Last updated 20.6.16

Compiled by Geoff Goodall

Still going strong. 1935 model DH.85 Leopard Moth VH-UUL at Kilcoy Qld in February 2016.       Photo by Ian McDonell

    Designed by De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd in 1933 as a private owner aircraft as a successor to the DH.80 Puss Moth.  Of generally similar design and dimensions, the Puss Moth's metal fuselage frame was replaced by spruce and plywood construction which was cheaper to build and weight saving allowed an extra passenger, making the Leopard Moth a comfortable 3 seater. It was powered by the more powerful 130hp DH Gipsy Major engine, which gave a better performance in speed and range to the Puss Moth.

    A production run of 132 DH.85 Leopard Moths commenced at De Havilland's works at Stag Lane Aerodrome, Edgeware, where the prototype was first flown 27 May 1933. With the closing of Stag Lane, DH.85 production was transferred to the company's Hatfield factory during 1934.

     Later production Leopard Moths replaced the fuselage flat sides with longitudinal stringers to add contours to the sides. However all production retained the same designation DH.85.

Restored cabin of VH-UUL in February 2016.      Photo by Ian McDonell
   A total of ten Leopard Moths were registered in Australia, all arriving pre-World War II.  During the war, the type escaped impressment by RAAF as communications aircraft during the war because most were owned by pastoralists or otherwise supporting essential wartime production of meat and wool. These continued to fly on wartime fuel rations, whilke others were retired for the duration.

   This listing is presented in order of appearance on the Civil Register:

                 C/n 7021                                                                                                                                     VH-URK, VH-AJN

Built by De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd at Stag Lane
First flight
British CofA issued: De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW

Shipped to Australia

Assembled at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd
First flight Mascot by A. Murray-Jones of DH Aircraft
Australian Registration application: De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney NSW
Registered VH-URK
CofA issued
Change of ownership: James V. Fairbairn, Mount Elephant, Derrinallum Vic
Jim Fairbairn was a Member of the House of Representatives in Federal Parliament, Canberra and a keen private aviator.
Test flown Melbourne Airport, Coode Island Vic after CofA renewal overhaul by Larkin Aircraft Supply Co, pilot J. V. Fairbairn
De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Mascot installed an opening in the fuselage to allow owner to stow a spare propeller.  After modification completed, J. V. Fairbairn departed Mascot next day
Test flown Essendon after CofA renewal by Matthews Aviation, pilot J.V. Fairbairn
Change of ownership: Charles Osborne Fairbairn, "Banonbill" farm, Skipton Vic
Test flown Essendon after CofA renewal by Matthews Aviation, pilot C.O. Fairbairn
Damaged on landing "Logans Downs", Clermont Qld due landing area soft surface from recent rain,
pilot C. Osborne Fairbairn was unhurt.

Moved to Mascot for repair by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd
Test flown Mascot after rebuild, pilot A. Murray-Jones of DH Aircraft
Test flown Essendon after CofA renewal by Matthews Aviation, pilot C.O. Fairbairn
Minor modifications by Victorian & Interstate Airways, Essendon signed off by Chief Engineer J. Hart
Test flown Essendon by C.O. Fairbairn after CofA renewal by Ansett Airways
CofA renewed at RAAF Station, Ballarat Vic where Wing Commander C. O. Fairbairn was stationed
CofA renewed at Essendon
Change of ownership: Major Geoffrey Cohen, Melbourne Vic
Major Cohen requested a fuel ration to ferry the aircraft from Ballarat to Essendon
CofA renewed at Essendon
CofA renewed at Essendon
Change of ownership: Robert S. White, "Eskdale", Toogoolawah via Esk Qld
Delivered from Essendon to Esk by Mr. W.B.Campbell
Inspected by DCA while parked in Qantas hangar at Archerfield. A number of defects were reported and aircraft was stated to be in unsatisfactory condition. Promptly repaired.

DCA report: White keeps the aircraft at Archerfield and does not employ a pilot. When he requires the aircraft he arranges to have it flown by an available pilot from Archerfield to Eskdale to collect him. After each trip it is returned to hangar storage ar Archerfield.
CofA renewed at Archerfield
Damaged in forced landing Kempsey NSW
DCA report: VH-URK has arrived at Archerfield for accident repairs
Change of ownership: Keith A. Virtue, Brisbane Qld.  Purchased in damaged condition
Virtue advises DCA that rebuild will commence soon by Air Repair Co at Archerfield
Struck-off Register
Restored to Register: Keith A. Virtue, Brisbane Qld
CofA renewed at Archerfield after rebuild
CofA renewed at Archerfield
Change of ownership: Max B. Bushell, "Dundee" Station, Morven, via Charleville Qld
CofA renewed at Archerfield
Damaged on landing at "Dundee" Station, Morven Qld
Repair has commenced
Repair delayed while waiting for parts from UK
Change of ownership: David E. Cameron, Brisbane Qld, later "The Grange", Nanango Qld
Aircraft magazine advertisement: Airwork Co Pty Ltd, Archerfield offers for sale:
DH.89, DH.85, Miles Mercury, Mk.5 Auster, Lockheed 12.
Change of ownership: Airwork Pty Ltd, Archerfield Aerodrome, Brisbane Qld
Re-registered and change of ownership: VH-AJN:  A. Nixon, Brisbane Qld
Change of ownership: Ian T. Hunter, Brisbane Qld
Struck-off Register as withdrawn from service
Restored to Register VH-AJN: C. J. Adams, Grafton NSW
Struck-off Register as withdrawn from service
Restored to Register VH-AJN: C. J. Adams, Grafton NSW
Change of ownership: D. Quinn, Toowoomba Qld
Change of ownership: R. J. Baartz, Bowenville Qld
Change of ownership: Daniel K. McLardy, Toowoomba Qld
Destroyed in hangar fire at Toowoomba Qld.  A total of five aircraft were destroyed when fire burnt out the Union Air hangar at Toowoomba Airport, including Auster VH-RJL, Beech Baron VH-RUU, and Beech Queenair VH-EZM.
Struck-off Register

