture the men are falling on to the wires after losing their grip on the helicopter rope, which was drawing them up to safety from the raging floodwaters. The helicopter, which had already saved two men from the flood peril, later crashed into the roaring waters, but the crew escaped by dinghy. Other pictures of the state's disastrous floods on back page and inside".

With later Adastra interest, three RAAF aircraft, which landed at Nowra Naval Air Station during the 1951-1952 period, are pictured below.

RAAF Catalina A24-92, not sure if any ex RAAF Adastrians flew them then, they later did!


RAAF Mosquito of No 87 Squadron, a few ex members of this Squadron joined Adastra after leaving.

RAAF Lincoln. Ken Rowlands flew these just prior to joining WWAS then Adastra.


Another part of my naval career was an 18-month "draft" to a Survey Ship, HMAS Warrego.

At one stage I was involved with marine survey prior to aerial survey and that was on the HMAS Warrego, which, for naval vessel inclined people was a Grimsby Class Sloop of which 4 were built in Australia for WWII. The HMAS Parramatta and Yarra were sunk in action, leaving the Warrego and Swan to be made into razor blades after the "paying off ceremonies". I was attached as a photographer (for survey subject records) which did not go well for a start as when crew members saw my Naval Airman right arm "rate" with included an aircraft on top of a "P" (naturally photographers told some individuals this meant "Pilot"!) when I came on board, my welcome was obviously a "no go" as the new branch of Fleet Air Arm was not welcomed by a number of the older general service warriors; we were commonly known as "birdies". I had little photographic work to do so was put either on deck or bridge "watch keeping" duties underway, or seaman's duties otherwise, hence I was soon accepted as a regular "hand". I did three survey "seasons" on the Warrego; these seasons last about 3 to 4 months. My first season was Spencer's Gulf (S.A.) where I was initiated into survey duties and used this knowledge for the next seasons, Exmouth Gulf W.A. and Bass Strait.

Aerial survey used cameras mainly over a designated area normally with E-W runs, and at times with N-S tielines to make maps. On the water, depth sounders overlaid with sextant (and in shore to sea cases theodolite) "Fixes" with a final "bottom" sample on predetermined areas are recorded to make charts; these could be E-W or N-S, but could be any direction close in to the shoreline. When depths became too shallow for the Warrego, there were two survey launches on board fitted out for shallow sounding with a survey officer and three survey ratings on each; I actually used an aerial camera F24 5" format (designed and manufactured, I think, by Williamson who also made the Eagle IX) for doing line overlaps of coastlines which were previously hand drawn.

I found it an interesting life and learned some facets of marine survey, and a lot about living together over long periods in confined quarters.

Apart from adding a photo of the Warrego, I must add a coincidence plus an interesting personal snippet that occurred.

The first while doing some Adastra research for the site, Ken Pares (Lou's son) sent in amongst many, a photograph with a Lockheed Hudson crew based in Burnie Tasmania in February 1953. On the back of the photo it was noted that it was a Burnie Advocate Photo. I 'phoned the paper and asked a very helpful young lady for permission to use it on our site (only) she would check and asked if I would get back to her; she said on my second call that her Managing Editor agreed that our website can use it. I asked if there was any archived information concerning the photo as there were no dates names etc. recorded on the back, she said that she was very sure that they would have archived a copy and would post me a photocopy page showing the photo. To our great satisfaction the clear photocopied page 2 of the Advocate 14/2/53, turned up with all the details of what the Adastra aircraft and crew were up to. I glanced at another item on the page and coincidentally, it was a story of a shipping rock hazard found in Bass Strait. This was an item involvement in my past naval history; I remembered all about it as I was on board the HMAS Warrego in Bass Strait in 1953 when the item stated the "Warrego" was the ship that found it. It was a submerged rock, the top being only 8 feet below the surface at low tide and gave the area where discovered (in measured details) between Flinders Is., the Pyramid and Franklin Rock.

The other snippet concerns an urgent appendix operation performed on the Warrego by the ship's Doctor in rough seas in the middle of Bass Strait on 25/3/1953. I used the Sick Bay bathroom as my darkroom on board and knew the Doctor well, he came to me in the mess (living area) before "Lights Out, Pipe Down" (10pm) and said that he had an urgent appendix operation to perform, (the days when everyone had their appendix out!) and asked if I would assist in the operation as it was generally performed in a hospital with appropriate staff who were obviously unavailable on board the" Warrego". I agreed. We had to wait the patient's parents in WA to agree (by cable) because he was under 21, this finally came through, and with an Engine Room Artificer (ERA) as another extra, we started on the young lad on the office table in the Sick Bay as there was no operating table and the standard tiered bunks were useless. The Doctor of course was the craftsman, the regular Sick Berth Attendant (SBA) administered the anaesthetic, the ERA handed the Doctor instruments that the Doctor indicated and I held the chap's stomach open. Matters proceeded without much problem and any qualms that I may have felt about seeing bleeding (just about nil) or other unusual body anomalies were forgotten as the Doctor explained each stage of procedure as he went along. Our biggest problem was when the patient started hiccoughing and the anaesthetic had to be eased off until he finished this; his "innards" kept popping out of the incision which the Doctor attended to while I held his squirming legs tightly together. He come good and the anaesthetic was administered again and the operation completed. The operation took about 3 hours, the lad lived, and we were all justly praised by the Doctor. I felt that it was another little niche of novelty in life and proves that just about any person is capable of assisting with any task with a little instruction if required.

HMAS Warrego


I took this photo with an F24 Aerial Camera while the "Warrego" was anchored in Spencers Gulf (South Australia) for survey in late April 1951.This was when she was white on the superstructure and grey on the hull. The RAN (I assume) convinced Maritime International Law that even though she still had two 4" guns on the main deck after two 4" guns were taken off the upper deck, that it should be entitled to be painted all white to allow free berthing in all signatory countries, this happened in later 1951 or early 1952. (Remember Mum putting blue in the white washing? We used to mix a smidgeon of blue paint with white when we painting the ship!). Note the steel "Dan Buoys" which were anchored for holding the 40' flagpoles (position marking at sea) behind the Oerlikon gun on the for'd upper deck.

Two weeks after discharge from the RAN, I was employed by World Wide Aerial Surveys (Aust) Pty. Ltd. as an aerial survey camera operator from April 1956 to March 1957.

The office was situated at Wentworth Avenue, Mascot and the aircraft at Camden Aerodrome. While I was there, there were two DH Mosquitoes (N1596V and N1597V) looked after by Sepal (Morry Lawrence administration and Noel Notley engineering) and the Lockheed Hudson leased from Fairfax (VH-SMM) attended to by Gwynn Davies.

The DH Mosquitoes were purchased in anticipation of procuring the PNG/Dutch New Guinea border air survey contract that was urgent because of Indonesia taking over Dutch New Guinea (West Irian). Adastra were flying Lockheed Hudsons at 25,000' and held the current contract, but because the Mosquitoes could operate at 35,000' it would have been a huge photo coverage bonus to get the contract. The Department of Civil Aviation finally rejected use of the aircraft under Australian registration in PNG as it was either thought or found that the glue in the wooden ply constructed aircraft would deteriorate rapidly in the tropics. Only one of the Mosquitoes was temporarily given Australian registration and that was N1597V which became VH-WWS. VH-WWS was ex RAAF de Havilland PR Mk 41 Mosquito A52-313 powered by two Rolls-Royce Merlin 25 12 Cylinder 60° Vee liquid cooled engines.

Max Garroway starting Mosquito N1597V at Labuan in 1954.
Photo: Pam Garroway

Mosquito VH-WWS (Photo: Ed Coates)


I flew my first sortie with WWAS on 29/5/56 in Lockheed Hudson VH-SMM with Max Garroway (ex RAAF WWII and Mustangs in Korea) as Skip, Dudley Wright as Nav., and myself taking over from Don Brill (from US HQ) as camera op. This was a transit from Coffs Harbour to Brisbane in (Fairfax leased) Hudson VH-SMM, and on the 30/5 on to Rockhampton where we based for the Percy Isles contract with National Mapping.

We arrived back in Sydney with the project completed on 16/6/56 and flew all of July in VH-SMM doing Road Board contracts (93 runs @ 3,200 to 4,100') with the Fairchild T12 camera used on all contracts when I was with WWAS. There were 11 flights in July with Max Garroway Skip on 6 flights and Chris Braund on the other 5.

My first sortie in Mosquito N1597V was 5/8/56 on a NSW Road Board job with Max Garroway as Skip and Ken Rowlands as Nav. (actually Ken was a pilot waiting to check out on the type). We based at Tamworth from 10/8/56 to 30/10/56 doing Nat Map P4 contract in N1597V with Max Garroway as Skip, Ken still as nav. and myself cam-op. (Actually I was engaged to my sweet future wife [who was still in the Army] whilst based at Tamworth). During our stay in Tamworth I flew with Ken Rowlands (ex RAAF WWII and Malaya in Lincolns) compliments of Tamworth Aero Club on 23/9/56 in Tiger Moth VH-APZ for 20 minutes (I noted 1000 to 2000'!). After contract P4 was completed, Max Garroway flew N1597V on 30/10/56 transit Tamworth to Camden with myself in the right hand seat; this is about the time that he left for Adastra. On 23/11/56 we were back in SMM with Ken Rowlands as Skip and other navs. until 7/12/56.

We then rejoined Mossie (ex-N1597V) as VH-WWS. Again Ken Rowlands was Skip, and various navs. until 19/2/57 when Ken Rowlands left WWAS and I not much later. I flew 84.55 hours in the Mosquito and 71.45 hours in Hudson VH-SMM with WWAS. (Les Taylor and Bruce Gregory flew with WWAS and also joined Adastra later).

Three "stand-outs" with WWAS, the first is when we struck a westerly jet stream in the Lockheed Hudson VH-SMM on the Percy Isles Contract, our land speed was probably minus a couple of knots (actually flying backwards), consequently we had to cancel the days flying.

The second was when we were over the Tumut area @ 25,000'; the Mosquito's camera operator's position was dark with a slit of light from a hatch on the starboard side. Suddenly there was a roar, a spectacle of seeing much sky not far forward and much violent vibration of the aircraft. Ken Rowlands told me on the intercom that we had lost the pilot/observers escape hatch and not to panic as he will pull the speed back and get to Sydney slowly but without shakes.

The third was the most enjoyable flight that I have experienced. Ken Rowlands
(I had Taylor in my log but he failed to turn up) and myself (right hand seat) flew to the vicinity of Cooma to check details on some areas. After this, we headed towards the coast and Ken said that he would advise ATC that he was coming up the coast to Sydney VFR at 1500'. It turned out that we flew at dot feet above the waves for about 40 or 50 nautical miles, and in a Mossie, it was exhilarating.

To Adastra Aerial Surveys Pty Limited, office at 41 Vickers Avenue, Mascot and Hangar next to Qantas and later to a new Hangar (13) completed on the NW section of Kingsford Smith Airport.

April 1957.

I crewed in 8 flights in April with a total of 23 hours 25 minutes all in Avro Anson VH-AGA. My first flight after I joined Adastra Aerial Surveys was in Anson VH-AGA with Allen Motteram (ex RAAF) as Pilot, Edge Adams as Navigator/ Engineer and myself as Camera-op; and this was the same for the month. It was April 6th 1957 and because I was new to the position I was unaware of contract or client detail or any specifications but I will note the details for the following days to complete April. We were Melbourne based except for the nights of 7/4 and 8/4 when we were in Wynyard Tasmania. Transit from Essendon on 7/4 and back from Wynyard to Essendon 9/4. We used the Eagle IX camera for the month with a 6" lens. I noted on the 6/4 that we had completed Dookie and Wilby for Vic. Lands Dept. We had three attempts for survey Mt. Misery (Vic.) aborted by cloud and one attempt Yan Yean (Vic.) aborted by "packed up radio". We flew S.W. coast Tas. Lines 16, 17, & 18 @ 14,000' on April 9th. Members of our crew were accommodated in the Hotel Lonsdale, which was situated on the southern side of Lonsdale Street (corner Niagara Lane) between Elizabeth and Queen Streets. Mine Host was Chechi (pronounced "Keki") whose husband had been in the Vienna Boys Choir and was stranded here with the choir in 1939 at the outbreak of WWII, Chechi later remarried. Other relatives who also looked after the place were Fred Meyerhoffer and Fritz Hauer. Ours and other crews stayed there before and many months after until it was eventually pulled down to locate an office building; we were always well looked after. Neither names nor pack drill, if the Hotel Lonsdale inner walls could divulge stories, there would be many to relate. We couldn't afford the A La Carte menus for Lunch and dinner, but had good breakfasts (in the accommodation fare); photo of menu follows.

May 1957.

I crewed in 13 flights in May with a total of 31 hours 10 minutes in 3 aircraft, Anson AGA & Hudsons AGG & AGX.

This was the month I commenced training as a navigator; again I was still unaware of the specifics of the project in regard to client or contract details, and I think at the time they were handled by Peter Payens (ex Adastra Navigator who had a Photo Studio at Ringwood, a suburb of Melbourne); Peter was acting in an agent capacity and would pass the information on to the crew manager (generally the pilot). The first 9 flights were in the Anson VH-AGA totalling 18 hours 40 minutes; the next 3 flights were in Hudson VH-AGX totalling 9.55 hours, and the last flight on May 31st was in Hudson VH-AGG for 2.35 hours.

Allen Motteram was the pilot throughout May except for the last flight on the 31st when Max Garroway replaced him. There were 3 Navigators, Edge Adams, Peter Payens and myself (in training), 2 Camera-ops, Len Howle and myself and Edge Adams as Engineer. Payens served as navigator because of Edge Adams soon to leave and myself still training.

We were based in Melbourne until May 9th. We left AGA in Melbourne and Allen Motteram plus myself flew civil to Sydney to pick up Hudson VH-AGX which Allen and myself flew transit Sydney-Melbourne on 20/5.

I then flew civil to Sydney 28/5 and joined a new crew to fly to Queensland on 31/5 in Hudson VH-AGG.

It appears that the Eagle IX was used throughout all flights in May although I noted that I had marked "(wrong camera)" in a flight on May 28th in AGX for 1 run Yan Yean!

