Last updated 1 October 2020
GENERAL AIRCRAFT MONOSPAR IN AUSTRALIA

Compiled by Geoff Goodall

Airlines (WA) Ltd GAL ST25 Monospar VH-UVJ "Miss Wiluna" at Dalwallinu WA on 2 December 1935 during the
newly-formed company's inaugural air service from Perth to the WA goldfields.              Geoff Goodall collection

            Now little remembered, General Aircrraft Ltd Monospars played an important role during the 1930s growth period of Australia's airlines, allowing new air mail routes to be developed where paying passengers would be few. The Monospars economically carried 3 to 5 passengers with power provided by two 90hp Pobjoy Niagaras or 130hp De Havilland Gipy Majors depending on model.
            The name Monospar came from the single cantilever metal wing spar which was quite revolutionary in the British biplane era.
General Aircraft Ltd was formed in 1931 at Croydon Aerodrome, London to produce a series of commercial aeroplanes based on the patented wing spar designed by Swiss aeronautical engineer H.J.Stieger.  He was chief designer for the new company hence the "ST-" prefix to the various GAL Monospar models.  After producing models ST-4 to ST-9, General Aircraft Ltd moved during 1935 to bigger factory premises at Hanworth Air Park near London. 
             The next model was the ST-10 which was structurally similar but included many improvements and an enhanced performance. The prototype ST-10 winning the 1934 Kings Cup Air Race with the designer riding as passenger attracted favourable interest and GAL marketed variants with retractable undercarriage and DH Gipsy Majors. The final type was the ST-25 Jubilee with a folding seat for a 5th passenger and an extra rear cabin window, which continued in production until 1939 by which time 59 had been built including the ST-25 Universal with twin rudder tail unit. The standard ST-25 factory paint scheme was gloss black wth yellow trim. After WWII General Aircraft Ltd merged with Blackburn Aircraft.
             Monospar construction numbers(c/n) run sequentially, prefixed by the model.
            The following GAL Monospar models were operated in Australia:
ST-10  Pobjoy Niagara I engines (90hp)
ST-11  ST-10 with retractable undercarriage
ST-12  ST-10 with DH Gipsy Major engines (130hp)
ST-25  Improved ST-10 with Pobjoy Niagara II engines (90hp), radio and instrument homing as standard, extra rear windows

           Only one Australian Monospar continued flying after World War II, VH-UTH. It went on to an active life as a twin-engined training aircraft then touring with private owners, before an adventurous flight to England in 1961. It lives on in a British aviation museum.

The surviving Monospar VH-UTH on a 1959 holiday flight to Cairns, north Queensland showing the stepped wing design.
Maurice Austin collection

This listing of Australian Monospars is presented in registration order. All 10 were registered over a 14 month period 1934-1936:

                        GAL ST.11 Monospar   c/n ST11/33                                                                               VH-UAZ
.34
Built by General Aircraft Ltd at Croydon as prototype ST.11, which was the ST-10 model fitted with retractable undercarriage. 2 x Pobjoy Niagara 1 engines with 4 bladed propellers

Ordered by Civil Aviation Branch, Department of Defence, Melbourne Victoria Australia

CAB reserved the G-AUA_ series (VH-UA_ after 1929) for its own aircraft

Painted in factory as VH-UAZ, all silver finish
17.8.34
First flight Croydon by GAL test pilot Flight Lieutenant H.M.Schofield
8.34
Flight tests being carried out at Croydon
4.9.34
Final flight test at Croydon. Dismantled and boxed for shipping to Australia
15.10.34
Arrived Port Mebourne as cargo on SS Moreton Bay
20.10.34
Received by CAB at Essendon Aerodrome, Melbourne, assembly commenced
24.10.34
First flight Essendon after assembly, CAB pilot David Ross
29.10.34
Added to Civil Register VH-UAZ Civil Aviation Branch, Department of Defence, Melbourne Vic
29.10.34
Australian CofA issued

Operated extensively across Australia transporting CAB officers, also used in searches for missing aircraft. Carried the Governor General on occasions.