Essendon Aerodrome, Melbourne circa 1935.                                 Photo:  Civil Aviation Historical Society

Archerfield Aerodorme, Brisbane circa 1950.                                                              Photo by Gus Gruelke

Reregistered VH-AJN by a later owner, seen at Archerfield in 1965.           Photo: Geoff Goodall collection

                   C/n 7084                                                                                                                                   VH-USK
Built by De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd at Stag Lane
British CofA issued: De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW

Shipped to Australia

Assembled at Mascot by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd
Australian Registration application: John James Thorpe, Armadale WA
To be based Maylands Aerodrome, Perth
Registered VH-USK
Australian CofA issued
Departed Mascot on delivery flight to Perth, flown by J.J.Thorpe. Overnighted Adelaide
Arrived at Maylands Aerodrome, Perth on delivery flight, after spending the previous night at Kalgoorlie. Thorpe said the Leopard Moth was the "Rolls Royce of the Air". He would use the aircraft for his private use.
Change of ownership: P. H. Moody t/a P. H. Moody Air Taxis, Rockhampton Qld
Moody departed Maylands on delivery flight to Rockhampton
Change of owner's name: Air Taxis Pty Ltd, Rockhampton Qld. (Manager P. H. Moody)
Change of ownership: Eric P. Beresford, Cunnamulla Qld
Beresford wrote to DCA: VH-USV is based at Cunnamulla, 600 miles inland, and must be flown significant distances to have mandatory inspections. With petrol rationing soon to be imposed due to the war situation, he seeks advice.
DCA Brisbane office replied with the self-evident advice that annual CofA renewals could be carried out at Archerfield Aerodrome, Brisbane by Royal Queensland Aero Club, Qantas Empire Airways,
Aircrafts Pty Ltd or Airlines of Australia.
CofA expired. Retired at Cunnamulla.
DCA investigate reports VH-USV is flying without a current CofA. Eric Beresford responded that the aircraft is maintained in good condition and has been flown for "only essential purposes on my own property".
CofA renewed at Cunnamulla by DCA aircraft inspector H. Affleck
Flown Cunnamulla to Warwick Qld by E. Beresford, taking his two daughters to their school. In a press report Mr. beresford said the 4 hour flight was preferrable to two days by train.
Change of ownership: Roy L. Beresford, "Farnham Downs" Station, Eulo Qld 
Roy is Eric Beresford's brother.
Roy Beresford wrote to DCA complaining in strongest terms over the Air Navigation Charges he is required to pay when the aircraft is based on his own property, using airstrips he has built. It is used for aerial mustering of sheep.
More correspondence between Roy Beresford and DCA regarding charges and requirements for aircraft inspections. Beresford states that his pilot is Mr. Colin Young, but conditions on the land are so bad that he will soon have to cease his employment and sell his sheep flock
Crashed "Curragh" Station, Cunnamulla Qld.
(Anecdotal reports say aircraft crashed at night, pilot flying while intoxicated)
Owner advises DCA that he has no intention of rebuilding the aircraft
Struck-off Register

Acquired as a restoration project by Greg Challinor t/a Mothcair Aviation, Murwillumbah NSW.
Fuselage complete with fabric covering standing on its landing gear, all silver.
Arrived by road at Caboolture airfield near Briusbane from Cunnamulla. Stored in hangar at Caboolture

Greg Challinor wrote in 1997: "VH-USK had been damaged in 1950 and stored as a source of spares for UVF. Luckily for USK, the need for parts did not arise and when I obtained it, it was very much the same as it would have been after its 1950 accident."
noted at Mothcair Aviation hangar at Murwillumbah NSW, fuselage standing on its gear, large fuselage registration
under restoration at Murwillumbah
Restored to Register VH-USK: Gregory P. Challinor, Stokers Siding NSW
VH-USK noted at Murwillumbah, restoration to fly almost completed. Painted glossy red with black trim. All that was needed were engine cowlings which had been contracted out to be fabricated.
The cowlings were installed the following month
Change of ownership: Ardmore Aviation Services Ltd, c/- Hong Kong
Operator:  Warwick M. Woinarski, Redckiffe Qld

Based at Redcliffe Qld, owner reported as New Zealander Mark Jack
Late 15

Archerfield 1938. "Captain P.H.Moody"on the fuselage under the wings emblem. Note the contours to the
fuselage sides, rather than the usual flat sides.                                 Photo: Frank Walters collection

VH-USK after restoration, in the Mothcair hangar at Murwillumbah in May 2009.  Photo by Nev French

                   C/n 7086                                                                                                                                        VH-USM

Built at Stag Lane by De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd. 
Civil Aviation Branch allocated registration VH-USM for a new DH.85 at the request of De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney
First flight at Stag Lane
British CofA issued: De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW

Shipped to Australia
Assembled at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd
Testflown Mascot after assembly
Registration application: John W. F. Collins, "Nindooinbah" Station, Beaudesert Qld
Registered VH-USM
Australian CofA issued
Collins had wireless and Direction Finding gear installed, wheel spats and polished Fairey Reed propeller
Collins flew VH-USM from "Nindooinbah" Station, Beaudesert to Sydney and return on the same day on a business trip.
Refuelled at Longreach Qld, Mr. J. W. F. Collins carrying two passengers from Camooweal to Sydney
Collins requested CAB approval to have self-retracting landing lights fitted. Installation approved.
Flown over Vruisbane city at night by Collins
Change of ownership: Clive A. Knudsen, "Bonna" Station, Bundaberg Qld