First flight in May in AGA was a test flight "(Rudder)" for 30 minutes. The 6/5 flight I navigated 1 run Yan Yean @13,000' Vic. Lands Dept. "(Camera U/S)" 3rd & 4th. flights were Vic. Lands at Colac & refly Yan Yean. The 1st 7/5 flight was 1short run (3A) Vic. Lands at Colac 12,500', the 2nd 7/5 was a refly Yan Yean (R4). May 8th. was transit Essendon – Wynyard Tas, 2nd 8/5 involved an attempt survey SW Tas. and landed Wynyard ; 3rd. 8/5 transit Wynyard - Essendon via King Island. Last 2 flights in AGA were on 9/5, Payens was navigating and myself as camera- op. We did 7 runs on Mt.Misery @11,500' (Vic. Lands) and landed at Bairnsdale to refuel, we flew back to Essendon the same date and I noted "(Last Light!!)" which meant that we were not popular with DCA!

The 3 flights in AGX were transit from Sydney to Essendon 20/5, Mt.Misery attempt (cloudy) on May 25th, and on May 28th. we flew 11runs at Mt.Misery @ 12,500' (Adams as Nav, Howle as Camera-op and Pavlich supernumerary) for Vic. Lands.

On May 31st. flew transit Sydney–Roma in AGG, with Max Garroway as Pilot, Mike Wood as Navigator (ex RAAF WWII), Vince Mee as Engineer and myself as cam-op.

June 1957.

I crewed in 13 flights this month with a total of 25 hours 40 minutes all in Hudson VH-AGG. Based mainly Roma Qld but an overnight Brisbane, and a week in Coffs Harbour. Pilot: Max Garroway, Navigator: Mike Wood, Camera-op: myself, and Engineer: Vince Mee. Client: Queensland Lands Department; all survey flights @ 12,500' with Eagle IX camera with 6" lens.

I am unsure of the number of runs involved on the project (navigators information) but we flew 10 survey days covering Bonus Downs, Salinas, Lussvale and Tomoo, and I noted that we attempted to cover Tingha area (Cloudy) on 19/6; doubt if that was Qld. Lands.

Four of the flights were transit, viz. Roma–Brisbane June 11th. Brisbane-Roma June 12th. (Noted this day I learned that I had fouled 2 lines due to paper below lens!). Transit Roma–Coffs Harbour (after finishing some work around Roma) June 15th. Last transit Coffs Harbour-Sydney June 23rd.

July 1957.

I crewed in 10 flights in May with a total of 18 hours 10 minutes in Avro Anson VH-AGA. Based mainly Melbourne but a week at Mt. Gambier, S.A.

I commenced navigating officially on July 19th although I would be called on at times to camera operate because of crew allocation on some future flights. 7 of the 10 flights included training as well as survey and the latter were for Vic. Lands Dept., Melbourne Metropolitan Base Map, and South Australian Forestry and 3 flights were transit.

Complicated crewing this month with Allen Motteram and Bruce Sellick as Pilots, Edge Adams and myself as Navigators, Len Howle and myself as Camera-ops, plus Edge Adams and Des Hardy as Engineers.

The first 3 flights were piloted by Allen Motteram, and navigated by Edge Adams and myself for navigator training, the 4th. flight was skippered by a new pilot, Bruce Sellick (ex RAAF WWII then RAN Fleet Air Arm Korea) and navigated again by Edge Adams and myself this time for both pilot survey training (Bruce) as well as navigator training (myself).

The 5th. flight, skippered by Bruce Sellick (as were the balance of July flights), introduced me (and the official camera-op Len Howle), to the RC7 4" glass plate camera; this camera was used for the Melbourne Metro. Base Map contract and owned by Vic. Lands Dept.

The 6th flight was transit Essendon-Mt.Gambier and we had our new engineer Des Hardy with us.

The 7th. flight was attempted survey in the Gambier area @ 16,000' with Eagle IX 12" lens, Adams as nav. and self as camera-op. The 8th. flight was transit back to Essendon, the 9th. flight was transit Essendon-Sydney with Bruce Sellick as pilot plus Allen Motteram and myself accompanying. The last flight (July 29th.) was attempt survey Sydney area with myself as nav. and Allen Motteram as camera-op!

Picture shows Kevin Pavlich testing the Wild RC7 (glass negatives) Aerial Camera in Anson VH-AGA at Essendon Airport mid 1957. Photo: Len Howle


August 1957.

I crewed in 13 flights in August with a total of 22 hours 25 minutes all in Avro Anson VH-AGA based in Melbourne with Pilot: Bruce Sellick, Navigator: myself, Camera-op: Len Howle and Engineer: Des Hardy.

I noted when operating as navigator rather than cam-op in the Avro Anson, instead of ensuring that the camera was fitted, mounted and operating as the cam-op did pre flight, the navigator had a different workload in that most times he assisted the engineer to crank the Anson (Cheetah) starboard engine to start, when the engineer tired of this particular concentrated effort which was tough work, he relied on the nav to take over; this was before a bright engineer found a much easier way without the crank. When the motors were finally started, the navigator's position was sitting in the right hand seat (except when operating down in the nose), and was responsible to wind the wheels up on direction from the pilot of "Gear Up" on take off. This was again a "breath taking" exercise with (my count) 142 winds to complete; at around 120 winds, particularly after a "happy" previous night, the operator was close to exhaustion, but with specifically phrased cheered assitance from the crew, the nav. could wheezily report "Gear Up". Pumping the flaps and "Gear Down" were pleasant jobs compared with the former.

Picture shows engineer Jim Hilferty ducking off with the crank handle after a crank start on Anson VH-AGA.
Photo: Len Howle


All survey was with the RC7 (4") camera; 2 survey flights Upper Yarra Dam @ 6,800' for Vic. Lands, and 13 runs @ 4,000' on 6 flights for Melbourne Metropolitan Base Map. We had 3 training days for Howle and myself. On August 29th there were 3 flights, 1 survey and the other 2 transit Essendon-Laverton and back to Essendon later (cannot remember why!).

September 1957.

I crewed in 10 flights in September with a total of 10 hours.25 minutes all in Anson VH-AGA. Based in Melbourne with Pilot: Bruce Sellick, Navigator: myself, Camera-op: Len Howle and Engineer: Des Hardy. We flew 22 runs with 6 flights on Melbourne Metropolitan Base Map where only the RC7 plate camera was used; on 1 flight we did a sample run on Wandang Railway project @ 3,400' (Eagle IX) and was later told "Too high"! We flew an attempt on 1st day and found "Instruments U/S" so next day flew a Stall test to check ASI and Altimeter (Des Hardy on board). Last day flight (Sept.27th.) did training with Peter Payens and noted "very gusty". Between flights on the 4th. and 10th. of this month, I flew to Sydney where I was married on the 6th. with Len Howle as Bestman and a few other Adastrian crewmen in Sydney to check I did the right thing! The new Mrs. Pavlich and I flew civil back to Melbourne on the 9th. ready for work on the 10th.

October 1957.

I crewed in 9 flights in October with a total of 19 hours 15 minutes all in Anson VH-AGA. Based Melbourne with Pilot: Bruce Sellick, Navigator: myself, Camera-op. Len Howle and Engineer: Des Hardy. Eight of the 9 flights on survey, 4 of these with 20 runs flown on Melbourne Metropolitan Base Map @ 4,000' RC7 camera. On Oct.18th. we flew Mooroduc 2,500' and Officer 10,000' six runs for Vic. Lands with the RC5, another day we attempted Cobden (cloudy) but did 2 single shots of Essendon 'drome @ 17,000' and 6,000' unsure of camera, but possibly Eagle IX. On Oct. 20th.we flew 2 runs in the Colac area @ 12,500' with RC5 camera for Vic. Lands. On Oct. 31st. we flew a 40 mile run from Moe for the Latrobe Valley Transmission Line @ 14,000' and 1 run Cobden @12,500 for Vic. Lands (Both RC5).

November 1957.

I crewed in 14 flights in November with a total of 31 hours 30 minutes all in Anson VH-AGA. In November we based in Melbourne, Launceston Tas., and Kerang Vic. Pilot: Bruce Sellick, Navigator: myself, Camera-op: Len Howle and Engineer Des Hardy. On Nov.1st. we did Longlea Ammunition Project at Bendigo, 1 run @ 6,000' and 2 runs @12,500' with the RC5 camera. On Nov.5th. we flew transit Essendon to Launceston. On Nov.8th.we attempted survey Tas. area but (Cloudy), next day I noted "Test A/c" not sure why this action. Next day transit Launceston – Essendon. On Nov.14 & 16th. we flew gaps on Melbourne Metropolitan Areas @ 4,000' RC7. Flights on Nov. 23, 27 & 29 were all survey on Barmah, and Gunbower Forests for Vic.Forestry @ 6,3000' with RC5 camera. On Nov. 29th. we also flew transit from Kerang to Essendon. On Nov. 30th we attempted survey on Barmah Forest but had starboard engine failure and landed at Kerang.

A quick story I remember about this pleasant little town on the Murray, is that when we landed the first time, the groundsman asked had we ever seen a snake pit, with a unanimous No answer, he directed us to follow him. He took us to the airstrip water main installation which measured roughly 6 x 8 feet with a wooden platform on top; he lifted this with our assistance and about 5 feet below in the base of the brick construction, we saw it was teeming live with every snake breed which chose this part of the world to live and was also unfortunate to fall in!

December 1957.

I crewed in 8 flights in December with a total of 19 hours 20 minutes all in Anson VH-AGA. In December we based mainly in Melbourne but 4 days in Kerang with Pilot: Bruce Sellick, Nav: myself, Camera Op: Len Howle and Engineer: Bill Mitchell. We flew 3 days survey on Barmah and Gunbower (Vic. Forrestry) @ 6,000' with the RC5 camera. On Nov.17 and 18th. we flew 7 runs on Ararat, Willaura and Pretty Sally @ 5,000 & 7,000' plus 8 runs at Wilson's Promontory @ 12,500' all RC5 the latter 2 days for Vic. Lands. The starboard engine failure (end of Nov.) repaired early in December.

January 1958.

I crewed in 14 flights in January with a total of 32 hours 40 minutes all in Anson VH- AGA. With the crew of Bruce Sellick as Skip, myself as Nav. Len Howle as camera-op and Des Hardy as engineer, we were based mainly in Melbourne, but spent some days based at Mt.Gambier and from 26/1/58 were based in Wynyard Tasmania. We did a RC5 camera test on the first flight @ 5000' in the Kyneton area and next day flew transit from Melbourne to Mt.Gambier (with Mrs. Pavlich as supernumerary!). Next two flights covered 4 runs @ 16000' and 6 runs @ 8000' for S.A. Forrestry. The next flight was transit Mt.Gambier to Melbourne BCTA (as most were in the Aggy). Next 2 flights included 9 runs at Ballarat RC5 at 8000' and 11 runs Moe and Morwell @ 4000' with the RC7. The next flight was another transit back to Mt.Gambier BCTA with the following day doing another 20 odd runs in the Mt.Gambier area @ 8000' and 16000'. I recorded the next flight as transit MG-ML BCTA but I feel it should have been Mt.Gambier (rather than Mangalore) to Melbourne. The next 2 flights included "Wandang Railway Project" @ 2400' and another 3 runs at Mt.Gambier @ 8000'. On the 26th. we flew transit Melbourne to Wynyard and the on the 28th flew survey Sophia Storage area @ 6300'.

February 1958.

I crewed in 7 flights in February with a total of 16 hours all in Anson VH-AGA with the same crew as January, based at Wynyard and Hobart Tas. The 1st 4 flights from Wynyard base included Tas. Hydro Electric Commission survey all with the RC5 at Howell's Plains @ 7200', King River Gorge @ 7400', Pitman River @ 7100', Sophia Storage @ 6300', Crumby Creek @ 3100' and Lakes River @ 9000'. The 5th. flight was transit Wynyard-Hobart and the next flight we did one run each on Waterhouse and Hobart @12000' and 12500', on that flight we had a starboard engine failure and landed in Launceston. I cannot remember the maintenance details but apparently it was successfully completed as our last flights were runs 1, 2, 3 & 4 on Hobart with my noted (Very Turbulent) – it was, I remember it well.

March 1958.

I crewed in 11 flights in March with a total of 26 hours 10 minutes all flights except one in Anson VH-AGA with still the same crew as January and February. The first flight covered runs 2 & 5 over Hobart and Huonville @ 12500' (I noted 30° drift, may have exaggerated a little but knowing the turbulence around the area, I remember the exceptional drifts that we encountered). The 2nd flight was my first in the Catalina VH-AGB with Bob Love as the Skip on Geophysical Survey; I experienced close to Luna Park Big Dipper thrills as the 'Cat' flew down and up the mountainsides E-W over Tassy at 500' above terrain (mineral survey) with the 'bird' in tow. I was to spend many hours in the 'Cat' a couple of years later, but did not experience those attitudes again. The next flight on the 11th. was transit HB-LT and I noted "awaiting weather". Two more flights the same day, 1st one run over Waterhouse @ 12000' and the 2nd. transit Launceston to Hobart. Two flights on the 12th 1st HB-WY and the 2nd WY to ML. The next two flights included 4 runs Mt. William (Grampians) @ 12500'; my first with the OSC 6" camera and Melbourne Outer Suburbs "A4" and "B4" runs still with the OSC 6" @ 6000'. The last two flights were on the 20th and included transits ML-WG and WG-SY.

April 1958.

I crewed in 4 flights this month with a total of only 3 hours 15 minutes in our newly acquired Avro Anson VH-BLF sorting out the aircraft for survey and getting a new engineer in Bill Mitchell. Bruce Sellick was still Skip, I nav. and Len Howle cam-op. The aircraft didn't have any improvement in the navigator's position but we won with the power undercart in BLF (saved winding the 142 turns particularly when feeling delicate on morning take off); Sydney was base in April. The first flight was noted as an "A/c Test. Mixture not the best" with Bill Mitchell checking. The next 3 flights included a Camera Test over Cronulla with the OSC 6" (as were the 2 other), one run over Broken Bay 2000' (Estate Job) and one run from Watsons Bay to Chowder Bay @ 3000'.