Experienced pilot Arthur H. Affleck joined the CAB in 1936 as a pilot examiner. In his book "The Wandering Years" he wrote:
"I also did trips further afield in our Monospar ST.11, an aeroplane which was equipped with two Pobjoy engines. These were so small in size that any mechanic who was licenced to work on Pobjoys was popularly supposed to to have served an apprentership as a watchmaker. In this aircraft I went as far north as Cairns and as far west as Perth. I also spent many weeks flying on airline routes throughout Australia and inspecting the services operating over them."
23.9.35
Arrived at Perth-Maylands WA from Melbourne for a two day stay.
4.10.35
Took part in aerial search for missing Holyman's Airways DH.86 VH-URT Loila over Bass Strait between Tasmania and Melbourne, continued for two weeks.
7.4.36
Change to owner's name: Civil Aviation Board, Department of Defence, Melbourne
16.12.36
Accompanied the 3 day Brisbane-Adelaide Air Race, CAB pilot Dave Ross.
Returned to Essendon 21.12.36
30.1.37
Undercarriage collapsed on takeoff Brisbane-Archerfield Qld causing serious damage
5.10.37
Test flown Archerfield after repair by Qantas Empire Airways, flew to Essendon same day
14.11.38
Change to owner's name:  Department of Civil Aviation, Melbourne Vic
19.2.39
Last flight for DCA, Essendon-Sydney-Essendon.
Retired at Essendon, total airframe time 617 hours. Replaced by new Percival Q6 VH-ABY

Stored in hangar Essendon pending decision on its disposal
12.40
Government Contract Board accepted a low bid of 150 from Keith Farmer with the comment "Mr. Farmer  has done an exceedingly good job for aviation without any tangible recognition and it is considered that the best interests of aviation would be served if this aircraft were transferred to his ownership."
15.2.41
Change of ownership: Keith R.M. Farmer, Melbourne Vic

Keith Farmer was a WWI fighter pilot who on his return to Australia gained Australian civil pilot licence No.13 before going on to a long civil aviation career, mostly joyriding.  By the late 1930s he was known at Essendon as "The King of the Joyriders" flying his Sopwith Gnu VH-UBY re-engined with 220hp Wright Cyclone, and DH.50 VH-UAB with a 220hp Puma, carring 3 and 5 passengers respectively.
30.3.41
Test flown Essendon by Farmer, aircraft's first flight since 19.2.39

Based Coode Island Aerodrome, Melbourne flown by Keith Farmer on charter and joy rides.
1.6.41
Minor damage in collision with RAAF Tiger Moth R5260 at No.3 Elementary Flying Training School, Essendon. Tiger Moth had damage to tailplane, repaired within 3 days
15.2.42
Last flight with Farmer, retired due wartime petrol rationing. Total airframe time 676 hours
5.42
Sold to Airlines (WA) Ltd, Perth as a temporary replacement for their Stinson Reliant VH-UTW which had been destroyed by a Japanese air raid on Broome WA 20.3.42.   Monospar's CofA renewal overhaul carried out by engineer Harry Moss and spray painted in camouflage as per DCA wartime regulations for civil aircraft.
29.5.42
Change of ownership: Airlines (WA) Ltd, Perth WA
31.5.42
Ferried Melbourne-Perth in one day by company Managing Director Captain Charles Snook, flying time 21 hrs 30 mins
3.6.42
Entered service with Airlines (WA) Ltd on their Perth-Wiluna-Kalgoorlie route
24.11.42
Undercarriage damaged during forced landing at Rockwell while en route Cue-Perth.
Ferried to Maylands Aerodrome, Perth the following day for repairs
15.1.43
Test flown Maylands after repair. Returned to airline service.
10.3.43
Last flight before annual CofA renewal overhaul at Maylands which required a complete strip down.
8.9.43
Test flown Maylands, CofA renewed. Camouflage removed, sprayed all silver.
16.6.44
Damaged in forced landing Maylands. Port engine failed immediately after takeoff on scheduled flight No.52A to Norseman. Port landing gear collapsed during landing run in a paddock adjacent to the aerodrome boundary, aircraft ground-looped.  Pilot Glyn Smith not hurt, no passengers.
Investigation found that pilot mismangement of fuel selectors had cut fuel to the port engine.
28.8.44
Test flown Maylands after repair. Returned to airline services
8.45
Airlines (WA) Ltd report : VH-UAZ is now doing relatively little flying
6.10.45
Last flight: Perth-Norseman-Esperance-Perth.
Retired on arrival back at Maylands Aerodrome. Total airframe time: 1,201 hours
5.46
Stored dismantled in hangar at Maylands
7.46
Airlines (WA) Ltd letter to DCA: VH-UAZ is being slowly overhauled for renewal of CofA on an as-time-permits basis and intend to replace the Pobjoy Niagara engines with DH Gipsy Majors.The undercarriage needs replacing and they are considering fitting the fixed undercarriage from their retired DH.90 Dragonfly VH-ADG.
47
VH-UAZ overhaul discontinued. Moved by road from Maylands to the new Airlines (WA) Ltd base at nearby Guildford Aerodrome (now Perth Airport)
19.12.47
Struck off Civil Register
c48
The dismantled airframe was sold to a scrap dealer. Before being collected it was acquired by Airlines(WA) Ltd engineer Allan Boothey, 19 Kanowna Avenue, Redcliffe, Perth