Maintained continuously airworthy until 1948 by Knudsen, annual CofA renewal inspections being carried out on schedule
Arrived Cairns from Cloncurry and Normanton, flown by C.A.Knudsen and S. Howard. Departed next day for Bundaberg.
Ferried Bundaberg to Archerfield for CofA renewal. Aircraft has not yet been painted in camouflage as required under wartime regulations for civil aircraft
Change of ownership: Robert Lauder (Junior), "Melray" Station, Cunnamulla Qld
DCA approved a short-term extension to CofA after a telegram from Lauder: "will be unable to give USM a CofA for at least two months. Floods and rain have disorganised work on the property."
CofA expired, not renewed. Stored on "Melray" Station
Struck-off Register as withdrawn from service

Later owner Greg Challinor wrote in 1997: "VH-USM had been owned by Robert Lauder in Cunnamulla. In the early 1950s the aeropane had been slightly damaged. While awaiting repairs its hangar partly collapsed damaging it further. It was then dismantled and stored on the open verandah of the property causing further deterioration over the years."
Derelict remains acquired by George Sutherland, Gympie Qld
Comprised forward fuselage, sections of wing and tail structures plus smaller parts
The airframe remains were moved by road from Cunnamulla to Gympie Qld
Sold to Gregory P. Challinor, Murwillumbah NSW at an auction at Gympie of George Sutherland's vintage aircraft collection: by then VH-USM comprised a collection of airframe sections and metal fittings only
Parts collection moved by road from Gympie to Murwillumbah NSW
VH-USM’s remains noted at Murwillumbah in the Challinor hangar

Greg Challinor writes: "When I bought VH-USM and brought it home it was a very sad sight. The fuselage was reduced to many bits of spruce with the metal fittings still attached. Mainplanes and tail surfaces were pretty much intact. Undercarriage, lift struts etc were thankfully in good condition. After going through the box of parts, surprisingly little was missing.
After a few years of much thought and very little work on USM due to other rebuild commitments, a chance came to purchase another Leopard VH-USK, along with the fuselage of another VH-UVF.
Since VH-USM requires near total wood replacement, it will be put aside for a later restoration, while USK & UVF are under current restoration."
Stored in the Mothcair hangar at Murwillumbah NSW, pending long-term restoration project
Fuselage restoration at Murwillumbah, based on a new-build fuselage shell utilising the metal components from the original VH-USM

Restored fuselage sold to England
Late 2015
The fuselage and restoration package arrived from Australia in "the southern half of the United Kingdom" for the undisclosed buyer. Planned restoration to fly

This newspaper picture at Archerfield in July 1935 is the only view of VH-USM yet to be found. 
Courtesy Graeme Parsons 

                   C/n 7109                                                                                                                                   VH-UUE

Civil Aviation Branch allocated registration VH-UUE to De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney for a DH.85 to be imported. Australian registration will be applied in the factory
Built at Hatfield by De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd. 
DH.85 production was transferred to Hatfield when the DH Stag Lane works were closed during 1934
First flight at Hatfield
British CofA issued: De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW

Shipped to Australia
Assembled at Mascot by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd
Test flown at Mascot after assembly, pilot DHA Manager A. Murray Jones
Registered VH-UUE: George W. Sawtell, Sydney NSW
Australian CofA issued
Sawtell has had spats fitted to the main wheels
Departed Mascot on a leisurely around-Australia flight, pilot George Sawtell, well-known sportsman pastoralist. He will pick up J. J. Fagen at Cowra NSW. Departed Essendon Vic the next afternoon.
Departed Perth for Darwin. Then via Daly Waters, Cloncurry, Townsville to Brisbane
Arrived Sydney from Brisbane after the around-Australia flight
Test flown Mascot by G.W.Sawtell after CofA renewal overhaul by De Havilland Aircraft
Test flown Mascot by G.W.Sawtell after CofA renewal overhaul by De Havilland Aircraft
Test flown Mascot by G.W.Sawtell after CofA renewal overhaul by De Havilland Aircraft
Change of ownership: Air Taxis Pty Ltd, Connor Park aerodrome, Rockhampton Qld
c/- Captain P. H. Moody
Change of ownership: R. S. White, "Eskdale" Station, Esk Qld
Test flown Archerfield by Lex W. Winton after CofA renewal by Qantas
Test flown Archerfield by J.A.Bashford after CofA renewal by Qantas
CofA expired. Not renewed immediately due to the war situation. Stored Archerfield
CofA renewed Archerfield
CofA expired. Stored Archerfield
Change of ownership: Robert R. Lauder, "Cleland" Station, Cunnamulla Qld
CofA renewed Archerfield
Two month CofA extension requested by Lauder because sheep sheering and drought conditions were preventing him flying the aircraft to Sydney for CofA renewal overhaul. Approved by DCA.
CofA renewed at Cunnamulla. Aircraft has been resprayed all silver
DCA memo: Mr. S.D.Marshall of Marshall Airways, Mascot will visit Cunnamulla to carry out CofA renewal overhauls for DH.85s UUE & UVF and DH.87 UVV.
CofA renewed at Cunnamulla
Damaged in accident Cunnamulla Qld
Damaged in accident Wollongong NSW   Date also reported as 15.5.47
Moved to Archerfield for rebuild by Air Repair
Struck-off Register
CofA renewed at Archerfield after rebuild
Restored to Register: Robert R. Lauder, "Cleland" Station, Cunnamulla Qld
Change of ownership: Harold Lauder, "Cleland" Station, Cunnamulla Qld
Change of ownership: Walter Schulz, Hughenden Qld
Change of ownership: Peter K. Dart, "Tancred" Station, Aramac Qld
Change of ownership: Dart Pastoral Co, Hughenden Qld, later Aramac Qld
Change of ownership: William H. Taylor & R. McCartin, Mundingburra Qld
noted at Townsville, under maintenance in aero club hangar
Struck-off Register as withdrawn from service
noted Townsville Qld in aero club hangar, under active restoration by owner Harry Taylor who was a ground engineer with the aero club
Restored to Register: William Harold Taylor, Townsville Qld
noted at Townsville, outside aero club hangar having engine run by Harry Taylor. Blue and white.
noted at Townsville, in hangar with wings folded
Delivered to Wodonga Vic, ferried from Townsville in 16 hours flying time. Sold to Joe Drage
Register Change of ownership: Joseph G. Drage/ Drage Historic Aircraft Collection, Wodonga Vic
noted at Drage Historic Aircraft Collection on Drage's farming property near Wodonga Vic
Moved from Wodonga to Wangaratta with the rest of the Drage Historic Aircraft Collection. Eight were ferried. Displayed in the new Drage Airworld hangar at Wangaratta Airport.
Change of ownership: City of Wangaratta, Wangaratta Vic.
The local shire took over the ownership and operation of Air World
Auction announced for disposal of 10 aircraft of the Airworld Collection, which had been forced to rationalise to continue. Among the ten aircraft was DH.85 VH-UUE offered in airworthy condition.
Sold at auction of selected Airworld Collection aircraft to John Clark, Geelong Vic.
Flown out of Wangaratta, maintained airworthy.
Change of ownership: CGC Bureau Services Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic c/- John Clark
Change of ownership: Briar Hall Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic c/- John Clark
VH-UUE noted at Moorabbin Vic
Change of ownership: Murray Rockes, Melbourne Vic
Change of ownership back to: Briar Hall Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic
Change of ownership: Harvey D. McBain, Nelson Vic