May 1958.

I crewed in 6 flights this month with a total of 10 hours 25 minutes, still in Anson VH-BLF and same crew as last month (April). Because the radio packed up before Melbourne, the 1st flight (3/5) was SY-Mangalore, then

4/5 MNG-ML.
15/5 test flight ML area.
17/5 attempt on No2 Project Melbourne.
30/5 attempt Coliban Reservoir and
31/5 7 runs on No2 Project @ 6,000'. OSC.

June 1958.

I crewed in 13 flights this month with a total of 35 hours 50 minutes again in Aggy BLF and same crew as last two months. We were based in Melbourne until 15/6 and from there Sydney.

1/6 4 runs Coliban Rv. Reservoir @ 5,560'.
2/6 14 runs Melbourne No2 Project.
3/6 5 runs Coliban Reservoir.
3/6 (Keen!) 1 run Werribee @ 4000' and 1 run @ 1200' SEC Coal storage both with RC7.
6/6 Camera Test over Melbourne 1-6000'.
9/6 4 reflights over Coliban Reservoir the attempt on Grampians.
10/6 4 runs Grampians 15,500' OSC 6" , I noted (freezing!)
11/6 6 runs Melb No2.
15/6 Transit ML-WG,
16/6 Transit WG-SY.
24/6 16 runs Road Board, Abercrombie Shire and Grenfell @ 4000'.
25/6 (All NSW Road Board with EX II) 4 runs West Wyalong to Coolgowie 6000' and 4runs Abercrombie Shire to Grenfell 4000'.

Stopped overnight in West Wyalong. Last flight again was 8 runs W.Wyalong to Coolgowie and 4 runs Abercrombie Shire to Grenfell landed Sydney. I noted the overnight at West Wyalong in the log, and the fact is that I shared this problem with other crew many times in my Adastra career. It was a problem because it generally wasn't planned and the consequent lack of family communication, a clothes change, toilet gear and of course funds, could cause a worry. Thank goodness, in the case of money, because of our peers, it always seem to work out that a quick loan was always available from the lucky (unlucky!) person who had a little extra. Following picture shows Royal Hotel West Wyalong receipt near bottom left corner.

July 1958.

I crewed in 15 flights this month with a total of 31 hours 20 minutes All flights in Aggy BLF with same pilot except last flight who was Max Garroway. Bill Mitchell was still engineer but we used Peter Hooker as cam-op on the 2 16/7 and 21/7 flights.

2/7 Abercrombie Shire to Grenfell (number of runs?)
3/7 (another Road Board) Cessnock to Munmorah @ 3500' 7 runs.
8/7 Cess. to Mun. 5 runs.
9/7 (another Road Board) Dapto to Ulladulla 16runs 3200'.
10/7 Another 7 runs Dapto-Ulladulla.
12/7 attempt camera test L.Macquarie 12000'.?
16/7 attempt Dapto-Ulladulla, very turbulent.
16/7 (Keen!) 2 runs over suburbs – test.
17/7 attempt Dapto-Ulladulla , 1PP of Drome 10,000'.
18/7 attempt Dapto-Ull – Turbulent and the same on 20/7.
21/7 Dapto-Ull 4 runs,
23/7 Dap-Ull 2runs,
25/7 Dap-Ull 2 runs,
31/7 attempt Dap-Ull, Turbulent.

I must confess that aerial surveying on road jobs was very taxing. This was because of the extra corrections that had to be applied to cover the roads effectively; the whole crew had to be (more than usual) on the ball at all times. Normally it needed concentration because of short lines (you would lose lateral coverage with large bends in the road) and because of this, the map showed flight lines (which at times were quite short) shown in random compass headings to start each line, (no NS or EW reciprocals). With the EIX and OSC cameras, the navigator had to pass on the drift and time interval to the camera-op, and being generally lower altitudes, the drift and time interval needed constant watching; apart from this, I guess it is what the job specification is all about, and that is to put the pilot on line and guide him to keep straddling it. So saying, imagine all this, and then combine it with turbulence!

August 1958.

I crewed in 12 flights during August with a total of 29 hours 55 minutes all in Aggy VH-BLF. Garroway was the pilot for the first 3 flights with Sellick for the rest of the month. I was still nav as Howle was cam-op and Mitchell engineer.

2/8 Dapto-Ulladulla 4runs.
9/8 attempt camera test (E IX) over Lake Macquarie,
13/8 OSC Camera Test @12,000' and 2 runs over Sydney Harbour @ 9000'.
18/8 Attempt Kerrabee area,
20/8 Transit SY-WG,
21/8 Transit WG-ML,
22/8 Transit ML-MNG (base)
22/8 (Keen!) Survey Shepparton Flood area,
23/8 Survey again and completed a total of 35 runs in 4 areas with E IX.
23/8 Transit MNG-SY. (Base),
27/8 Attempt Kerrabee,
29/8 Survey Roseville 3 runs @ 3000' and Kerrabee 3 runs @ 15,500' both CSIRO with E IX.

The first result of Alice's and my union was the birth of our son Patrick on the 24th August, fortunately I was in Sydney for the birth and minor celebrations. Patrick joined the RAN at 15 as an apprentice fitter, and his ten years were mainly on the HMAS Melbourne looking after McDonnell Douglas A4G Skyhawks, he got out when the Fleet Air Arm finished in 1984 and after a period roaming around the country, finished up at Nowra where he has worked for many years out at the Naval Base, a short time with British Aerospace, but then (and still) at Tenix looking after Seahawk Choppers.

September 1958.

Only 4 flights this month with a total of 6 hours 40 minutes.

3/9 Sellick and myself delivery of Dragon VH-AGC (selling I believe) from Sydney to Camden.
5/9 Aggy BLF Main Roads Broughton Pass to Bulli Pass (Sellick flying) .I noted the entry (Bump) and marked a cross. This could have been the day on our way back and I know we were over Georges Rv. near Tom Ugly's Bridge when we apparently dropped out of the sky and just before we were flying level again it commenced with a thump almost as if we had hit something solid; I feel we were lucky that the old girl didn't fall apart then, it checked out OK after we landed.
18/9 Survey 3 runs Hunter River 4500' E IX and flown by Bob Love, Bruce Sellick may have been cam-op.
30/9 Hudson VH-AGX, with Mike Wood and self with test on Gyro Compass.

October 1958.

I crewed in 14 flights this month with a total of 49 hours 20 minutes. We flew in Aggy BLF for the whole month. We still had Sellick, Pavlich, Mitchell and Howle.

7/10 Transit SY-CH,
7/10 Transit Coffs Harbour –Oakey (Q). The OSC camera was used on all survey this month.
12/10 10 runs Jingi Jingi and Jandowae @13,100'.
13/10 10 runs Dalby and Evergreen 13,000',
15/10 one run Dalby.
16/10 Attempt.
18/10 10 runs Jandowae, Dalby & Evergreen.
19/10 runs? Bowenville Dalby & Evergreen (13,100'),
20/10 Bowenville and Tie runs.
21/10 Coolangatta 2 runs @ 4500' and Ipswich.
22/10 2 runs and 2 Ties Ipswich 12,500'.
23/10 Transit OAK-CH,
23/10 Transit CH-SYD (Base).
26/10 5 runs West Maitland 4250'.

November 1958.

I crewed in 10 flights this month with a total of 15 hours 40 minutes. We flew in VH- BLF on the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th of the month only surveying in other Aggy VH-AGA on the other 6 flights, we had a new cam-op this month, Dean Darcey taking Len's place.

2/11 Syd. area 4 runs 4500' RC5.
7/11 Bunnerong Coal Storage 900' (See Navigating in the Avro Anson) E IX 1/300 @ f8.
9/11 Sydney Area 4runs RC5,
9/11 2 single shots 12,000' and 5000' Botany,
11/11 Bunerong Coal Storage 1 run 900'.
15/11 West Maitland 6 runs 4250' OSC.
20/11 2 single shots 12,000' and 5000' Bexley Golf Course.
21/11 E IX Magazine tests.
23/11 Bunnerong Coal Storage 1 shot 12,000' and colour test Narrabeen 5000' (Ektachrome). 25/11 Transit SY-ML.

December 1958.

I crewed in 11 flights this month with a total of 32 hours; Aggy AGA was the aircraft of the month and the crew was the same as November.

3/12 Transit ML- Kerang (Base).
4/12 runs 1-12 Turrumbarry Irrig. Proj. RC5 6190' ASL.
6/12 Same area runs 13-26,
7/12 same area runs 27-36 and
8/12 same area runs 37- 52.
13/12 Transit Kerang-ML (Base).
14/12 (Tide Project) Port Philip Bay 7 runs E IX 10'' 1/330 @ f8 10 chains 6600' ASL.
19/12 reflights Kerang but too cloudy.
20/12 4 reflights Kerang.
23/12 Transit ML-CB (weather stopped us getting to Sydney).
24/12 Transit CB-SY, I noted (Shoalhaven Valley!) this was because we were getting socked in around Goulburn and decided to follow the valley until either clear or hit the coast and keep Aussie on the left; we did the latter and arrived home for Christmas!

January 1959.

I crewed in 10 flights this month with a total of 25 hours 55 minutes all in Aggy AGA with the same crew as last month.

3/1 we flew transit SY-ML (via the coast!).
9/1 Survey Dergholm-Casterdon 9 runs @ 8500' RC7, landed and based Mt. Gambier.
10/1 another 9 runs Derg/Cast and a 2nd flight on 10/1 yielded another 7 runs in the area.
13/1 Survey Lake Bonney 3 runs 7920' E IX for S.A. Lands/Drainage.
15/1 5 runs Bordertown E IX 7920' Vic. Lands.
17/1 attempted survey but finished up spotting for a large area Pine Forest Forest fire near Mt. Gambier airport, (see again under Navigating in the Avro Anson – Extra Curricular Activities).
18/1 Survey 4 reflights Derg/Cast.
22/1 Survey Cranbourne and 1 shot of Melbourne, landed Melbourne.
23/1 Transit ML-SY.

February 1959.

I crewed in 9 flights this month with a total of 15 hours 10 minutes all in Aggy AGA and same crew.

10/2 Transit SY-ML.
17/2 attempt survey Warragul.
22/2 Survey Drouin 4 runs @ 3450' and 3 runs Warragul 3 runs @ 6250' both Vic. Lands RC 5 1/150 @ f8.
23/2 Transit ML-Corowa. (Base).
23/2 Attempt Mt. Misery today 24/2 and 26/2, finally flown later by VH-AGS.
27/2 Transit Corowa-ML to pick up details on Broken Creek job.
27/2 Transit ML-Corowa.

Aerial survey photograph of Corowa taken with the Wild RC5 camera in February 1959.


Our crew members were amazed how this small NSW/Vic. border town could be so affluent with their sporting facilities; we used the pool and tennis facilities often. This photo was taken from the air with the Wild RC5 camera in February 1959, it was over the centre and shows tennis courts, football ground, greyhound racetrack and Olympic pool. On the bottom of the photo is the Murray River.

March 1959.

I crewed in 16 flights this month with a total of 23 hours, all in Aggy AGA; same crew. We had 3 flights on the 14/3, 3 flights on the 23/3, 2 flights on the 26/3 and 2 flights on the 29/3; (no bonus!).

6/3 attempt survey Broken Ck. Project,
10/3 survey Broken Creek 14 runs RC5 Vic. Lands 3350' ASL.
11/3 10 runs Broken Creek,
14/3 transit Corowa-ML.
14/3 transit? Moorabbin-ML and Myer Music Bowl OSC 3000'.
14/3 transit ML-LN (Base).
18/3 attempt survey Lakes Rv.
21/3 attempt Lakes Rv. U/S RC7.
21/3 survey Hobart (Harbour) 2 runs, landed Hobart.
21/3 transit HB-LN.
22/3 attempt Lakes Rv. U/S RC7.
25/3 survey Lakes Rv. 6 runs (RC7 3000' Taps. Hydro Comm.)
26/3 transit LN-King Is.
26/3 transit King Is.-Ml.
29/3 attempt survey Music Bowl (engine trouble)
29/3 survey Music Bowl and Film Test.

April 1959.

I crewed in only 3 Adastra flights this month with a total of 5 hours 15 minutes. The 21/4 flight was survey in Hudson VH-AGS with Jack Howard skip (ex RAAF WWII as WAG! Not pilot), Hal McKinley and Joe Tidey (ex RAN Observer), not sure who was nav. & myself cam-op. I flew to New Guinea via Qantas Connie to Pt. Moresby and over the ranges to Lae via Qantas DC-3 on Anzac Day. I joined the crew of Hudson VH-AGX based in Lae, New Guinea with Jack Howard skip, Hal McKinley nav. Alan (Pappy) Cattanach engineer & myself as cam-op. Not sure why I flew up civil.

28/4 Circuit Lae area.
30/4 Survey Tauri & Bulldog 6 runs 20,500' E IX.

Taken from VH-AGX while we were based in Lae April 1959, it shows the airport with the partly submerged (WWII damaged) Japanese vessel "Tenyo Maru" close to the strip threshold.

I took this near the threshold of the Lae airport runway to show the proximity of the (partly) sunken Japanese "Tenyo Maru". This wreck was less than 100 yards to where Allen Motteram and crew (Pat Murphy and Gordon Murrell) crashed and perished in Adastra's Hudson VH-AGG on June 8. 1958. This wreck was moved (not sure which) naturally or forced down in later years. The wreck was also mentioned by Wal Bowles in "Jack McDonald's Last Fright in a Hudson"

May 1959.

(At Lae DCA Mess) I crewed in 19 Adastra and 1 MAL flights this month totaling 39 hours and 30 minutes all in Hudson VH-AGX with same crew (Howard, McKinley, Cattanach, and myself).