Boothey moved the dismanted Monospar to his home at Redcliffe. It was unloaded in his back garden, a mostly complete airframe except for undercarriage.

Boothey sold the two Pobjoy Niagara engines to Keith Farmer, Melbourne

Airframe left to deteriorate in open weather, Boothey planned to use it as a chicken house.
c51
Destroyed by grass fire that started in a vacant block adjoining the house.
8.72
Burnt metal framework of VH-UAZ still in the back yard at 19 Kanowna Avenue
72
Remains collected by Air Force Association Aviation Museum Group, and placed in storage at AFA Estate, Bull Creek, Perth. The group was the embryo of the Aviation Heritage Museum later built at the Bull Creek site.


Essendon 1935 soon after entering service with the Civil Aviation Branch.            Frank Walters collection


VH-UAZ at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney showing the 4 bladed propellers and retractable undercarriage fairings.
Geoff Goodall collection


A CAB official in a suit turns the 4 bladed prop to prime the Pojoy engine prior to starting.
Civil Aviation Historical Society


VH-UAZ arrives at Maylands Aerodome Perth in September 1935 on a CAB visit from Melbourne.
It is at the West Australian Airways hangar with signs advertising their Adelaide service for 15 per seat.
Geoff Goodall collection


1941 at Coode Island Aerodrome, Melbourne while owned by Keith Farmer with his Sopwith Gnu behind.
The Monospar's undercarriage fairings have been removed and it is now fitted with a 2 bladed propeller.
Geoff Goodall collection



VH-UAZ's burnt airframe remains in a Perth suburban backyard in August 1972.      Photo by Geoff Goodall


                         GAL ST.11 Monospar   c/n ST11/37                                                                               VH-USN
.34
Built by General Aircraft Ltd at Croydon as ST.11, which was the ST-10 model fitted with retractable undercarriage. 2 x Pobjoy Niagara 1 engines with 2 bladed propellers

Painted as VH-USN in the factory to the order of Eastern Air Transport, Sydney

British CofA issued
4.1.35
Departed Croydon on delivery flight to Australia flown by Australian Daniel F.Collins and carrying EAT company secretary D.S.Wylie.
30.1.35
Reached Darwin on delivery, continued to Sydney landing at Mascot late afternoon 1.2.35
12.2.35
Registered VH-USN  Eastern Air Transport Ltd, Sydney NSW

This was a newly-formed company planning a Sydney-Canberra airline service. Principles were D.F.Collins and Secretary D.S.Wylie. Collins was an experienced pilot previously an instructor with Royal Aero Club of NSW and Kingsford Smith Air Service, Sydney.
12.2.35
Australian CofA issued at Mascot
.37
Eastern Air Transport Ltd was taken over by Kingsford Smith Air Service Ltd, Mascot NSW