VH-UUE at De Havilland Aircraft hangar at Mascot soon after assembly, complete with stylish wheel spats.
It has the contoured fuselage sides of the later production aircraft.
          Photo: Frank Walters collection

Townsville Qld in June 1975, owner Harry Taylor running the Gipsy Major engine.    Photo by Geoff Goodall

Now owned by Joe Drage's Historic Aircraft Collection, visiting the March 1985 Mangalore, Vic airshow.
Photo by Geoff Goodall

                 C/n 7110                                 The Conqueror                                                                            VH-UUG

Built by De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd at Hatfield
Civil Aviation Branch allocated registration VH-UUG to De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney for a DH.85 to be imported
British CofA issued: De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydey NSW
Ordered from De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney by Nancy Bird, who at a young age had been barnstorming the outback with fellow aviatrix Peggy McKillop in Nancy's DH.60G Gipsy Moth VH-UTN, which she traded on the new Leopard Moth.

Shipped to Australia
Assembled at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd
Test flight Mascot after assembly
Registered VH-UUG: Miss Nancy de Low Bird, Sydney NSW.  Named The Conqueror
Australian CofA issued. 

Nancy Bird describes the DH.85's arrival in her book My God! It's a Woman:
"The ship carrying my Moth eventually arrived from England and there is only one word to decribe how she looked - magnificent. She was a high winged monoplane with a French-grey fuselage, silver wings and scarlet stripe, struts and undercarriage. There were two passenger seats, side by side in the back of the cabin and a bucket-type seat up front for the pilot. They were upholstered in high-grade grey leather which had a  wonderful smell. The cabin was carpeted in the same colour. The Leopard had a generous luggage locker, an extraordinary luxury compared with the tiny locker of the Moth. There was also a cabin-heating system and air-chutes for ventilation. Her cruising speed was 120 miles per hour compared to the Moth's 80 miles per hour. I could see that the comfort of the Leopard was going to be heavenly."
Major Murray-Jones of De Havillands endorsed Nancy Bird on her new Leopard Moth during circuits at Mascot
Nancy Bird departed Mascot for Bourke NSW where she had agreed to base her aircraft for a year to fly a nursing sister on clinic runs for the Far West Childrens Health Scheme. She had a small shed built to house the aircraft with its wings folded. A typical clinic run was Bourke to Louth, Urisino, Hungerford, Yambulla, Ford's Bridge, Bourke. Extreme heat, rough airstrips and primitive outback conditions.
Nancy Bird wrote to CAB advising that VH-UUG is now based at Bourke NSW. It is inspected each week by Captain A. W. Gregory of Butler Air Transport Co who passes through Bourke twice a week on the BAT DH.84 airmail route Cootamundra-Charleville.
Late 36
Nancy Bird moved her base from Bourke to Charleville Qld hoping for more charter work
Test flown Mascot after CofA renewal overhaul by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd,
pilot Captain A. Murray Jones
Departed Archerfield as race No.41 in the 3 day Brisbane-Adelaide Air Race, entered and flown by Nancy Bird, who was the youngest pilot, aged 21 years. She carried fellow competitor Freda Thompson's luggage, which Freda could not fit in her DH.60 Moth Major VH-UUC.  Nancy Bird completed the race at Parafield on 18.12.36, winning the Ladies Trophy.
Nancy Bird now bases VH-UUG at Cunnamulla Qld
Test flown Charleville after CofA renewal overhaul, pilot Nancy Bird
Charter flight Cunnamulla to Goodooga to collect a passenger for Sydney, pilot Bird
Nancy Bird ceased flying and put VH-UUG and her hangar at Cunnamulla up for sale
Change of ownership: Gordon W. Young, "Overshot" Station, Cunnamulla Qld
Test flown Mascot after CofA renewal overhaul, pilot J. A. Kerr
Test flown Archerfield after CofA renewal overhaul, pilot G.W. Young
Crashed on takeoff Cunnamulla Qld. Struck ground near ther town hospital at 4.25pm.
Gordon Young had arrived at Cunnamulla on a flight from Sydney that day, then after lunch at the hotel returned to the airfield for a short local flight with a passenger. Both were killed.
Colin H. Young "Carragh" Station, Cunnamulla wrote to DCA to advise that the wreck had been sold: airframe to Aircrafts Pty Ltd, Archerfield, and engine to John Meehan, Archerfield Qld.