1/5 survey 4 runs Mt.Champion and Mt. Albert Edward @ 25,000'.
2/5 Ono Rv. and Buari 8 runs @ 25,000'.
3/5 Kaimunti & Meetoora 2 runs @ 25,000'.
5/5 Lakikamu 3 runs @ 25,000'.
6/5 Attempt
7/5 Attempt
9/5 Attempt
10/5 Mt.Albert Edward 1 run.
11/5 Attempt.
13/5 Transit Lae-Madang (Base at Flo Gilmores pub Hotel Madang)
14/5 attempt.
15/5 attempt survey landed Lae.
17/5 attempt.
20/5 Survey Mt. Champion, Ono Rv., Mt. Cameron and Wau all @ 25,000'.
20/5 transit Lae-Madang (back to Flo).
21/5 survey Magin @ 25,000'.
24/5 Sugarloaf Genjigi @ 25,000'.
25/5 Metuka, Addu and Magin @ 25,000'.
26/5 attempt.
30/5 MAL DC-3 VH-MAB Deegan Captain, Mullins 2nd pilot and myself Charter, MD, Mt.Hagen, MD, GKA, Madang (actually 4 flights)

I would be remiss if I did not include some record of the (now) top on the tourist list, Goroka Show (NG Highlands); it started in 1957 (2 years before I saw it) and it is now (apart from being loved by the native tribes) a tourist "must see". Three photos of Goroka follow, and after them, one will be in included for Mt.Hagen.

Panorama of the Showground near Goroka township. It is an annual event in which many tribes make their way by foot to attend. One of the great novelties is for tribes to dress up in their finery, but I assume that they would also like to check out the competition.

Three Chimbu Tribe lasses and a warrior (do not know how or if related) at the 1959 Goroka Show are dressed in their finest which is assumed to make an impression on other tribe attendees.

It is said that this tribe of "Asaro" Mudmen walk many miles (I heard from near the Dutch New Guinea Border, but don't know if true) to attend the Goroka show. Possibly it is because of their fierce makeup that they are picked for a "Mock Battle" with other tribes, the prime winner being entertainment. I have heard that at times, the Mudmen "accidentally" wound their mock foes!

Mt.Hagen locals


With Mandated Airlines Captain Deegan and 2nd pilot Mullins we landed at Mt.Hagen (also in the Highlands) in DC-3 VH-MAB. As seen here the local natives are again physically (and culturally) different from other tribes. In fact the whole New Guinea Islands are a pot pouri of tribes and cultures. The prime souvenir from this area is the "Mt.Hagen Axe".

June 1959.

(At Madang) I crewed in 18 Adastra and 3 MAL flights this month with a total of 40 hours 55 minutes all in Hudson AGX and same crew as last month. On the 1/6, 2/6, 3/6 and 8/6 all attempts. Also on 8/6 I flew with MAL DC-3 VH-MAL with Rhodin Skip and Murphy 2nd courier MD-Rabaul and overnighted there. Actually it dovetailed with my brother Darcy and family as I was celebrated Godfather to his son Michael in Rabaul (stopped with them).

I photographed the Rabaul and surrounds from DC-3 VH-MAL as we flew over the town in June 1959.


I flew over from Madang to be Godfather to my new nephew Michael Pavlich, as my brother (Mike's Dad) had lived in New Guinea for many years. Rabaul is a different place now since the devastation wrought when Vulcan blew again in September 1994 causing the town to be enveloped in ash.

9/6 Rabaul-Madang DC-3 VH-MAL.
10/6 attempt as also 11/6 and 16/6.
17/6 MAL DC-3 VH-MAL Rhodin skip and Brinkman 2nd pilot MD-Wewak then Wewak-MD.

Seeing that many Adastra crews and aircraft were based in Madang I will also include 3 photos of interest in the area.

This photo of Madang was taken from the air in Hudson VH-AGX while we were based there on National Mapping survey in mid 1959. The aerodrome (quite busy) is shown in the middle background.

This was taken air to air from Adastra Hudson VH-AGX of Gibbes Sepik Airways Junkers 52 VH-BUV in the Madang area in June 1959. The Hudson pilot (Jack Howard) had to use flaps and lower power setting so as not to pass too quickly when photographing.

Manam Island seemed to be somewhat active when this was taken from Adastra Hudson VH-AGX in mid 1959. The island is off the Northern New Guinea Coast about midway between Wewak and Madang.

17/6 survey Dagia Rv. Doma Peaks, Sugarloaf and Kogas @ 25,000'.
17/6 Transit MD-Lae
18/6 Survey Genjigi, Bidad, Wongem, Mt.Yang and Mt. Kusdedu? @ 25,000' landed Madang.
18/5 Transit Madang-Lae.
19/6 survey Gurap, Mangare, Laviva, Yago and Mt. Mano.
24/6 attempt
24/6 transit Lae-MD.
27/6 survey? 25,000'.
28/6 survey ? 25,000'.
29/6 attempt also 30/6.

July 1959.

I crewed in 10 Adastra and 1 MAL flights this month with a total of 23 hours 10 minutes same Hudson and crew.

3/7 survey 1 run @ 25,000'.
6/7 survey 2 runs @ 21,500'.
7/7 MAL DC-3 VH-MAB Gordon Bigg skip Brian Badger 2nd. MD- Wabag-MD (2 flights).
13/7 attempt survey as was 14/7 two flights and 15/7.
20/7 survey? 25,000'.
27/7 attempt survey.
29/7 transit MD-Lae (Base) rented private house.
30 & 31/7 survey? 25,000'.

A photo of Wabag in the highlands (I was told it was a type of penal area?) showing Mandated Airlines DC-3 VH-MAB and the "up-hill" simple landing configuration and the reciprocal "down-hill" take off geography.

Mandated Airlines pilot Brian "Bomber" Badger with some of the locals at Wabag.


On July 7, 1959, I flew Mandated Airlines with Captain Gordon Bigg (ex Adastra) and 2nd pilot Brian "Bomber" Badger (shown in photo with natives) to Wabag. Bomber got the nickname due to an incident in losing a large gas cylinder (when climbing) through the rear of (I think) a DH Otter. A story is told of one of the native assistants that when the cylinder passed through his legs, he could have been mistaken for a white man! I heard that unfortunately Bomber later lost his life in a NG air crash (TAA Otter VH-SBS at Nebilyer Gap near Mendi on 2 December 1961).

August 1959.

I crewed in 26 flights this month with a total of 64 hours 10 minutes. All in VH-AGX with same crew as last month. We left New Guinea on the 10/8 and spent the rest of the month "around" Queensland.

1/8 2 flights survey? 25,000'.
2/8 attempt.
6 & 9/8 both "Tests" for I know not what.
10/8 3 flights Lae-Pt.Moresby, Pt.Moresby-Cairns and Cairns-Bundaberg where we found it to be rather cool!
11/8 2 flights Bundaberg-BN and BN-Roma.
11/8 Survey Roma area 13,000',
12/8 same as yesterday.
13/8 transit Roma-Bn and survey.
13/8 transit BN-Oakey (Base).
14/15 &16/8 I have noted Oakey Survey.
17/8 3 flights Oakey survey, landed BN. Brisbane survey landed BN. BN-Oakey.
18, 19, 20 & 21/8 Oakey Survey.
29/8 attempt survey.
30/8 transit Oakey-SY.

September 1959.

I crewed in 9 flights this month for a total of 20 hours 15 minutes. Only the first flight was in Hudson AGX, the other 8 were in Anson VH-AGA. Same crew as last month but when we based at Moruya (NSW) for the rest of the month with AGA, our engineer then Bill Mitchell.

6/9 AGX Survey (NSW Forestry) Jerrawongala 13,700'.
9/9 Aggy AGA from here on for month on NSW Forrestry, test.
12/9 attempt.
17 & 18/9 survey Bodalla 13,700'.
19/9 attempt.
23/9 survey Bodalla.
27/9 survey Jerrawangala.
30/9 attempt survey.

October 1959.

I crewed in 11 flights this month with a total of 20 hours 15 minutes. The first 6 flights based in Moruya were in Anson VH-AGA with Jack Howard as Skip, Hal McKinley nav. myself cam-op and Bill Mitchell as engineer. The final 5 flights were in Hudson VH-AGX crew mixture with further details.

1/10 survey Mogo 13,700'.
8/10 attempt.
10/10 survey Currowan.
11/10 attempt then a 2nd flight survey Currowan.
23/10 transit MYA-SY.
27/10 Target towing (all low flying [think 2000'] for Army at Waddamulla)Ted McKenzie Skip with Jack Tierney and myself. Same on 28/10.
29/10 same but Jack Howard taking over from Ted.
30/10 last Waddamulla target towing with Ted back as Skip.

November 1959.

I crewed in 18 flights this month with a total of 40 hours 45 minutes. The first 7 flights were in Hudson VH-AGX target towing at North Head Army higher level (radar guided shooting at 8000'). Ted McKenzie skippered in 4 of them and Jack Howard the other 3. Jack Tierney and I were still the skilled "letting out" and "dragging in" of drogues people; quite a few were shot off with Radar control. The balance of 11 flights were in Catalina VH-AGB on geophysical survey (oil) all at 2000' being skippered by Ken Rowlands, 2nd pilot Bruce Sellick myself nav., techs Maurie Miller and Les Snape and Bob Cozens engineer.

2/11, 2/11, 3/11, 3/11, 4/11, 5/11 & 5/11 Target towing at North Head.
18/11 & 19/11, now with the Cat, Heading Test Magnetometer.
19/11 Transit Camden-Sydney.
19/11 Sydney Test, landed Camden,
19/11 Camden-Sydney.
20/11 Local Mag test.
24/11 transit SY-Roma (Base King George V Hotel)
25/11 Local heading test.
26/11 Tie lines E-W 19-22 inclusive 61.3 line miles.
27/11 2 C/L N-S 109.6 line miles.
28/11 2.5 C/l N-S and 1 tie line E-W 61.3 line miles.

In 1959, Qantas took delivery of the first of their new Boeing 707s. In November, I walked over from Adastra's Hangar 13 and photographed this take-off looking south on the N/S runway. The smoke was a feature of the early turbojet engines.

December 1959.

I crewed in 27 flights this month with a total of 88 hours 40 minutes all in Cat VH-AGB with crew; Ken Rowlands skip, Bruce Sellick 2nd pilot, myself nav., Maurie Miller and Les Snape techs, and Bob Cozens engineer

1/12 Lines 2, 3 and 4, 122.6 line miles,
2/12 attempt (wet maggy) & heading test.
3/12 lines 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 7 & 10, 367 lm.
4/12 reflights 374 plus lines 11, 12, 13, 14 & 15, 367.8 lm.
5/12 attempt (wet maggy).
6/12 210 lm.
7/12 206.6 lm.
8/12 attempt, rain, line 5 A-C.
9/12 280 lm.
10/12 265 lm.
11/12 122.6 lm.
12/12 480 lm.
13/12 159.9 lm.
14/12 245.2 lm.
15/12 122.6 lm.
16/12 122.6 lm.
17/12 245.2 lm.
20/12 transit Roma-St.George, Base Commercial Hotel.
21/12 reflights + 119.3 lm.
22/12 361.2 lm.
23/12 122.6 lm.
24/12 180.6 lm.
26/12 282.2 lm.
27/12 210.6 lm.
28/12 306.5 lm.
29/12 429.3 lm.
30/12 329.2 lm

Because of time spent on this contract I will insert some photos taken while in the area.

I spent some weeks here over Christmas 1959. My wife and 18 months old son visited me from Sydney over Christmas, which helped morale somewhat. As at most "digs", we were appreciated for the interest but mainly for our custom with (in this case) 7 to 8 people being booked.

Coming in from the south approaching the St. George Weir after early morning survey in Catalina VH-AGB.

Crawbobbing (Yabbies) on St. George Weir in January 1960 (Crew R&R!). We used worn ladies stockings in which were left meat pieces, (so many different ways!) the yabby would get it's claw stuck in the mesh and finally finish up in the cooking pot, very tasty. From the left: Les Snape, Ken Rowlands, Pavlich and Peter Woyzbun.

January 1960.

I crewed in 25 flights this month with a total of 50 hours 30 minutes all in "Cat" AGB with same crew as December.

1/1 61.3 lm.
2/1 97.3 lm.
3/1 Oil temp trouble.
5/1 216.6 lm.
6/1 Too Turbulent.
7/1 transit St.George-Roma.
8/1 Northern reflights and back to St. George.
9/1 122.6 lm.
10/1 122.6 lm.
14/1 Magnetic Storm.
16/1 61.3 lm plus reflights.
17/1 reflights.
18/1 145.3 lm.
19/1 1 reflight.
21/1 Mag Storm – recalled.
22/1 Clouds too low.
24/1 Reflights.
25/1 61.3 lm.
26/1 122.6 lm, and we flew the same 27/1, 28/1, 29/1 & 30/1.
31/1 Maggy u/s.
31/1 Test flight.

February 1960.

I crewed in 21 flights this month with a total of 62 hours 40 minutes. 15 of the flights up to and including 18/2 were in the "Cat" VH-AGB with the same crew as in January. The latter 6 flights were in Hudson VH-AGS still with Ken Rowlands as skip and myself and others.

1/2 finished last 2 lines on original area.
4/2 transit St.George- Oakey (Base).
5/2 Started extended area 180 lm. This extended area was asked to be an added contract when the client's "boffins" noted an area of interest in the south east border area of the original; after we had completed the extended area. The Moonie oilfield was situated close to the centre!
6/2 180 lm.
7/2 270 lm.
8/2 270 lm.
9/2 405 lm.
10/2 318 lm.
11/2 280 lm and completed Extension Area.
14/2 Oakey-Charleville we trailed the mag.
15/2 Charleville-Longreach to refuel, trailing mag.
15/2 Longreach-Tibooburra (over Betoota and Innaminka) trailing mag.
16/2 Tibooburra-Broken Hill.
16/2 Broken Hill-SY (Base – home).
16/2 Lag test Harbour Bridge.
22/2 VH-AGS with Ken flying till months end. Test flight, Des Hardy & self.
24/2 target towing Waddamulla 2500', Chambers & self.
25/2 target towing Waddamulla 800'! Chambers & self.
26/2 (am) target towing Waddamulla 2500', Hardy & self.
26/2 (pm) target towing Wadamulla 2500', Kerr & self.
26/2 photo attempt local, Wood & self. When we completed the oil survey contract in the SW Queensland area, we were asked to do a Magnetometer Trailing exercise (prospecting?) whilst airborne from Oakey to Broken Hill via Longreach, over Channel Country, Beetoota & Innaminka area, and landing Tibooburra; two photos follow.