Retractable undercarriage replaced by non-standard fixed main gear.
11.6.38
Civil Register ownership change to Kingsford Smith Air Service Ltd.
16.9.40
KSAS was take over by Airflite Ltd, Mascot NSW
42
Retired by now, stored for the duration of the war. Airflite ceased operations.
3.6.47
Struck off Civil Register "converted to spares"


VH-USN's dusk arrival at Sydney on 1 February 1935 after delivery flight from London by Dan Collins.
Collins (centre, left) is showing his logbook to Shell aviation officer E.D.Thane.    NLA Hood Collection


Pilot Dan Collins (right) and Eastern Air Transport secretary D.Wylie at Mascot on arrival from England.
NLA Hood Collection


VH-USN at Mascot now fitted with a 4 bladed propeller and the retractable undercarriage replaced by a
non-standard fixed gear.                                                              Frank Walters collection


VH-USN in new paint scheme and Kingsford Smith Air Service markings, with 2 bladed propeller.
 Frank Walters collection


                         GAL ST.10 Monospar   c/n ST10/34         Narromine Wasp                            VH-UST
.34
Built by General Aircraft Ltd at Hanworth as production ST.10.
2 x Pobjoy Niagara 1 engines with 4 bladed propellers

British CofA issued

Shipped to Australia to the order of GAL agents Robert Bryce & Co, Melbourne Vic
26.2.35
Australian CofA issued after assembly
26.2.35
Visited Narromine to promote a new air service to by flown by WASP Airlines using this new Monospar.
28.2.35
Registered VH-UST: Robert Bryce & Co, Melbourne Vic
13.3.35
Change of ownership: Western and South Provincial Airlines Ltd  trading as
WASP Airlines, Sydney NSW.
 
25.3.35
In a ceremony at Narromine NSW, aircraft was named Narromine Wasp by WASP Airlines' major financial backer, Narromine grazier Mr.T.E.Perry.
That afternoon pilot Captain Harry Purvis flew the inaugural service Narromine-Sydney
28.2.35
Inaugural Sydney outbound service to Narromine with optional stops at Bathurst, Orange, Subbu, Young.  Three return services per week.
3.4.35
Inaugural flight on route extension to Nyngan NSW
35
WASP Airlines purchased Codock VH-URP and Tugan Gannet VH-UVU, adding more routes including Sydney-Broken Hill and Young-Griffith-Leeton.
20.6.36
VH-UST refuelled at Longrach Qld enroute Sydney-Tennant Creek NT while on a 2 week charter, pilot Cyril Brett
7.36
WASP Airlines ceased operations due financial difficulties
30.9.36
Change of ownership: J. J. Larkin & J. N. Jackson, Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney NSW

Used for charter and joyriding. Operated a long-term summer contract for shark patrols along Sydney beaches, the pilot using a siren to warn swimmers of nearby sharks. 
By 39
4 bladed propellers replaced by 2 bladed propellers
19.11.39
Destroyed Mascot NSW in mid-air collision with DH.60 Moth VH-UFV.
The aircraft collided at low altitude while both were on approach to land at Mascot Aerodrome. The Monospar fell into Cook's River on the airfield boundary, while the Moth crashed on a nearby golf course. All on board VH-UST were killed: pilot Jack Jones and 3 passengers.


Essendon February 1935, immediately after assembly.                                   Geoff Goodall collection


VH-UST "Narromine Wasp" with WASP Airlines Directors.                       E.A.Crome collection NLA


Mascot October 1935 VH-UST departs on a shark patrol along Sydney beaches with a a siren installed under
the fuselage to alert swimmers of nearby sharks. Under wing advertising is for McWilliams Wines.
State Library of NSW Hood Collection


Mascot circa 1939 now fitted with 2 bladed propellers.                              Geoff Goodall collection


Recovery of VH-UST's wreck from Cook's River on the Mascot Aerodrome boundary, November 1939.
Both photographs from National Library of Australia




                         GAL ST.12 Monospar   c/n ST12/36        Captain Cook                                        VH-UTH
.35
Built by General Aircraft Ltd at Hanworth as production ST.12.
2 x DH Gipsy Major 1 engines with 2 bladed propellers
2.35
Completed to the order of New England Airways, Sydney
3.35
Named "Captain Cook" in a ceremony at the GAL works at Hanworth Aerodrome by
Mrs. S.M.Bruce, wife of the Australian High Commissioner to Great Britain.