Nancy Bird wrote: "..... my Leopard crashed killing the pilot Gordon Young and seriously injuring his cousin. It was never rebuilt although the engine later turned up at the Royal Aero Club of South Australia. I believe the aircraft mechanics were intrigued by the old fashioned crankshaft. When browsing through the log book they were amazed at the accounts pasted in by me, mostly from local garage mechanics. Though they did not have any aircraft engine experience, they did a wonderful job."

VH-UUG with first owner Nancy Bird on the right.                      Photo: State Library of NSW

VH-UUG No.41 at Parafield at the finish line of the Brisbane-Adelaide Air Race 18 December 1936
            Photo: State Library of SA

The wreck of VH-UUG at Cunnamulla Qld 17 February 1940.                    Photo:  Geoff Goodall collection

                  C/n 7111                                                                                                                                        VH-UUL

15.8.35 Civil Aviation Branch allocated registration VH-UUL to De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney for a DH.85 to be imported
9.35 Built by De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd at Hatfield
12.9.35 First flight Hatfield
21.9.35 British CofA issued: De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW

Shipped to Australia

Assembled at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd
25.11.35 First flight Mascot after assembly, pilot DHA Manager A. Murray Jones
25.11.35 CAB inspection report and weighing Mascot: owner quoted as A.K. Lawson, Naracoorte
29.11.35 Registered VH-UUL: A. Keith Lawson, "Padthaway" Station, Naracoorte SA
29.11.35 CofA issued
2.3.37 VH-UUL flown by A.K.Lawson at an airshow ay Naracoorte SA
11.37 CofA renewed at Essendon by Victorian & Interstate Airways, signed off by engineer J. Hart. Also 11.37
11.38 CofA renewed at Parafield by MacRoberttson Miller Aviation, signed off by engineer Cyril Kleinig
11.40 CofA renewed at Parafield by MMA
11.41 CofA renewed at Essendon. Also 11.43, 11.44
CofA renewed at Essendon by Victorian & Interstate Airways. Also 11.46
CofA renewed at Essendon
minor repairs at Parafield by Robbys Aircraft Repair Co
CofA renewed at Parafield by Robbys Aircraft Repair Co. Also 8.8.50 and 3.10.51
CofA expired, not renewed. Stored. Total flying time: 1,022 hours.
Change of ownership: Arthur A. Napper & Jack L. Langan, Sydney NSW
CofA renewed, based at Bankstown Airport, Sydney
Aircraft magazine: Flight test report by Keith Robey: photos show VH-UUL all silver, reported as being in "as new" condition.
Departed Brisbane-Archerfield as race #14 in R. M. Ansett Air Race, entered and flown by J. L. Langan, Sydney. Finished the race at Adelaide-Parafield 31.3.64
Change of ownership: K. R. Hutchens, Melbourne Vic
Change of ownership: Cecil M. Long, Melbourne Vic
visited Morwell Vic fly-in
Change of ownership: Colonel L. Keith Hatfield, Berwick Vic
Based in the original hangar at Lord Casey's private airfield at Berwick
Major restoration overhaul at Berwick
visited Jerilderie NSW fly-in from Berwick, then to Wagga. Pilot Neil Follett
noted at Berwick Vic
flew Berwick-Warrnambool Vic-Berwick, pilot Neil Follett
visited Maryborough Vic airshow from Berwick, pilot Neil Follett
visited Jerilderie NSW fly-in from Berwick, then to Albury NSW, pilot Neil Follett
flew Albury-Wodonga to visit Drage Historical Aircraft Museum, then to Albury, Berwick,
pilot Neil Follett
visited Morwell Vic fly-in
visited Point Cook Vic fly-in
flew at Berwick airshow, dark green and siver paint scheme
flew at Berwick airshow,  dark green and siver
visited Sunbury Vic fly-in, dark green and siver paint scheme
visited Point Cook Vic flyin
visited Morwell Vic flyin
Struck-off Register as withdrawn from service
Retired in hangar at Lord Casey's prewar airfield at Berwick, now named Casey Airfield
noted at Berwick Vic repainted for a movie to represent the Puss Moth which Jimmy Melrose flew in the 1934 England-Melbourne Air Race: all silver "VH-UQO My Hildergarde"
static display at RAAF Richmond NSW airshow, painted as "VH-UQO"
Restored to Register VH-UUL: L. Keith Hatfield, Melbourne Vic
visited Avalon Vic airshow, maroon and cream paint scheme
Casey Airfield, Berwick was closed for land development. The final aircraft to depart was VH-UUL which was ferried to RAAF Point Cook that day to take up residence in vintage aircraft hangar. 
visited Avalon Vic airshow, maroon and cream paint scheme
Change of ownership: Leslie Hatfield, Melbourne Vic.  Based at Point Cook Vic
Change of ownership: William W. Finlen, Boonah Qld

Keith Lawson’s VH-UUL at "Padthaway" in January 1938, with Horrie Miller visiting in his Bristol M1C VH-UQI.
               Photo from a Lawson family album, courtesy Keith’s grandson Justin Good

VH-UUL at Bankstown in 1961, wearing number 7 for a local air race event.             Photo: The Collection