Catalina VH-AGB on final to Longreach Qld. February 1960 for refueling. This was on Maggy Trailing transit in S/West Qld and N/Western NSW.

Photo of the "Main" Street in Tibooburra (N/West corner of NSW) where we refueled the Catalina (See photo). On the left is Ken Rowlands talking to the Fuelling agent. We overnighted here, and can guarantee we didn't visit the "Bright lights"

March 1960.

I crewed in 19 flights this month with a total of 47 hours 55 minutes. The 1st & 4th was Hudson VH-SMM with Ken Rowlands at the helm and the 2nd & 3rd was Catalina VH-AGB also with Ken as Skip.

3/3 test (local Botany Bay) with self.
5/3 AH137 Cadia (Rio Tinto) 250' techs and self.
6/3 AH137 Prospect Reservoir 250'.
9/3 Canberra Tumut Road as cam-op, Mike Wood nav 12'500'.
16/3 From here to the rest of the month it is Geophysical Mineral with Anson VH-BLF towing a magnetometer @ 350'. Ken Rowlands skip, Maurie Miller tech, Des Hardy engineer, and self as nav. Test with towed Maggy, same 17/3 and 18/3.
19/3 two transits SY-Narrandera and Narrandera-Mildura.

The worst dust storm locally for 12 years.


We landed at Mildura (and overnighted) on 19/3/60 from Sydney (via Narrandera) proceeding on to Minnipa S.A. (via Pt. Pirie) next day. It was a hot day and after booking into the Grand Hotel, I went to the council pool to cool off. Gazing at the horizon I noticed what appeared to be a huge dark cloud, I asked a chap there was it a storm, and he stated that it was bound to be a dust storm and suggested I do what he was going to do right away and get home! I was running to our hotel and decided to take this photo as it was getting close. I picked up a copy of the 21/3 issue of the Sunraysia Daily later which had the details of the worst dust storm locally for 12 years sweeping along at 52mph, blotting our the sun and reaching a height of 7000' and reducing visibility on the ground to 50 feet.

21/3 two transits Mildura-Pt.Pirie and Pt.Pirie-Minnapa S.A (Base Minnipa Hotel)

This picture was taken at about 6am when we were about to leave Minnipa for Port Lincoln; we stayed here while doing the AH138 mineral job in Aggy VH-BLF. It was a town where further west was Ceduna and the Nullarbor Plain. The publican looked after us extremely well and took us on a fishing trip to Venus Bay on the coast and made a good "deal" when we left, good label wine etc. for left over fuel which otherwise would have been shipped back to Sydney at great expense or simply abandoned.

23/3 AH138 Mineral 14 lines, it is the same height for all this work 350'.
24/3 Warramboo Anomaly 14 lines,
25/3 same but 13 lines,
26/3 same but 3 lines,
26/3 again, Maggy u/s then test.
28/3 completed Warramboo Anomaly (1400 line miles).
29/3 Carina Anomaly and Payne Anomaly 191 lm.
30/3 transit Minnipa- Pt.Lincoln. Maurie and I based there while BLF was taken to Parafield for wing repair?

Anson VH-BLF taking off from Minnipa S.A. in March 1960. Based there for AH138 geophysical mineral survey towing Magnetometer and flying at 350'.

April 1960.

I crewed in 18 flights this month with a total of 46 hours 5 minutes. The first 10 were all in Aggy VH-BLF with the March crew and the final 8 were in Hudson VH-AGS on 14, 16, & 19/4 and Aggy BLF 17,18 & 19 and 2 flights 20/4.

6/4 Coffin Bay and Tulka Anoms.
6/4 Started Lincoln Anom 133 lm.
7/4 Lincoln Anom 96 lm. 2 flights
10/4 on Lincoln Anom 470 lm.
11/4 Completed AH138 2436 line miles.

Maurie Miller and I stayed at the Port Lincoln Hotel while Ken Rowlands and Des Hardy were at Parafield (outskirts of Adelaide) airport attending to a wing problem on Aggy VH-BLF for a couple of days at the end of March 1960. Managed to see some local points of interest, as it was a busy town with a fishing and grain industry. We went to a small air show but only photographed a Tiger Moth doing dummy crop dusting but in the distance; very little on display.

11/4 2 flights transit Pt.Lincoln-Adelaide and Adelaide-Mildura.
12/4 2 flights transit Mildura-Narrandera and Narrandera-Sydney (Base)
14/4 Hudson AGS McKenzie, Wood, self, 5 shots of Tooheys Hotels @ 22000' and 2 runs Lake McQuarie 5500'.
16/4 Same a/c crew 6 runs Canberra-Tumut 12000' and 2 runs Queenbeyan-Burbon 5000'.
17/4 Anson BLF McKenzie, Miller, self, AH139 Rio Tinto Proj. Mineral (350'). 126 lm.
18/4 same a/c crew and Proj. 147 lm.
19/4 again same 147 lm.
19/4 Hudson AGS McKenzie, Wood and Self, 6 runs Canb-Tumut proposed road.
20/4 BLF McKenzie etc. Prospect Res. Attempt (foggy) and again 20/4 same area and completed AH139.

Checked this boat when it came in early in Port Lincoln. The crew were still finishing off preparation for market and as one can see, they apparently work hard in the fishing ground and double up for the market. I think shipshape is secondary to the business at hand.

May 1960.

I crewed in 13 flights this month with a total of 35 hours 25 minutes. The first 6 flights in Anson VH-BLF with Ted McKenzie as skip, and 7 balance in Anson VH-AGA with Wal Bowles as skip.

7/5 photo attempt Tuggerah with Wal Bowles as cam-op.
9/5 survey Robertson and Tuggerah, with Wal again and self nav.
11/5 survey Robertson-Tuggerah with Gibbons cam-op.
13/5 Maurie Miller tech AH141 mineral Rio Tinto, Hornsby area.
13/5 Gibbons cam-op Sydney-Willoughby, lines Hornsby-Dundas.
14/5 Miller tech, AH141 mineral-Rio Tinto. (on to VH-AGA Melb Base) Wal Bowles skip, self nav, John Collins cam-op and Bill Mitchell engineer
17/5 attempt Echuca as flights on 18/5 & 21/5.
23/5 Essendon drome 3 runs @ 2000' and 1single shot @ 5500', and 7 runs Echuca @ 4000' all on RC7.
24/5 Eppalock Catchment 11runs @ 7300' RC5.
25/5 Eppalock Bendigo and Eppalock Catchment 8 runs.
26/5 Walhalla-Lakes Entrance 4 runs @ 4000' RC7.

June 1960.

I crewed in 11 flights this month with a total of 17 hours 50 minutes all in Anson VH-AGA with same crew as AGA in June.

4/6 Attempt Bendigo.
5/6 Survey Eppalock 4 runs.
11/6 training as was 12/6.
20/6 Attempt Echuca.
22/6 Survey Echuca 7 runs @ 4000' RC7.
23/6 attempt Eppalock.
27/6 Survey Eppalock 8 runs @ 7300' RC5.
28, 29, & 30/6 all attempt Eppalock.

I did not nominate the day in my log that we experienced a flat tyre when landing Anson VH-AGA at Essendon (my guess now would be the 20th June) as I was probably given a reason (or directive) at the time. Apparently we did not cause too much fuss as we quickly pushed it away from the taxiway with the help of a tow to the dispersal area where Bill repaired it and had it serviceable after a couple of hours.

July 1960.

I crewed in 11 flights this month with a total of 20 hours 10 minutes all in Anson VH-AGA with same crew as June.

8/7 attempt Eppalock.
8/7 survey 2 runs Metropolitan Drainage 24'(?).
10/7 Attempt Pt.Phillip Bay.
20/7 Air test, flapless (?)
26/10 Air test, Asymmetric landing (1 donk?).
26/7 survey Narracan Catchment @ 2000' RC7.
28/7 attempt Pt.Phillip Bay.
28/7 survey Pt.Phillip Bay Eastern Foreshores EIX 10" same on 30/7 and 31/7.

More on the Pt. Phillip Eastern Foreshores story, is featured in Aerial Survey by the Tides by Wal Bowles.

August 1960.

A lean month with crewing only in 3 flights this month with a total of 8 hours 15 minutes

2/8 Transit with Wal Bowles as skip ML-SY in Anson AGA.
30/8 attempt Wallerawang-Orange with Ted McKenzie skip and Dean Darcey cam-op in Hudson SMM.
31/8 7 runs Wallerawang -Orange with yesterday's crew with EIX @ 15000' for NSW Main Roads.

September 1960.

I crewed in 16 flights this month with a total of 56 hours 5 minutes all in Hudson VH-SMM except 2 flights in Hudson VH-AGS on the 6/9 and 7/9.

2/9 VH-SMM Ted McKenzie skip, Darcey and self, 3 runs Munmorah @ 15,000'.
4/9 SMM same crew 2 runs (1 @ 5000' and 1 @ 10,900') EIX for Federal Match Co.
6/9 VH-AGS Max Garroway skip, Darcey and self, 16 runs Currawan & Mogo @ 13,700'.
7/9 AGS same crew attempt Mogo. From here to months end is all Hudson VH-SMM with Ken Rowlands skip, Tony Burgess cam-op, Ray Goode engineer and self nav.
17/9 transit SY-Broken Hill.
18/9 transit Broken Hill-Alice Springs,
19/9 Alice Springs-Giles Met. Station. Three photos follow concerning Giles Meteorological Station.

I found Giles area to be fascinating country in that one expected flat desert when hearing about it, on arriving and seeing the relief of the surrounding country leading to the Rawlinson Ranges made it a novel sight to remember. Many of our crews either camped or stayed at the Station if there was room. A five-page memo had to be read and signed, plus a background check confirmed OK by the Met Bureau for a person to be allowed on the Station.

The photo shows Hudson VH-SMM with the RAAF Bristol Freighter taking off after leaving stores for the Station, I believe it was a bi-weekly visit.

With Ken Rowlands on the left looking on, this aboriginal is throwing a boomerang to show us their ability in getting to a target. We were not supposed to, but we gave the men (women not allowed near!) bread and "Cornflakes" which was appreciated.

21/9 survey CS18 & 19 Canning Basin @ 25,000' RC9 National Mapping, each tie-line 300miles long.
22/9 attempt, aborted by clouds, (I noted) Range too risky after finding start point too late on CS15, into Carnegie.
24/9 survey CS16 – noted (Genny-Oil & Cowl)- Pack Up-into Carnegie.
25/9 survey CS17.
26/9, CS13, into Giles.
27/9 CS14 into Carnegie.
28/9 CS15 into Giles. 29/9 transit Giles-Alice Springs. Two following photos at Carnegie Homestead.

We overnighted in the old homestead twice in order to plan fuel (and oil) consumption when surveying the Canning Basin area, it could get tight, and the area wasn't the best to go down in. We were welcome here and I think this was through the good graces of a prior Hudson VH-AGS crew (Max Garroway, Mike Wood, Dean Darcey and Des Hardy) doing the right thing and in their way looking out for the Carnegie owners. The photo (Sept 1960) shows Ken Rowlands and Pavlich beside the Rover and Ray Goode on the wing of VH-SMM with the homestead in the background.

The Flying Doctor (from Meekatharra W.A) ready for take-off in Cessna 180 VH-FDM at Carnegie Homestead in WA in September 1960. He was taking the cook's wife for treatment back at Meekatharra.

Besides photos of interest included for the area, there are a couple of items worth recording. One was at the end of our Giles stay and the other was at our consequent stay for a week in Alice Springs. On the afternoon of September 28 at Giles, we organized 3 teams to go on a hunting trip with the local "Pijinjarra" aborigines, Ken with one lot of 3, Tony with similar and myself with 3. We had rifles and the natives had their time-honoured weapons, but the main idea was to let the natives find the game (kangaroos) and we would shoot a couple saving the natives much trouble. Ken Rowlands insisted that young Tony take water with him and added strictly not to touch any water lying about the hills.

The end of this tale was that Ken and I enjoyed the interesting way in which the natives naturally went about seeking game (ears and fingertips to the ground etc.) effective enough for Ken and I to bag a roo each, which our friends readily accepted. Tony on the other hand was taken by the heat and seeing that he didn't take any water (contrary to directions) quenched his thirst at a shallow pool, he finished up with no game but very bad case of Hepatitis (confirmed at Alice Springs hospital). Ken contacted the office to ascertain what was required under the circumstances as, (a) the seriousness of Tony's malady left a problem with his condition being able to get back to Sydney for treatment, and (b) if the rest of the crew were going back to Sydney or proceeding on to other work with a new cam-op.

Sydney Adastra people later advised Ken that we were to wait around for about a week, whilst new contracts were sorted out and sent to us and another cam-op became available. Tony headed back to Sydney after a couple of days.

This Pijinjarra native is throwing a spear initially cradled in a "Woomera". He was certainly adept.

This left Ken and I looking for a place to stay, Ray was already organized. Having a bit of time, Ken and I went down to a steakhouse very close to the (dry) Todd River to meet my wife's uncle (who she asked me to visit) Bill Wood who she hadn't seen for years and whom I'd never met. Bill had been in Mt.Isa and had a marriage mangle a year or so earlier and had brought his 10 year old son (Bill also) to the Alice to start over. Bill turned out an interesting and easy to talk with person and we went in and sat yarning and "sipping" at one of the tables. He told us that there wasn't much cash turnover, but as his customers (nearly all male) were cattlemen, property men, miners and a lot of young jackeroos, white, mixed and aborigines, he did a lot of the old trade of being paid for meals with meat, gemstones and even paintings. He gave me an Eiwold Namitjira painting to pass on to his niece (my wife Alice). He then asked where we were staying and I replied that we hadn't sorted that out yet but would do in the next hour or so. Bill then said; "Well, I have enough room, how about you camp here. It won't be entirely free but close to it!" I asked him what the catch was, and he replied that Ken and I would be required to peel a large bag of potatoes each day while we were there so he could fry chips for his customer's evening mixed grill. We just about said "sold" together. While staying there, Bill was always good for a yarn, and he took me to the Alice Hospital to visit with a John Pavlich (station cook) who had been in an accident, he was a cousin of my fathers, but I hadn't come across him before. All that, plus looking around the area, turned out to be a good week to get introduced to The Alice.

