Sunday History Photo / NSW

Submitted: Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 05:16
ThreadID: 103710 Views:3176 Replies:7 FollowUps:6
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You don't see them much nowadays - hardly any at all in fact. Lasting little more than 12 years, the golden age of the flying boat in Australian aviation history was as brief as it was dramatic. Luxurious Empire Class flying boats that were designed to open international air routes and strengthen ties within the British Empire became targets of Japanese attacks on Australian soil during the World War II. Flying boats set records, suffered tragedy and played a crucial role in keeping Australia connected with the outside world. Following the war, however, the development of longer-range land-based aircraft signaled a slow demise in the role of the flying boat in commercial aviation.
None of the truly wonderful Empire Class flying boats nor hardy Catalinas that were once native to Rose Bay remain here. A small commemorative plaque is all that exists to remind passers by of a bygone era in aquatic aviation. It was a time when trans-oceanic flight was a novelty. A time when flying boats were symbols of modernity and luxury; when international travel was not simply a matter of getting from point A to point B, but an adventure.




Rose Bay was named after the Right Honourable George Rose, who was joint Secretary to the British Treasury with Thomas Steele, after whom Steel(e) Point at Nielsen Park was named.
Rose Bay was also used to train over 3,000 Australian sailors, many for service in World War I.
From 1938, seaplanes landed in Sydney Harbour on Rose Bay, making this Sydney's first international airport. On 14 September 1945, nine Catalina flying boats landed and moored at the Rose Bay wharf, repatriating Australian POWs, survivors of Japanese camps. Sydney siders looked on in silence, aghast at the emaciated state of the returning soldiers. There is a nearby restaurant called Catalina, referencing the aircraft of the same name.

From the 1950s Ansett Flying Boat Services operated regular scheduled flights to Lord Howe Island from a small seaplane terminal and jetty on the Rose Bay foreshore. Latterly the flights were operated by four-engined Short Sandringhams. The service was discontinued in 1974 when the island's new airport was completed.





The Wintergarden Cinema was a landmark building which housed the Sydney Film Festival from 1968 to 1973, but which was demolished to make way for exclusive apartments in the late 1980s.

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Reply By: Erad - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 07:08

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 07:08
There is a magnificent example of a Catalina on display (from memory at Lake Boga near Swan Hill). I would be interested to hear about its history and the history of the base where the plane is parked.
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Follow Up By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 08:22

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 08:22
Thanks Doug

Agree with Erad that the Lake Boga museum is well worth a visit if in the area.

Alan
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Follow Up By: Member - mechpete - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 15:29

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 15:29
if you want to know more about Lake Boga
there is a book , Lake Boga at war , by Brett Freeman
its a good read with plenty of photos , it was a very busy place
an the reason why they picked Boga . the museum has had hundereds of Ks dollars spent on it ,the plane is now inside the museum cheers mechpete
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Reply By: Bushranger1 - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 07:42

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 07:42
Hi Doug,
Thanks for the interesting topic about the Catalina
You might be interested to know that I do some work from time to time at the Amberley RAAF base in QLD & due to my interest in aircraft some of the guys there would keep me updated on the progress of the Boston Bomber & Catalina that they were restoring.
I even got to sit in the gun turrets & I can tell you I admire the guys who fought in these aircraft. Not only would it be cold & noisy you would be getting bullets fired at you too! Very different than sipping a Latte in a modern passenger plane.

Here is a link to the Catalina Restoration

Catalina Restoration

Cheers
Stu
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 08:33

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 08:33
Stu
Thanks for the link, most interesting, There is one at the Qantas Museum at Longreach .

Doug
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Follow Up By: Bushranger1 - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 08:53

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 08:53
Yea I will have to get to the Longreach Museum. I missed it on both our big trips.

The Catalina does not have a gun turret on the bottom for obvious reasons but the Boston Bomber they were doing up did. Something I did not realise that if you are in one of the top turrets you can duck the bullets but if you in in the bottom turret you can't really get out the way!
The guys in those old aircraft were amazing. It puts things into perspective when you hear people complain about modern aircraft being late or a bit of turbulence.

Cheers
Stu
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Follow Up By: Honky - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 11:02

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 11:02
The one at Longreach has a bit of history.
If I remember the guides information I understand it was used under secrecy in PNG during the war and the pilots could not talk about their missions. They even had to put up with being called cowards as they able bodied men that seemed to not being involved in the war.
When the Museum got it, it was last used to fight fires.

Honky
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Reply By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 11:37

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 11:37
Great one again Doug, check this linkhttp://www.news.com.au/travel/qantas-flying-boats-was-air-travel-more-fun-in-the-1930s/story-e6frfq7r-1226694806067 on news.com today. hoo roo
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Reply By: Sinkas - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 12:04

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 12:04
Thanks Doug for your fantastic articles. A Catalina flew at this years Avalon Airshow. It is this machine currently under restoration. - http://hars.org.au/2013/02/hars-caribous-connie-and-catalina-to-appear-at-avalon-international-airshow/

Photo link (hopefully it works) https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/mW7Znq9xAMwdnY_3rzK83Dl083TaJB-HGo_9rQD70rM?feat=directlink
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Reply By: Member - ken m4 - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 12:26

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 12:26
thanks Doug. While walking around the water front at Bowen Queensland recently I took in a Display commemorating the flying boats involvement in WW2. A very informative 15 minutes read both at Bowen and this history lesson
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 01:43

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 01:43
Next weekend there will be a gathering to commemorate the Cats at Bowen and the 70th anniversary of one that crashed off the coast here.
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Reply By: Member - Coldee - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:05

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:05
There was a regular service using Sunderlands from Sydney to Grafton. Information about the service can be found by visiting the Grafton Historical Society in Grafton.

http://www.clarencehistory.org.au/flyingboats.html
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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 02:05

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 02:05
Just to add to the types of planes landing at Rose Bay. It was mainly a civil base outside war time and not many Cats would have been seen there. The British ones before WW2 would have been the Short Empire. These were developed in parallel with military versions called the Sunderland. After the war the Sunderlands were converted to Sndringhams.
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