Shipped to Sydney as boxed cargo on SS Mongolia, along with VH-UTK
5.35
Assembled at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by NEAW staff
5.35
Test flight Mascot afer assembly, pilot Keith Virtue, NEAW chief pilot
16.5.35
Registered VH-UTH: New England Airways Ltd, Sydney NSW
16.5.35
Australian CofA issued at Mascot

Operated on New England Airways services between Sydney and Brisbane
1.1.36
Company renamed Airlines of Australia Ltd, Sydney NSW
11.6.36
Damaged in a night forced landing near Beaudesert Qld during a scheduled Sydney-Brisbane service. pilot John McLaughlin and one passenger unhurt, the second passenger, former Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes was injured.
McLaughlin's report to CAB highlights airline flying prior to radio navigation aids:
"I left Sydney at 12.30pm and refuelled at Old Bar and Lismore. I left Lismore at 4.25pm in fairly good weather and flew up the coast towards Brisbane. After passing Southport the weather became thick but I thought I could find the mouth of the Brisbane River and follow it up to Brisbane.
However it closed down at Wynnum just before the river and as light was fading I came down low over Wynnum and circled for 15 minutes trying to find a place to land. As it was now dark and raining I had no choice but to try to get back to Southport.
As soon as I left Wynnum I went blind flying because the clouds by this time were right down in the trees and it was raining heavily. I flew blind for about 45 minutes then came through a break in the clouds and saw a town right underneath me.
I circled above the town until the residents drove their cars to a paddock where, with the aid of their cars' headlights, I was able to land. As the aircraft was finishing its run, the starboard wing hit a fence at the bottom of the paddock."

Rebuilt by AoA at Mascot
30.6.38
Change of ownership: P. H. Moody Air Taxis Pty Ltd, Rockhampton Qld
16.2.39
Change of business name: Air Taxis Pty Ltd, Rockhampton Qld
29.3.41
Change of ownership: Butler Air Transport Co, Sydney NSW
2.12.46
Change of ownership: Kingsford Smith Aviation Services, Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney
19.12.47
Struck-off Civil Register
17.10.49
Sold by KSAS to Tasmanian Aero Club, Launceston.  Restored to airworthy by KSAS
26.10.49
CofA and CofR renewed: Tasmanian Aero Club, Launceston Tas
15.3.52
Change of ownership: Kingsford Smith Aviation Services, Bankstown Aerodrome, Sydney
24.10.54
Change of ownership: Whitfield Construction Co, Sydney NSW c/- F. H. Whitfield
17.11.55
Change of ownership: Austral Motorcycles Pty Ltd, Newcastle NSW
11.4.56
Change of ownership: L. G. & E.M. Taylor, Armidale NSW
6.56
VH-UTH visited Moorabbin Vic, all silver "Monospar" on tail
4.3.57
Change of ownership: Dr. John Morris & N. Fortune, Sydney NSW
5.57
Leased to Fawcett Aviation/ Illawarra Flying School, Bankstown NSW
1.6.57
Change of ownership: M. R.Morris & L. A. Harrison, Sydney NSW
7.6.58
Change of ownership: M.R.Morris, Sydney NSW
14.4.61
Change of ownership: Dr. John Morris, Sydney NSW
18.8.61
Departed Sydney on holiday flight to England by Dr. John Morris and Bruce Harrison. Their stated intention was to sell the aircraft in England to finance their airline flights home.
22.8.61
Departed Darwin bound for England
20.9.61
VH-UTH noted refuelling at Nicosia, Cyprus enroute to Athens
30.9.61
Reached Lympne Aerodrome, England where they cleared British Customs.
He later published a book Two Men in a Flying Machine describing the trip.
21.10.61
VH-UTH noted flying over North London
1.6.62
VH-UTH noted parked outside at Redhill Aerodrome, London
1.64
VH-UTH noted at Panshangar Aerodrome, standing outside with wings removed outboard of the engines. Has been here for some time, deteriorated due exposure to weather.
8.5.64
Moved to Croydon Aerodrome where taken into Rollason's hangar for assessment of a restoration to airworthy.
17.8.64
Sold by Dr. John Morris to Norman H. Jones, Redhill Aerodrome, Surrey
17.8.64
Struck-off Australian Civil Register (back-dated) as Sold Abroad
.64
Moved to Booker Air Park for planned overhaul by Personal Plane Services
21.5.66
VH-UTH noted at Booker in PPS hangar. Overhaul not carried out.
.68
Acquired in poor condition by Newark Air Museum, Newark, Winthorpe
.70
Collected by museum from Booker and transported to Winthorpe