Bill Wood and young Bill in front of their steakhouse beside the (dry) Todd River at Alice Springs in early October 1960. Bill was good enough to put Ken Rowlands and I up for a few days at his place (with a catch). Bill had interesting stories to tell about the area. Unfortunately, young Bill, who our family got to know well, was drowned later in his late teens working on a fishing boat on the South Coast of NSW.

October 1960.

I crewed in 7 flights this month with a total of 23 hours 20 minutes all in Hudson VH-SMM, same crew except Burgess went to Sydney suffering with Hepatitis and was replaced by Bob Rennick as cam-op at Townsville.

7/10 transit Alice Springs-Charleville.
8/10 transit Charleville-Townsville (Base).
12/10 Attempt? cloudy.
19/10 survey 7 runs Charters Towers, Julia Creek 7000'.
24/10 6 runs same area.
25/10 3 runs same area but landed Hughenden and
26/10 10 runs same area but landed Townsville.

November 1960.

I crewed in 7 flights this month with a total of 13 hours 35 minutes. Aircraft still SMM and crew the same.

6/11 transit Townsville-Cairns (Base).
6/11 Local Test and Training.
12/11 transit Cairns-Iron Range.
16/11 Bit of a change today. Bob Norman (the founder of Bush Pilots Airways) landed in a Cessna 172 VH-BPJ, and asked if we would spot for him in BPJ in a search for a stockman (Hughy Burt) who had gone missing. Ken and I didn't do any good on the first flight of 2 hours 10 minutes, but located Hughy on the second flight at 143°.11'E, 13°.08'S, and guided searchers to Hughy.
19/11, 2 flights Iron Range-Horn Island return, 1 hour 20 minutes each way; visited Jack Howard and crew in the DC-3 VH-AGU.
25/11 local attempt (cloudy!).

Iron Range airstrip was situated on the eastern coast of Cape York peninsula and at the time we were there, there was little movement at the strip but I assume some stores would come in for Portland Roads, a near village on the coast, but it would be a welcome site to aviators with problems approaching from overseas. I have looked at a map last week (National Geographic Jan-Mar 2006) to pinpoint the area, and it shows it as Iron Range National Park now. When we were there, a Mr.O'Reilly was the DCA groundsman who put us up in living quarters a couple of hundred yards from his home where he lived with his wife and son. They were good people and were well organized for living in the area, the son did school by radio. We didn't have "under cover" parking for SMM, but it was parked near our doorway. A character "Spider" Webb visited us a couple of times, he was a prospector who did little prospecting but enjoyed telling tales to visitors, particularly if they had some cool liquid he could settle with for the tales. He changed his lady about every six months (aboriginal), but that's about all he would tell us about that, but the most interesting tales were about WWII. I knew that we must have had some troops there in 1942. It turned out according to Spider (who was there then) that there were hardly any Australians (they were overseas fighting), but there were "thousands" of American soldiers based there in case of Japanese invasion. Fortunately the allies winning of the Coral Sea Battle put an end to that emergency. Spider said that he used to visit to yarn and watch their movies etc.; a big win was that he used to hire out his gramophone (with records) making a fortune. There were always crocodile hunters around as they were still plentiful in the area, and the skins were worth good money. Ken and I with Bob shot 4, but Ken had a big brute who (after much work skinning) paid him well. We all got enough to help with household expenses. The beach near the strip was famous (although not on the tourist map) for Resolution Rock where Bligh came ashore after the Mutiny on the Bounty. Three photos follow.

Picture shows Bob Norman (founder of Bush Pilots Airways) taking off in Cessna 172 VH-BPJ at Iron Range after two searches with Ken Rowlands and I as "spotters" on 16/11/60. We were searching for a stockman, Hughy Burt, who had been missing for a couple of days. On the second flight we found Hughy (lat & long in log) near Lockhart River. Note our Iron Range living quarters with handy SMM parking at front door in background.

This is one of many gun emplacements with ammo lockers scattered throughout the surrounding bush area manned by US troops spoken of by Spider Webb, all overgrown now as was a crashed Airacobra that Ken and I found while exploring.

DCA Groundsman O'Reilly and family with friends having a picnic on Resolution Beach, the north end being Resolution Rock where Bligh came ashore (Mutiny of the Bounty) and Resolution Island in the background of photo.


December 1960.

I crewed in 9 flights this month with a total of 25 hours 15 minutes. Still Hudson VH-SMM and crew the same until the last 2 flights (29 & 30/12) when Gordon Phipps replaced Bob Rennick as the cam-op. at Iron Range.

1/12 Local Test (cloudy) Gill Drive U/S.
2/12 transit Iron Range-Cairns for Maintenance.
7/12 two flights 2 hours 20 minutes each way Cairns to Iron Range (pick up our gear) and return. (Base).
14/12 attempt Dimbulah (cloudy)
17/12 same as 14th.
22/12 transit Cairns-Roma.
23/12 transit Roma-Sydney (Base).
29/12 Survey Captains Flat EIX 10,000'. Same 30/12.

January 1961. (Left Adastra)

I crewed in 2 flights this month with a total of 1hour 55 minutes. Both were in the DC-3 VH-AGU.

26/1 Test (over sea) after C of A, Jack Howard Skip and Bruce Gregory 2nd pilot.
30/1 RC5 6' camera test 5000' Sydney local, Bruce Gregory Skip and Jack Howard 2nd pilot.

Because of family (multiplication and other) matters, I decided to leave Adastra Aerial Surveys, which I did on the 31st January 1961 starting in Customs Excise as Excise Officer on the 6th February 1961. Our second child, a daughter, was born 9th. February 1961 (Leone). Because of a story that may be told later, I finished with Customs Excise 26th June 1961 and went back to Adastra Aerial Surveys on 3rd July 1961.

April 1961.

The two following sorties with a total of 8 hours 40 minutes flown in April I will classify as moonlighting as although they were flown on a weekend, I was officially employed by Customs Excise.

15/4 in SMM with Keith Cooper as Skip and John Collins as cam-op. 5 runs on Cumberland Council RC5 6" @ 7000'.
16/4 with Ted McKenzie as Skip and Collins still cam-op, 13 runs on the Cumberland Council project.

July 1961. (Back with Adastra)

I crewed in 12 flights this month with a total of 28 hours 45 minutes. The first 5 flights were in Hudson VH-SMM and the following 7 flights in Hudson VH-AGX. Ted McKenzie was the Skip in the first two flights, Keith Cooper in the next three, and Wal Bowles in the last 7 (AGX). Cam-op on the first five flights when based in Sydney was John Collins with Brian Rhodes taking over when we flew from Townsville to Cairns (Base) in AGX with "Pappy" Cattanach engineer

5/7 5 runs Cumberland Council.
7/7 5 runs Cumberland Council
8/7 3 runs Warringah Shire @13,500' RC5 6"
9/7 14 runs on Cumberland Council
9/7 3 runs on Cumberland Council
12/7 Transit (AGX) Townsville-Cairns. (I probably travelled civil from Sydney to Townsville).
13/7 photo attempt Proserpine @ 12,000' (EIX).
17/7 Run 6 Proserpine.
25/7 local test (Green Is. and Cairns)
27/7 13 runs Mareeba-Cooktown @ 6000' Queensland Roads EIX 6".
28/7 attempt Coen and Cape Melville @ 25,000' and same on 30/7.

Took this with Wal Bowles flying the Hudson VH-AGX of the tropical beauty of Green Island that even in 1961 was building to a big tourist attraction. We did a ferry trip to the island while based in Cairns and found it well worth the visit.


August 1961.

I crewed in 21 flights this month with a total of 72 hours 45 minutes all in Hudson VH-AGX with Wal Bowles as skip, Brian Rhodes cam-op and "Pappy" Cattanach engineer based to 26/8 in Townsville and from there in Oakey. Keen again, we flew twice on each of 4 days.

4/8 transit Cairns-Townsville (noted Clag!).
6/8 4 runs Britannia (Charters Towers) @ 13,000' RC5 6".
7/8 4 runs Britannia.
8/8 1 run Britannia.
10/8 3 runs Britannia, 3 runs 1 tie Rollingstone, and 2 runs @13,000' and 2 runs Townsville- Bowling Green @ 12,000'.
11/8 5 runs North Walsh (Mareeba) @ 11,500', 5 runs Magnetic-Cape Cleveland @12,000'.
12/8 8 runs, 3 ties Midge Pt. @12,000', 3 runs Hook Is., 3 ties and 1 run Townsville-Bowling Green.
13/8 attempt Hook Is. and Townsville.
18/8 survey Britannia, Rollingstone, Magnetic-Cape Cleveland, Townsville-Bowling Green.
19/8 survey Hook Is., Townville-Bowling Green.
20/8 Survey Yeppoon @12,000', landed Rockhampton.
20/8 transit Rockhampton-Townsville (survey Gap 5A Hook Is.).
22/8 survey Yeppoon, previous shots u/s, landed Rockhampton.
22/8 (survey Hook Is.) transit Rocky-Townsville.
23/8 survey Britannia and Rolllingstone.
25/8 survey to complete Townsville area.
26/8 transit Townsville-Rocky (with wife Alice, son Pat and daughter Leone who had been with us in Townsville as was Wal's wife and girls. They flew civil from here to Sydney.)
26/8 transit Rocky-Oakey.
29/8 survey 9 runs Warwick @ 9420' Qld. Lands Dept. RC5 6", landed Brisbane.
30/8 survey 6 runs Warwick overnight Brisbane
31/8 survey 10 runs Cooyar-Blackbutt @ 8920'.

September 1961.

I crewed in 26 flights this month with a total of 78 hours 35 minutes all in VH-AGX with same crew as August 1961 based in Oakey (Q).

1/9 survey 13 runs Springbrook-Tweed Heads/Murwillumbah 8290', landed Brisbane.
1/9 transit Bris-Oakey.
3/9 2 complete ties and 4 runs Cooyar-Blackbutt, landed Brisbane
3/9 transit Brisbane-Oakey.
4/9 5 runs Warwick and 10 runs Springbrook.
5/9 3 complete ties and 6 runs Kumbia-Nanango.
6/9 3 runs Kumbia-Nanango (noted) Drifts too much, Gave up!
7/9 3 ties and 6 runs Thallon area @12,500'.
9/9 6 runs Thallon area.
10/9 attempt Thallon area.
11/10 same as yesterday.
13/9 survey 5 runs Thallon area, landed St.George.
13/9 transit St.George-Oakey.
16/9 attempt Waroo.
17/9 flew Gaps 11a, 9, 5a and 4a Cooyar plus 9a Nanango.
18/9 attempt Waroo.
22/9 2 runs Kumbia-Nanango and 9 runs Waroo @ 13,000'.
23/4 4runs Kumbia-Nanango plus 3 runs Wondai-Manunbah @ 8920'.
24/9 4 runs Waroo and 1 run Mungindi-Barrenbar @ 12'500'.
25/9 2 Gaps Warwick @ 9420' and landed Brisbane.
25/9 4 runs Noosa Heads-Bribie Is. @ 6000' RC5 6" Queensland Main Roads, landed Oakey.
26/9 5 runs Wondai-Manumbar, landed Brisbane.
26/9 attempt Springbrook, noted Radio trouble, landed Brisbane.
26/9 transit Brisbane-Oakey.
29/9 3 Gaps Springbrook-Mungindi.
30/9 4 runs Wondai-Manumbar.

Taken from the temporary tower, shows Wal Bowles taxiing Hudson VH-AGX at Oakey Qld. while based there in September 1961.


October 1961.

I crewed in 9 flights this month with a total of 15 hours 40 minutes; the first flight 7/10 was in Hudson VH-AGX from Oakey on local test with Rhodes as cam-op; and the following 8 flights in Anson VH-AGA, these were from Sydney (how we got there I don't know!) with Keith Cooper as skip and John Collins as cam-op.

12/10 attempt Sutherland 12,000'.
13/10 2 runs Sutherland.
13/10 attempt Hornsby.
14/10 8 runs Hornsby @ 12,500' RC5 6" Adastra Mapping.
15/10 2 runs Sutherland.
24/10 colour test 4500' Waterfall.
26/10 1 run Sutherland, I have Gibbons (who was engineer apprentice) down as cam-op, which probably meant that Collo was preparing to drive to Melbourne and Clive Gibbons could handle the job.
28/10 transit SY-ML with Keith and myself.

November 1961.

I crewed in 8 flights this month with a total of 11 hours 15 minutes all in Anson VH-AGA with Keith Cooper skip, John Collins cam-op and (I'm pretty sure) Bill Mitchell as engineer.

12/11 7 runs Blackwood Tng. Area 14,000' EIX 6".
13/11 attempt Hamilton Road EIX 10", clouds and Port engine trouble.
21/11 attempt Bacchus Marsh By Pass RC7 4500-5000'.
26/11 attempt Balcombe Tng. Area @ 15,500' EIX 6''.
27/11 2 runs Balcombe.
28/11 2 runs Balcombe.
28/11 Trial run Bacchus Marsh (note that I have Ted McKenzie rather than Collo, I'd say checking?)
29/11 attempt Balcombe Tng. Area.

December 1961.

I crewed in 19 flights this month with a total of 39 hours 20 minutes. We have a new skip, George Smee but still with Collo and Bill.