Parafield 31 March 1964, at the end of the R.M.Ansett Air Race from Brisbane.     Photo by Geoff Goodall

Casey Field, Berwick Vic in February 1975.                                                          Photo by Geoff Goodall

VH-UUL over Melbourne in 1991 while painted as James Melrose' Puss Moth VH-UQO "My Hildergarde"
Photo: Mac Job collection, courtesy Civil Aviation Historical Society

After the movie work, VH-UUL was repainted in this attractive scheme. Seen at Tyabb Vic in 1994.
Photo by Mike Madden

                        C/n 7126                                                                                                                  VH-UVF

Built by De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd at Hatfield
First flight Hatfield
British CofA issued: De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW

Shipped to Australia
Assembled at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd
Test flown Mascot after assembly
Registration application: Colin H. Young, Curragh Station, Cunnamulla Qld
Registered VH-UVF
CofA issued

Based on Curragh Station, Cunnamulla. Flown to Sydney for annual CofA renewals by
De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd
Inspection report at Mascot, good condition. Total time 414 hours
Badly damaged on landing, Wyandra Qld.
Ferried to Mascot for overhaul by De Havillands after temporary repairs completed
CofA renewed at Mascot

Flew throughout the war years. Young wrote to DCA several times requesting extensions to the CofA due to drought conditions at his property and his inability to leave to fly UVF to Sydney for formal renewals. His requests were approved.
CofA lapsed, not renewed
Struck-off Register as withdrawn from use
Restored to Register Colin H. Young, Cunnamulla Qld
Test flown at Bankstown after CofA renewal overhaul
Struck-off Register as withdrawn from use
Sold by Colin Young in reasonably complete condition to unnamed persons who attemprted rebuilds
Purchased by Greg Challinor, Murwillumbah NSW t/a Mothcair
Arrived by road at Caboolture airfield Qld, where stored with his DH.85 VH-USK

Greg Challinor wrote in 1997: "VH-UVF had been complete and in almost flyable condition while owned by Colin Young, also of Cunnamulla up until the mid 1970s. When I acquired it was dismembered with parts lost or misplaced with successive moves and various rebuilders 'having a go' at it. Interestingly, Colin Young had bought this aircraft new in 1936 and owned it right through until 1975. Having tracked down most of the missing parts for UVF, I now find myself in possession of three Leopard Moths."
under restoration at Murwillumbah NSW in Mothcair hangar
Restored to Register VH-UVF: Gregory P. Challinor, Murwillumbah NSW

Currently stored Murwillumbah pending completion of restoration

Leopard Moths VH-UUG No.41 and VH-UVF No.36 can be seen in this view of competitors in the 1936
Brisbane-Adelaide Air race, at Cootamundra 17 December 1936.     Photo: Civil Aviation Historical Society

Cunnamulla Qld in 1939.                                                          Photo: State Library of Queensland

                     C/n 7016                                                                                                  VH-ADV, VH-RSL, VH-BAH

Built by De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd at Stag Lane
First flight at Stag Lane
Registered G-ACKY.     British Civil Register does not record the first owner
Delivered to owner ex De Havillands Stag Lane works
Change of ownership: George M. Tonge, Newmarket.  Based Croydon Aerodrome, London
Struck-off British Register as sold abroad

Shipped to Australia
Assembled at Archerfield Aerodrome, Brisbane by Higginson & Co
CAB inspection report after assembly at Archerfield. Still painted as G-ACKY.
Registration application: John Meehan, Brisbane Qld
Registered VH-ADV
Australian CofA issued
DCA memo:  Mr. Meehan is undergoing instruction in another DH.85
An amplifier was fitted to VH-ADV at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by Airflite Ltd. Meehan plans an aerial advertising campaign for Amalgamated Wireless Australia (AWA)
Amplifier and equipment removed after being found unsuccessful
Damaged on takeoff South West Rocks NSW when wing struck bushes, pilot Meehan
Repaired by Airflite Pty Ltd, Mascot
Damaged again, quickly repaired
Change of ownership: Airflite Pty Ltd, Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney
Mr. L. S. Hill was struck by the propeller of VH-ADV when it flew off the hub during an inadvertant engine start. The propeller had not been bolted on to hub. Hill took legal action against Airflite.
Change of ownership: R. B. Pearson, "Quantambone" Station, Brewarrina NSW
Pearson traded his Klemm VH-UTA to Airflite on the Leopard Moth
 John Meehan borrowed DH85 VH-ADV for a flight from Archerfield to Bundaberg Qld