Long-term restoration to display standard commenced at the museum. Wings and later the fuselage were sent to Cotswold Aircraft Restoration Group at Innsworth for detailed restoration before return to the museum for reassembly. Restoration completed in 2020.

Current, restoration completed at Newark Air Museum, displayed as VH-UTH


New England Airways VH-UTH "Captain Cook" outside the company's hangar at Sydney-Mascot 1935.
Ben Dannecker collection


VH-UTH with New England Airways Avro 10s at Mascot 1935.             Ben Dannecker collection


New England Airways founder Mr. G.A.Robinson of New England Motor Company, Lismore NSW (left)
and senior pilot Keith Virtue inspect their new Monospar VH-UTH.                 Bruce Robinson collection


The morning after VH-UTH's night forced landing Beaudesert Qld on 11 June 1936.    Neil Follett collection


Launceston 1950 while with Tasmanian Aero Club.                                      Photo by Eddie Coates


Visiting Moorabbin in June 1955, all silver with "Monospar" on tail.            Photo by Eddie Coates


Bankstown while on hire to Illawarra Flying School with the school's red striped rudder.    Neil Follett collection


Bankstown September 1958 after repaint into this bright colour scheme.             Photo by Dave Eyre


VH-UTH on a visit to Moorabbin Vic during 1960.                                Photo by Neil Follett


Having flown to England the Monospar did not find a buyer. Seen out in the rain at Panshanger in 1964.
Neil Follett collection


A long restoration was completed in 2020 at the Newark Air Museum in England.    Photo via Roland Jahne


                         GAL ST.12 Monospar   c/n ST12/38       Captain Phillip                                        VH-UTK
.35
Built by General Aircraft Ltd at Hanworth as production ST.12.
2 x DH Gipsy Major 1 engines with 2 bladed propellers

Completed to the order of New England Airways, Sydney.
3.35
Named "Captain Phillip" in a ceremony at the GAL works at Hanworth Aerodrome by
Mrs. S.M.Bruce, wife of the Australian High Commissioner to Great Britain.

Shipped to Sydney as boxed cargo on SS Mongolia, along with VH-UTH

Assembled at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by NEAW staff
5.35
Test flight Mascot afer assembly, pilot Keith Virtue, NEAW chief pilot
31.5.35
Registered VH-UTK: New England Airways Ltd, Sydney NSW
31.5.35
Australian CofA issued at Mascot
17.6.35
Departed Mascot for Alice Springs on charter to Sir Donald McKay's 1935 McKay Aerial Reconnaissance Survey Expedition exploring central Australia. Flown by expedition pilot Captain Frank Neale.  Returned to Sydney late July 1935.
1.1.36
Company renamed Airlines of Australia Ltd, Sydney NSW
12.36
Entered in the Brisbane-Adelaide Air Race by Miss Ivy Pearce, fiance of AoA senior Captain Jason Hassard who was the nominated pilot.
16.12.36
Departed Archerfield Aerodrome, Brisbane as race Number 45, along with 30 other entrants.
The three day race reached Parafield Aerodrome, Adelaide on 18 December 1936.
VH-UTK's flying time was 8 hrs 40 mins. Ivy and Jason married soon after the race.
37-38
Mostly used on AoA Queensland coastal services between Brisbane-Townsville
1.7.38
Destroyed by fire on ground, Mackay Qld.
Airlines of Australia Captain C.F.Moore was starting engines at Mackay when the port engine back-fired and ignited a fire which resulted in a fuel tank exploding. Aircraft burnt out, only the starboard engine could be salvaged. No injuries.