1/12 With Ted McKenzie checking George out with (I've noted) Circuits and Bumps plus pilot training.
2/12 Runs 1-10 Bacchus Marsh Proj. @ 5000' Vic. Lands Dept RC7 4". Runs 3 & 4 Balcombe Tng. Area @ 15,500' Dept. of Defence EIX 6'.
3/12 attempt Blackwood Tng Area.
3/12 1 run Blackwood @ 14,000' Dept of Defence EIX 6" 1/100 @ f11 I noted "baulked by ATC".
4/12 6 runs Blackwood Tng. Area.
7/12 attempt Balcombe Tng. Area.
12/12 3 runs Bacchus Marsh Proj.
16/12 attempt Lower Yarra Crossing Proj.
21/12 Attempt Lower Yarra. 21/12 Yarra Crossing noted under cloud through urgency!
22/12 runs 1 & 3 Lilydale Wandin Proj. @ 4500' Vic. Lands RC7 1/200 @ f8.
22/12 runs 2, 4, 5 & 6 Lilydale.
23/12 3 runs Blackwood Tng Area, noted engine trouble.
23/12 1 run Blackwood noted "engine trouble again".
24/12 1 run Balcombe Area noted "Ditto", guess engine trouble again!
26/12 3 runs Balcombe noted ------straight line directly under Ditto (24/12), engine trouble again?, must check with Bill Mitchell.
27/12 2 runs Blackwood @ 14,000' EIX and single shot Bacchus Marsh.
30/12 Principal Point Jobs (P.Ps) Yallourn and Morwell Open Cuts 3000 & 6000' RC7 4".

January 1962.

I crewed in 13 flights this month with a total of 25 hours 25 minutes all in Aggy VH- AGA and same crew as December 1961 except for 27/1 when we flew in Hudson VH-AGS with Keith Cooper as pilot and Bob Rennick as cam-op.

1/1 Hazelwood No1 Power Station I shot (PP) @ 4280' ASL and 1 run townships of Yinnar 2860' ASL & Boolarra 2940' ASL all RC7.
5/1 6 runs Lilydale-Wandin.
9/1 attempt Bass H'wy.
14/1 attempt Ringwood East.
15/1 EIX 10'' 5 runs Bass H'wy & Morwell noted "Scrubbed, Bad Shutter"
18/1 attempt Ringwood East.
23/1 14 runs Kinglake-Ringwood Bushfires @ 8400' to 9400', EIX 6''
23/1 7 runs Dandenongs Bushfire Area @ 9400'. For more information on this Bushfire subject, see Navigating in the Anson.
26/1 2 runs Healsville Bushfire Area.
26/1 2 runs P.P job Ringwood Experimental RC7 170mm @ 2500'.
27/1 (in AGS) attempt Hamilton H'wy EIX 8.74" 5450'. Attempt Lilydale-Wandin.
30/1 11 runs Healsville Bushfire Area.

We were very aware of the impending birth of our third child at this time and accordingly had my wife in Melbourne (rather than at home in Sydney) where we had rented a home at Tullamarine because of proximity to Essendon, (I'm sure that the Melbourne International Airport had not even been planned at this time). We landed at Essendon on January 5 after the 6 runs survey at Lilydale and John Collins dropped me at home We were talking when my wife Alice came to the door saying that her "Water had Broken" and she felt the sooner we get to a hospital the better. Some hurried organizing before we left for St.Judes Hospital at Brunswick and whilst there, Moira and "Pappy" Cattanach (Pappy was engineer on Hudson VH-AGS in Melbourne at that time) kindly volunteered to look after 3 year old son Patrick, and also kindly, John and Judy Collins looked after 12 months old daughter, Leone for a few days whilst Alice was in hospital. Our last child, daughter Kathleen, was born healthy and happy early next morning January 6. I can only say that peer crew assistance came to the fore again, and we still offer our grateful thanks to those good people.

February 1962.

I crewed in 25 flights this month with a total of 70 hours 10 minutes all in Anson VH-AGA with Smee, Collins, and Mitchell.

1/2 transit ML-Mildura.
2/2 8 runs Murray Irrigation District Mildura .
3/2 15 runs Murray Irrig. Mildura.
4/2 6 runs Murray Irrig, Nyah area @ 4210' landed Swan Hill.
4/2 13 runs Murray Irrig. Robinvale area.
4/2 transit Mildura-ML.
5/2 attempt Mt. Hotham.
5/2 attempt Lilydale-Wandin.
6/2 2 runs Lilydale-Wandin RC7.
6/2 EIX 1 run Blackwood Tng. Area.
7/2 attempt Mt. Hotham, 4 runs Morwell-Hazelwood EIX 8.25".
9/2 6 runs Wodonga By Pass @ 4500' RC7 4" 1/200 @ f8 landed Corowa.
9/2 transit Corowa-ML.
11/2 4 runs Hotham Ski Site EIX 6" 1/100 @ f 11 @ 12,920'ASL.
13/2 2 runs Morwell-Hazelwood, 3 exps. Hazelwood 3000' & 7000', 2 runs Rainbow Ck. EIX 8.25" 7500'.
15/2 8 runs Seymour By-Pass RC7 4600'.
16/2 runs 1 & 2 Broken Rv.
18/2 attempt Glenelg H'wy.
21/2 attempt Broken Rv.
24/2 runs 3-11 Broken Rv.
24/2 attempt Macalister Rv.
25/2 runs 11-16 and runs 19-22 Broken Rv.
26/2 runs 18-22 & 23-33 Broken Rv. landed Mangalore.
27/2 run 34 Broken Rv. and runs 1-7 Macalister Rv. @ 6800' both EIX 10".
28/2 2 exp. Runs (u/s 10" sight) runs 1, 2 & 4 Bass H'wy.

When Adastra was based at various airports/strips, our aircraft were allocated specific parking areas. At Essendon it was at the north/west section of the airport complex.

Adastra aircraft from left, Anson VH-AGA plus Hudsons VH-AGS and VH-AGX at the dispersal area (north west area of Essendon 'drome) in February 1962. The Ansett-ANA hangars in the background had not been long completed, but I remember that our crew around that time witnessed a helicopter crash and catch on fire in front of the hangar on the right while training, it was actually lifting a crate.


March 1962.

I crewed in 18 flights this month with a total of 37 hours 25 minutes all in Anson VH-AGA with the same crew of George Smee Skip, John Collins Cam-op and Bill Mitchell engineer

2/3 attempt Broken Rv.
3/3 attempt Broken Rv.
4/3 runs 19 & 22 Broken Rv.
6/3 runs15, 16 & 18 Broken Rv.
11/3 (busy cam-op) 1 run Stoneford RC7 4500', 2 runs Dartmoor RC7 4150', and 15 runs Glenelg H'way EIX 10" @ 6200', landed Mt. Gambier.
11/3 transit Mt. Gambier to ML.
12/3 attempt Bass H'way.
14/3 attempt Bass H'way.
16/3 2 runs Seymour and 21 run Broken Rv.
16/3 2 runs Bass H'way @ 6100' and 1 run Inverloch (Tide) @ 13,200' both EIX 10".
20/3 5 runs Mt.Useful-Mt.Skene Proj noted STATIC! @ 14,500" EIX 8.25" 1/200 @ f 11.
23/3 attempt Ararat, landed Ballarat
23/3 transit Ballarat-ML.
24/3 10 runs Ararat Inlet Mains @ 8750 to 9500'ASL EIX 10", run out of Fuel, landed Ararat.
24/3 transit Ararat-Ballarat.
24/3 transit Ballarat-ML.
25/3 runs 7 & 9 Mt.Skene plus Sale, Moe, Morwell and Dandenong Townships, (I assume because not noted, the towns were taken with the EIX 8.25" used on Mt.Skene-Mt.Useful.
30/3 Test (Gevaert Film) Melbourne Metropolitan Area.

April 1962.

I crewed in 15 flights this month with a total of 47 hours 30 minutes. AGA and same crew as last month.

1/4 attempt Kuark McKenzie and 5 & 6 Mt.Useful.
5/4 Runs 1-5 Mt.Useful.
6/4 two attempts Maryvale - Port Donk trouble.
7/4 runs 1 & 2 Newborough East (Principal Points) @ 3400' + datum, and runs 9 to 14 Maryvale @ 2290' both RC7 and 1/200 @ f 8.
10/4 attempt Maryvale.
17/4 runs 3-9 Maryvale.
18/4 attempt Kuark-McKenzie, landed Malacoota (Base).
18/4 runs 11 & 15 Kuark-McKenzie.
19/4 runs 2 to 10 Kuark-McKenzie.
20/4 transit Malacoota-ML (Base).
23/4 attempt Maryvale (too gusty).
24/4 runs 1, 2 & 3 Maryvale.
25/4 runs 1 to 6 Morwell-Hazelwood Proj. @ 8250' EIX 10" 1/300 @ f 11.
26/4 runs 1, 2, 7 & 10 Kuark-McKenzie. Landed Mallacoota.
26/4 transit Mallacoota-ML.

May 1962.

I crewed in 11 flights this month with a total of 22 hours 15 minutes in AGA and same crew as April.

1/5 5 runs Myrtleford @ 3680' RC7 noted (2 flights oil!).
6/5 attempt Mt.Useful,
11/5 attempt Mt.Useful,
14/5 attempt Mt.Useful.
14/5 did 4 individual photos (P.Ps) of mental institutions around Melbourne, Kew, Bundoora, Cresswell, & Plenty, at 2200' to 2400' RC7 1/200 f5.6, plus 3 single shots around Ringwood.
19/5 attempt Mt.Useful-Mt.Skene.
19/5 attempt transit ML-Merimbula, Engine problem.
26/5 attempt transit ML-Merimbula, Radio problem.
26/5 transit ML-Merimbula.
27/5 runs 1 to 6 + run 8 Kuark-McKenzie.
30/5 Transit Merimbula-Melbourne


I crewed in 19 flights this month with a total of 33 hours 15 minutes in AGA and same crew as May.

1/6 transit ML-Merimbula.
2/6, 3/6 and 4/6 attempt Orbost.
5/6 Run 1 Orbost @ 13,000' RC5 4.5".
5/6 Runs 1 to 10 Cann Valley H'Way. Proj. @ 6000' = datum EIX 10' 1/300 @ f 8.
6/6 attempt Orbost.
7/6 attempt Orbost, landed Mallacoota.
7/6 landed Merimbula and 8/6, all attempts Orbost.
8/6 Runs 3 & 5a Orbost (Cirrus).
9/6 attempt Kuark-McKenzie.
9/6 transit Merimbula ML noted WEATHER!
12/6 Trial on Sirex Wasp areas Dandenong @ 4000' and Frankston @ 8000 EIX 6" 1/150 @ f 5.6, with Kodak Ektachrome Aerial Film (High Contrast) and Kodak Ektachrome Aerial Film (Camouflage Detection). See Navigating the Anson for further information on this story.
20/6 2 attempt flights, first Mt.Skene-Useful and 2nd Yallourn Morwell Open Cuts.
23/6 survey Yallourn & Morwell Open Cuts 5 runs in all @ 3100', 4300' and 6100' RC7 4".
27/6 attempt Gembrook,
27/6 survey Gembrook @ 13,500' RC5.

July 1962.

I crewed in 5 flights this month with a total of 13 hours 50 minutes with same aircraft and crew as June.

7/72 runs Mt.Skene-Useful.
8/7 runs 5,7,8 & 9, Kuark-McKenzie, landed Mallacoota.
8/7 Gaps 7 & 8a Kuark-McKenzie Ck. landed ML.
10/7 8 runs surveyed 4 areas Western District, landed Hamilton.
10/7, transit Hamilton-ML, noted LOST LAST LIGHT, obviously found the "lights", landed and got away with it as we are always VFR.

August 1962.

I have noted returned to Sydney 14/7/62, not sure whether I drove up! I only crewed in 4 flights this month with a total of 8 hours 10 minutes. All flights were in Hudson VH-AGX, Wal Bowles skip first flight and Ted McKenzie the next 3. I have nominated "Jones" as the cam-op all flights, but I can't remember his details.

16/8 attempt Milton-Moruya and survey 1 run Lake Illawarra @ 7000' EIX 6".
17/8 attempt single shot areas.
18/8 Northern Constructions 2 runs @ 7000' EIX 6", plus Single Shots Vales Point, Wangi, Black Ned Bay @ 10,000' EIX 6".
23/8 Milton-Bega Transmission Line 4 runs @ 11,000'.

Nil flights were logged for September 1962.

October 1962.

I crewed in 3 flights this month with a total of 6 hours 45 minutes. First 2 flights in Hudson VH-SMO with Ted McKenzie as skip, and Keith Cooper the 3rd flight. John Collins was cam-op last 2 flights.

9/10 Air Test and delivery Camden-SY with Les Sheffield and Gwynn Davies also with us.
11/10 11 runs Canberra, I noted (DUFF), I am pretty sure that this is where I found that the 10" Aldis Sight was not configured correctly for the EIX 10" lens. Took a while to prove but finally confirmed accepted by the "Powers".

November 1962.

I crewed in 11 flights in November with a total of 20 hours 25 minutes all in Hudson VH-SMM. Based in Melbourne all November, the Skip was Keith Cooper up until 23/11 and Max Garroway from the 27/11. With Keith's flights we flew 11 runs Scoresby and 8 runs Cranbourne with RC7 4" @ 4,000' plus datum, 1 run Warburton East and 2 runs McMahon's Creek with RC5 4½" @ 5,500' also with the RC5 we flew 5 runs Ararat-Beaufort and 3 runs Stanwell-Avoca @ 13,400'. Also flew 5 P.Ps (Principal Points) on a run at Paisley Coal Storage with the RC7 @ 1,615'. From 27/11 we flew 5 runs on Stawell-Avoca, 3 runs Scoresby and 6 runs Cranbourne and reflew the Paisley Coal Storage again because of previous under exposure, not sure what it was on the previous sortie but the accepted contract exposure was 1/250th @ f5.6.

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RETURN of WORK IN HAND sheet giving up to date information on Runs, Height, Camera and settings, plus other details for VH-SMM and crew as at 17/11/62. This is a copy of the "carbon copy" of the original and I have gone over text details to enhance for better reading.

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(Click for larger image)

Original FLIGHT SHEET that John Collins detailed on our 16/11/62 sortie in VH-SMM. Notice Doodling (or close Biro run out). John (or Cam-ops) did neater finished Flight Sheets to accompany films when dispatched to H.O. The navigator used these sheets for calculating the indicated height to be flown for the actual true height result.

December 1962.