Annual CofA renewals maintained throughout the war years
Sold to Eric E. McIllree, McIllree Motors, Sydney. Immediately resold to Dan Collins
Change of ownership: Daniel F. Collins, Sydney NSW
CofA renewal overhaul at Mascot, has been sold by Collins to Keith Leahy
Register Change of ownership: Keith Leahy, "Oxley" Station, Warren NSW
CofA expired
Leahy advises DCA that he will not renew the CofA and wishes to sell the aircraft
Struck-off Register as withdrawn from service
Registration application: Royal Aero Club of NSW, Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney
Restored to Register VH-ADV: Royal Aero Club of NSW
CofA renewed at Mascot
Aero Club transferred its base from Mascot to Bankstown Aerodrome, Sydney
Undercarriage damaged in groundloop on landing at Bankstown, pilot J. Epstein
CofA renewed at Bankstown
Badly damaged on landing, Bankstown
Struck-off Register as withdrawn from service
Restored to Register as VH-RSL: Royal Aero Club of NSW, Bankstown Airport, Sydney
The Aero Club was changing its fleet into the VH-RS block, presumeably signifying Royal Sydney.
Change of ownership: G. W. Cannon & J. E. W. McCall, Hebel Qld
Reregistered VH-BAH
Change of ownership: D. W. Ruming, Brodies Plains via Inverell NSW
Change of ownership: George C. Sutherland, Gympie Qld
noted at Gympie Aerodrome Qld. Also 14.8.74, 11.6.75
noted at Bundaberg Qld
VH-BAH and DH.87B VH-AFJ noted in hangar at "Sutherland Downs", 6 miles east of Gympie Qld, with other aircraft owned by George Sutherland
Passed in at auction at Gympie of George Sutherland's vintage aircraft collection
visited Maroochydore Qld airshow, pale yellow and silver
Change of ownership: Mrs Barbara J. McBain, Port McDonnell SA, later Nelson Vic
Operated by her husband, vintage aircraft enthusiast Don McBain
Purchased by Don McBain from George Sutherland. Don ferried it from Gympie to Port McDonnell SA. Don said "I was surprised when the big buyers (Drage, Long etc) did not buy Sutherland's collection when it was advertised for sale. They said his prices were too high and that the aircraft not in excellent condition. I waited nearly a year, then rang George one night. His price for the Leopard was firm ($A22K), so I went up to Gympie with a LAME friend to inspect it. We did some work on the fabric upper surfaces of the wings then flew it home."
Visited Mangalore Vic airshow, pale yellow, silver with black trim
VH-BAH noted at Don McBain's airstrip "Stringbag International" at Mount Shank near Port McDonnell SA. Also there were Don's DH87B VH-UXY, DH82 VH-BPU, and 3 Austers owned by others.
noted at Nelson Vic in Don McBain’s hangar, maintained airworthy. Also in the hangar were his Hornet Moth VH-UXY and five Tiger Moths.


VH-ADV wearing wheel spats at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney in 1938.          Photo: Frank Walters collection

Mascot circa 1938, with advertising painted under the wing.                  Photo: Frank Walters collection

    Essendon Airport Vic circa 1947 in a postwar scheme.                                      Photo: Ed Coates Collection

                           Mascot 1949 with Royal Aero Club of NSW, painted in the club's distinctive orange and dark blue colours.
Photo: The Collection p1234-1621

Now VH-RSL, but still with the Aero Club of NSW at Bankstown 1958.          Photo by Barry Maclean

Reregistered VH-BAH, visiting an airshow at Mangalore Vic in April 1983.           Photo by Geoff Goodall

                    C/n 7118                                                                                                      VH-UVD,  VH-AAG,  (VR-RAX)

Built by De Havilland Aircraft  Co Ltd at Hatfield
Civil Aviation Branch allocated registration VH-UVD to De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney for a DH.85 to be imported.
Memo to CAN Head Office Melbourne from CAB Mascot office:
“The question has been raised by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd as to the suitability of registration letters VH-UVD, and the effect such registration would have on the sale of the machine.  As you know an aircraft is generally spoken of as AB, AC, KS as the case may be, and any one owning VH-UVD would have his machine referred to as VD.  Actually there is nothing wrong with such lettering, but unfortunately the letters VD are generally recognised as a short title for a foul disease
   In view of the circumstances, I recommend that registration letters VH-UVD be allowed to remain unissued and another registration marking allotted.”
CAB Head Office changed the allocation to VH-UTJ.
However an internal memo on the same day from aircraft inspector T. E .Johnson of the CAB Mascot office objected to the allocation of UTJ which the he understood was being held for his own use.
CAB Civil Registration Allocation ledger records cancellation of VH-UVD. A further entry on 20.1.36 states "UVD will not be utilised for aircraft markings"
However it appears this was not passed on and the registration was in fact used!
First flight Hatfield painted as VH-UVD

1.1.36    British CofA issued: De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney

Shipped to Australia

Assembled at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd
Test flown Mascot after assembly. Forced landing on Randwick Racecourse, Sydney during the test flight, no damage
Registered VH-UVD: Axel S. Von Goes, Sydney NSW
Australian CofA issued
Von Goes wrote to CAB requesting the registration be changed because of embarrassment caused by the current marking. CAB agrees and allocates VH-AAG which is well ahead of allocation sequence but includes his initials
Reregistered VH-AAG Axel S. Von Goes, Sydney NSW
Departed Archerfield in the 3 day Brisbane-Adelaide Air Race, entered and flown by J. Robins, race number 38.  Aircraft had been entered as VH-UVD and was still painted as such for the race.
Mr. Robins completed the course but was not a prize winner.
Damaged in forced landing at Bong Bong NSW, while en route to Bermagui
Change of ownership: R. T. Perry, Narromine NSW
Change of ownership: Air Taxis Pty Ltd, Rockhampton Qld
CofA has expired, Air Taxis advise DCA they will not be renewing CofA
Air Taxis request approval from DCA under wartime civil aviation restrictions to sell VH-AAG to Kuala Lumpur Flying Club, Malaya. After overhaul by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd in Sydney, the aircraft will be shipped to Malaya.  DCA approve sale.
International Cable to DCA from Federated Malay States Government urging the Department to expedite the sale of VH-AAG to Malaya. 
DCA enquiries reveal the aircraft has not yet reached De Havilland Aircraft at Sydney for overhaul.
Ferried Archerfield-Mascot. Overhaul commenced immediately by De Havillands
Struck-off Australian Register as sold abroad
DCA memo: VH-AAG due to be moved to Sydney wharves for shipment to Malaya
Shipped ex Sydney
Arrived at Kuala Lumpur first week of December and quickly unpacked and assembled. Its civil paint scheme was painted over with camouflage.
Allotted VR-RAX. Not formally registered due Japanese invasion of Malaya
Entered service with "C" Flight, Malayan Volunteer Air Force
Burnt out by Japanese air attack on Kallang Aerodrome, Singapore.
Also wrecked in this air attack were MVAF Avro Cadet, DH.87 Hornet Moth and DH.90 Dragonfly