I crewed for 6 flights in December with a total of 9 hours 45 minutes all in Hudson VH-SMM. Based in Melbourne this month with Max Garroway as Skip, myself as nav, John Collins as Camera-op and Don Beal Engineer. We flew 9 runs Geelong Base Map with RC7 4" @ 4,100', 2 runs Yallourn 3 Loy Yang Prelim. RC7 10,900', couple of attempts Paisley, 1 I noted very rough, and 1 Beech Forest (2 P.Ps) RC7 @ 8,200' (note exposure 1/200th @ f5.6). Five runs on Geelong Base Map Project, and the last flight Paisley and Beech Forest (nothing noted).

January 1963.

I crewed in 12 flights for a total of 31 hours 55 minutes during January, all in Hudson VH-SMM. The crew still Max Garroway pilot, myself nav., John Collins camera op, and Don Beal engineer.

8/1 two jobs, 3 Runs Yallourn Open Cut, and Reeves Channel.
9/1 Transit ML-HB and
10/1 HB-DVN where we based for the rest of the month.
12/1 Attempt Hydro SW (I marked RC8 O'lap Reg!)
19/1 Road attempt, gusts up to 30k.
21/1 Hydro SW 11Runs @ 6000'
21/1 Beaconsfield Quamby C Tie.
22/1 Beaconsfield Quamby Runs 1-7 and S Tie.
23/1 Road job 16 Runs (4.1, 4.2, 4.3 & 4.4) landed Hobart.
24/1 Transit HB-DVN.
30/1 Forestry Proj. 2.
31/1 Hydro SW 8 Runs (2lenses!).

Many Adastra crews were based in Devonport at times and besides being well looked after by the publican and his wife, it was an interesting area to explore while not surveying. It was the port for the Princess of Tasmania drive on vessel plying between Melbourne and Devonport, where some Adastra crew members were "press ganged" to join a couple of times which I think should be dubbed "volunteered" as their stories did not include hardship. It was also a place where the CSIRO set up a testing area for growing those huge Japanese Cold Water Oysters. I will quote my story as passed on. Two men were chosen by the CSIRO to do this, but although a great start was made, the men were gradually tempted by more satisfying pursuits in town and the beds gradually deteriorated with some of the oysters finding beds in the Mersey River. Our crews took advantage of this and used to go out and collect "sugar bags" full of the oysters and relished the final eating of such in many cooking ways apart from fresh from the shell. I don't know how things stand nowadays, but some Adastra crewmembers owe a heap of thanks to the two men! Three photos of Devonport interest follow.

Our truck returning to base after collecting some large oysters from a broken down deserted oyster lease. Pavlich sitting in the back of truck with oyster ear phones and Max Garroway standing by waiting to get back and devour the collection.
Photo: John Collins

After leaving Melbourne, the (drive-on, drive-off) Princess of Tasmania is proceeding up the Mersey River before docking to discharge tourists, vehicles and cargo at Devonport.

I may be incorrect but I think the area is Ironstone Mountain in the Great Western Tiers in northern central Tasmania. We were returning to Devonport in Hudson VH-SMM after some south Tassy work with Max Garroway as skip and John Collins as cam-op. I took the photo initially because I thought it was a wonderful vista and also I thought it unusual to see snow still laying about this time of the year.


February 1963.

I crewed in 11 flights for a total of 22 hours 50 minutes during February, all in Hudson VH-SMM. Wal Bowles was our new Skip, myself as nav, John Collins as camera-op and Don Beal engineer until Melbourne when Bill Mitchell took over.

6/2 Transit DVN-ML,
7/2 Cranbourne RC7,
7/2 (2nd flight) 2 runs Geelong Base Map RC7,
12/2 two PPs Beech Forest then 9 runs Geelong Base Map,
14/2 attempt Stanley Plantation.
16/7 14 runs Geelong B/Map.
20/2 E IX, Reeves Channel, Cann Valley and Stanley Plantation.
21/2 attempt Metro Farm.
23/2 RC5 Ballarat City 8 runs, R13 W Tie "Buangor",
25/2 RC5 Metropolitan Farm Project 8runs.
26/2 Geelong B/Map 3 runs.

March 1963.

I crewed in 7 flights for a total of 15 hours in March the first six in Hudson VH-SMM and the last flight in another Fairfax leased aircraft VH-SMO. The pilot for the month was Wal Bowles, myself as nav. the first six flights with John Collins and the first 6 flights with Bill Mitchell as engineer. The last flight was Hubert as cam-op and Don Beal as engineer.

3/3 Geelong B/Map 6 runs plus Vermont & Payens Specials with RC7,
5/3 E IX Hazelwood Power Station 5 runs,
7/3 Attempt Torongo Plateau (with Hubert)
8/3 Same as 7/3,
12/3 RC8 Attempt Melbourne Nth. Proj.
13/3 same as 12/3. With memory not responding as to why, I have noted Canberra Base on the line after 13/3 and I feel that because of our last flight on 31/3 being in SMO that we (being Bowles, Pavlich, Hubert and Mitchell) flew civil to Canberra from Melbourne The 31/3 flight was 7runs South Adaminiby 16,000' with E IX 10' lens. I have noted (Drift Sight) and remember after a few checks and final communication to Ted McKenzie that we became aware that the sight was calibrated incorrectly.

April 1963.

I crewed in 13 flights for a total of 40 hours in April all in Hudson VH-SMO. The crew remained as Bowles pilot, myself nav. Hubert cam-op and Beal as engineer

1/4 Attempt Sth. Adaminaby
5/1 15 runs Sth. Adaminaby
6/4 8 runs Sth. Adaminaby
15/4 5 runs Sth. Adaminaby
16/4 Transit CANB-SYD (Base)
17/4 13 runs Yalmy Forrestry and landed Merimbula.
17/4 Transit Merimbula- Sydney
18/4 transit Sydney to Bourke (Base)
20/4 5 runs Mitchell H'way (Floods).
20/4 Bourke to Brisbane (Base)
21/4 3 runs Moonie Pipeline 17,000' and 6 runs Sandgate Sewerage 2,400'.
22/4 3 runs Moonie Pipeline.
23/4 3 runs Sandgate Sewerage. I noted that I flew TAA Electra BN-SY 25/4/63

May 1963.

I crewed in 3 flights with a total of 5 hours 15 minutes during May all in Hudson VH-SMO.

16/5 4 runs Lake Illawarra with Lionel Van Praag skip with Bushby (cam- op) Ted McKenzie (I guess checking) and Lionel and myself nav.
17/5 Test for RC9 attitude, with Ted McKenzie as skip, Bushby cam-op and self nav.
20/5 Transit SY-ML (Base).

June 1963.

I crewed in 7 (Adastra) flights for a total of 10 hours 35 minutes. The first 3 flights were in Hudson VH-SMO and the last 4 flights in Hudson VH-AGX. Lionel Van Praag was skip in the first 3 flights as was Bill Mitchell engineer and myself as nav., but John Collins was in the first 2 flights only.

1/6 RC5 Healsville Freeway 5000' also same day we flew again for nav. training of John Collins.
5/6 Transit Melbourne, (we planned for Sydney but landed Moruya). I put "Wow" in my log, but the story of Wow is (or will be) in David Vincent's "The RAAF Hudson Story" (Book 2). After this flight, because Lionel had Les Sheffield come down to Moruya to look at the electrical system (and I have since learned that Trevor was with him), I have noted that I flew Airlines of NSW DC-3 Moruya to Sydney on the 6/6/63. Also flew Sydney to Pt. Moresby ANA DC-6 12/6/63. I was now Pt. Moresby based with AGX with Keith Cooper as the Skip, myself as nav. Tony Burgess cam/op and Des Hardy engineer. Part of our work was APR for the Army and we had a Canadian operator Doug Scott for this. We, apart from Keith, had thrown in and rented quarters at Koki Village.

13/6 APR attempt but aborted through weather.
21/6 this time attempt aborted by u/s APR gear.
22/6 APR test. And last flight was also an APR test.

July 1963.

I crewed in 12 flights in July with a total of 35 hours 50 minutes. The crew and aircraft (AGX) were the same as last month.

1/7 APR 4 runs 460 line miles at 23,000'.
2/7 APR attempt oxy trouble.
3/7 APR 6 lines 623 line miles.
4/7 APR 8 runs.
8/7 APR 1 run.
9/7 APR 2 runs.
13/7 attempt Photo.
14/7 Survey R5360 Mt. Thompson, Bailebo and Abau 360 Sq miles, 25,000'.
17/7 photo attempt.
18/7 R1A and 2A Ormond 25,000' 150 Sq miles.
23/7 attempt APR.
31/7 attempt APR.

The last day of July and the first two days of August 1963, I was endeavouring for a deal conferring with the "powers" at Adastra that I would stop on in New Guinea longer than our original deal (which had finished) for an extra Two Pounds a week, this wasn't agreed to so I left Adastra and flew back to Sydney with Des Hardy who decided to leave at the same time. My excess baggage would have catered what I had asked for for 12 months. Only conclusion, penny wise – pound foolish.

After resigning from Adastra, I was still involved occasionally selling Dupont Aerial Film and other Dupont products to them. Adastra called me up at odd times to do some moonlighting navigation and camera operating. I didn't record all of them. The biggest item follows.

7/5/65 to 21/5/65. Based at Weipa Qld and camping in a tent in the Comalco Compound with Comalco catering food for the crew. I had only been with P. Rowe International Pty. Limited for a couple of months selling Dupont Aerial film plus other Dupont sensitized drafting and Graphic Arts large format film to Adastra when they rang Rowe's office and asked if they could spare me for 10 days to do navigating on an oil aerial survey project using Raydist Navigation. P. Rowe Int. P/L agreed after setting out specific wages and purchase of extra Dupont Aerial Aerial Film.

Apparently, a crew had been there for some months and little, if any, work had been accomplished. I'd never done this type of navigation work which was virtually armchair navigation done by using pre correlated figures sent out by radio signals from two stations along the western coast of Cape York Peninsula, Duifken Point (Red Station) manned by Fred and Nancy Ellis, and Archer River (Green Station) manned by Trevor Sheffield. To provide equipment and necessities for the outstations, Adastra had contracted a cabin cruiser owned by a young U.S.citizen Marion (and partner) Candy Hegarty; we knew the story of John Wayne and "Marion", so we didn't go into upsetting the big bloke.

The survey was flown over water in the Gulf of Carpentaria at 4000'. Consequently, survey lines had to be determined by radio signals transmitted from the "red" and "green" stations and received at the navigator's console. These were correlated with the written predetermined positions on a chart, and the resultant information was provided by the navigator as degree headings to steer to the pilot and to the technician with the navigator's instruction of line start. Briefly, the whole area was identified by the signals and was covered by the navigator following the issued predetermined chart positions giving corrected headings for the pilot to steer on each line.

I arrived at Weipa from Sydney via Ansett-ANA the same day that a new pilot named Miles Lewis arrived from New Guinea to join Adastra. The second pilot was George Crutchfield who had been there for a while, the Raydist man was a US operator who went back to the US after a couple of days, and the technician was "Bluebeard" Bringolf but I can't remember the engineer's name.

The aircraft was the Adastra DC-3 VH-AGU, and the contract was finally completed after a 7 day extension from P. Rowe for Pavlich to help finish the job. Miles asked if I would like a quick visit to somewhere in the Cape area as he said that I helped make it a good contract completion. I replied that I'd really like to see Thursday Island (TI) before I turned up my toes and away we went; landed at Horn Island and ferried across to TI.

I overnighted on 20/5 and appreciated capturing the novelty of the place, but I guess the best advertisement for TI came to me through a chap I was sitting with in the bar of the hotel where I was staying. He mentioned that someone had told him that we were a part of an aerial survey team working from Weipa. I confirmed this and gave him a (watered) rundown of what we were up to. I then asked whom he was with, and he said the PMG (Post Master General's Department (the Federal Government predecessor of Telstra and Australia Post). When I asked how long he had been living in TI, he said that the PMG had sent him up from Melbourne on a two week job six years before and he hadn't been back since (and added no intention to!). I said, what a great life, and added that if I wasn't married I would have done the same. He replied that he was married, and although he hadn't seen his wife and family again, he felt that the money he sends back keeps them as happy as he is. One couldn't say he wasn't taken by the TI! I flew back from TI (Horn Island) on the 21/5/65 per Ansett to Sydney. I have included three photos of the Weipa area.

Taken from Adastra DC-3 VH-AGU over the Weipa strip at about 4000' at 9am. AGU parked and was refueled near the entrance to the Comalco camp on the south end. In the middle are Company private homes and at the northern end is the Weipa Mission.

This is where the first European (Dutch) set foot on Terra Australis soil in 1606, it was William Janzoon in the Dutch ship Duifken who sailed the ship into the Gulf of Carpentaria. Duifken Point was the RED radio transmitting station (manned by Fred and Nancy Ellis for our oil survey in AGU), Archer River (further down the coast) was the GREEN signal station (manned by Trevor Sheffield). I didn't go ashore, but Marion Hegarty, skip of the launch Alaskan did with supplies.

Don't worry too much of the man's name being Marion, we remembered John (Duke) Wayne's initial name being Marion so didn't bother the big Skip of the Alaskan about names! We are on deck of the launch (chartered by Adastra to supply the outstations) between Duifken Point and Weipa and have landed a Grey Nurse shark and Groper, (the latter will fill a plate). We had to shoot the shark with a .303 to finally get it on board.

When I arrived at Thursday Island wharf off the ferry from Horn Island I photographed this Lugger showing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander seaman preparing to "let go" and head for where they earn their money.

A couple of other flights included but lacking some information.

28/5/68. Cessna 320 VH-DRK. John Rellaide pilot, Dick Rudd and myself; I have marked 10 runs Botany Bay and Blacktown 17,000' 3 hours.

3/6/68. I was not sure of aircraft, Roy Williams was the pilot and the job was "Tests for Navy – RANAS Nowra" 3 hours.

14/6/70 Cessna 185 VH-AGE Lionel Van Praag 4 runs Coalcliff 3.30

I sincerely hope that information and pictures that I have included in this project has tended to break what really could be a somewhat dull detail read.

Kevin Pavlich

November. 2006

All photos are from the Kevin Pavlich Collection unless otherwise stated.