                            Archerfield Qld 1936                                                                              Photo: Frank Walters collection

                C/n 7120                      Windella                                                                                                  VH-AHB

Built by De Havilland Aircraft  Co Ltd at Hatfield
Civil Aviation Branch allocated registration VH-UVF to De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney for a DH.85 to be imported.
CAB memo: Leopard Moth aircraft VH-UVF on order for Mr. H. F. Broadbent is to be changed to VH-AHB to include his initials. These markings have been allocated as a special case.
First flight at Hatfield
British CofA issued: De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW

Shipped to Australia
Assembled at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd
Test flown Mascot after assembly
Registered VH-AHB: Harry F. "Jim" Broadbent c/- Butler Air Transport Co, Cootamundra NSW
Australian CofA issued

Painted on the engine cowlings: "H.F. Jim Broadbent, Cootamundra NSW"

Broadbent had been flying DH.84 Dragons for Butler Air Transport on the Cootamundra-Charleville sector of the Empire Air Mail scheme. On 12th March 1936 he was appointed Chief Pilot for BAT, but airline founder Arthur Butler would later write "Broadbent was more interested in record-breaking than the monotony of airline flying"
Auxilliary fuel tanks and oil tank installed at Mascot by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd during CofA renewal overhaul
Testflown at Mascot by H. F. Broadbent after overhaul and mods
Broadbent departed Darwin solo at 6.45am for England in VH-AHB named Windella fitted long range fuel tanks, reached Lympne 3.5.37 at 5.41pm. Broke record with time of 6 days 8 hrs 25 mins
Broadbent departed Lympne, England at 5am for record flight to Australia in VH-AHB.
Delayed at Rome for 12 hrs due weather,
Damaged in force landing 60 miles from Baghdad. Broadbent abandoned the flight.
CAB received advice that VH-AHB was now in England. CAB wrote to Broadbent asking for his intentions.
Letter to CAB from Broadbent c/- Bank of NSW, London: he had that day transferred ownership of VH-AHB to Messrs Malcolm & Farquharson Ltd, Hounslow, Middlesex
Struck-off Australian Register as sold to Britain
Registered G-AFDV:  Samuel Harris c/- Cinema Press Ltd, Redhill Aerodrome, London
Sale negotiated through aircraft broker W. S. Shackleton Ltd, Picadilly, London
Change of ownership: Yorkshire Aeroplane Club Ltd, Leeds-Bradford Aerodrome, Yeadon, Yorks
Impressed by Air Ministry as W5783
Struck-off British Register

Issued to No.110 (AAC) Wing, Ringway

Later issued to No.6 AACU, Ringway
Crashed on landing, destroyed by fire, Manchester-Ringway Airport.
Struck a brazier on landing in poor weather.

VH-AHB's original paint scheme, "H.F. "Jim"Broadbent, Cootamundra NSW" on the cowling.
Photo: Chic Eather collection

Broadbent with a repainted VH-AHB at Darwin on 27 April 1937, about to depart for Timor on his
flight to England in 6 days 8 hours.                                     Geoff Goodall collection

A still from a Gaumont Newsreel showing Jim Broadbent on the right, after arrival in England in 1937
Courtesy Graeme Parsons

A visiting Leopard Moth:

Long distance fliers Ken Waller and Bernard Rubin left Lypne on 22.3.34 for Australia in DH.85 G-ACLX (c/n 7036) for a survey of the MacRobertson Air Race route, in which they would enter in a DH.88 Comet.
On the outbound flight they were delayed at Basra by permit delays, and reached Darwin 7.4.34. They departed Darwin 22.4.34 for the return flight to England, breaking the Australia-England record with a time of 8 days 12 hours.
The DH.85 was owned by a partnership of Mr Rubin and fellow London-based Australian David Dear.

G-ACLX in Australia.                                   Photo: National Library of Australia

*                             *                               *                             *                          *                               *                          *

- Australian Civil Aircraft Register, Department of Civil Aviation and its successors
- British Civil Register: G-INFO database website
- DCA aircraft files, National Archives of Australia, Melbourne
- DCA Annual Survey of Aircraft Accidents, 1956-1970
- National Library of Australia - Trove newspaper archive website
- British Civil Aircraft Since 1919, A. J. Jackson, Putnam, London 1973
- De Havilland Aircraft Since 1909, A. J. Jackson, Putnam, London 1978
- Aviation Historical Society of Australia Journal, monthly, 1960-1970
- Australian Air Log, monthly journal, 1965-1968
- Flypast A Record of Aviation in Australia, Neville Parnell & Trevor Boughton, CAA, 1988
- Allotment of Civil Registration markings, CAB & DCA file, National Archives of Australia,
  Series A705 No.8/103/996 transcribed by Dion Makoswski, published in Man and Aerial Machines, quarterly, April 1990
- Classic Wings Downunder magazine, renamed Classic Wings, editor Graham M. Orphan:
  references to Australian DH.85 restoration projects over various issues 1995 to date
- Flight Path magazine, editor Rob Fox, various references to restoration projects
- British CofA allocations series, Air Britain Archive: quarterly journal
- The Whole Truth: The De Havilland Leopard Moth, Air Britain Archive quarterly journal, 2008-2009
-  Leopard Moth, Greg Challinor, Classic Wings Down Under magazine Issue 14, July-Sept 1997
- 1936 Brisbane-Adelaide Air Race, Aviation Historical Society of Australia Journal March 1964
- Historic Civil Aircraft Register G-AUAA to VH-UZZ, Bert Cookson, Austairdata 1996
- Rag & Tube, monthly journal of Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia, 1977 onwards

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