"Captain Phillip" soon after assembly at Mascot in May 1935.                  Ben Dannecker collection


July 1935 with inscription "Mackay Aerial Reconnaissance Survey Expedition 1935".      Neil Follett collection


The two aircraft of the 1935 Mackay expedition, VH-UTK and Puss Moth VH-UQL refuel at Oodnadatta in
the far north of South Australia during the survey of Central Australia.                  Robert Millburn collection


Parafield Aerodrome, Adelaide at the end of the three day December 1936 Brisbane-Adelaide Air Race.
The Monospar was still all silver but had gained a lightning flash down the fuselage sides.
Photo by Allan Betteridge via Civil Aviation Historical Society


Lismore NSW repainted in the the same Airlines of Australia blue and red scheme as their Stinson K trimotors.
John Hopton Collection


Clermont Queensland 1938.                                                                      Neil Follett collection


                         GAL ST.12 Monospar   c/n ST12/41        Captain Flinders                                       VH-UTM
.35
Built by General Aircraft Ltd at Hanworth as production ST.12.
2 x DH Gipsy Major 1 engines with 2 bladed propellers

Completed to the order of New England Airways, Australia 

Shipped to Australia to the order of New England Airways, Sydney.
2.8.35
Registered VH-UTM: New England Airways Ltd, Sydney NSW
2.8.35
Australian CofA issued
8.35
Named Captain Flinders in a ceremony at Lismore NSW by Mayor of Lismore.
Its initial use would be on air services linking Lismore with Sydney and Brisbane.
8.8.35
Minor damage to undercarriage, wheel ran into a hole while taxying at Casino NSW
1.1.36
Company renamed Airlines of Australia Ltd, Sydney NSW
7.12.38
Change of ownership due merger: Australian National Airways Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic
6.4.40
Transferred back to Airlines of Australia Ltd, Sydney NSW
To replace aircraft impressed by Government for wartime RAAF. Used by AoA on Queensland coastal scheduled services between Brisbane and Horne Island.
16.2.42
Wrecked in forced landing near Oxford Bay, Cape York Peninsular Qld.
Operating an AoA service from Horn Island to Cairns, Captain Stewart G. Hack encountered strong winds and weather and decided to make a forced landing on  aflat area near the coast. Undercarriage was torn away by hidden rocks, no injuries to pilot or one passenger.
Aircraft posted missing and search commenced, located 3 days later by a company Stinson A flown by Clive Jones.
4 days after the crash, pilot and passenger were picked up by a coastal ship despatched to rescue them.
2.42
The aircraft was stripped of useful parts and the wreck pushed over a cliff.

 
VH-UTM in original silver finish with modifications at the rear of the cabin of unknown purpose.
Ben Dannecker collection

Outside the Airlines of Australia hangar at Mascot in AoA blue & red scheme.       Frank Walters Collection


Another view at VH-UTM at Mascot in Airlines of Australia blue & red scheme.         Ben Dannecker collection


VH-UTM flew ANA staff to the forced landing site of DC-2 VH-USY near Dimboola Vic in February 1940.
Two months later the Monospar was transferred back to Airlines of Australia for Queensland routes.
Kevin O'Reilly collection


                         GAL ST.12 Monospar   c/n ST12/42                                                                              VH-UTZ
.35
Built by General Aircraft Ltd at Hanworth as production ST.12.
2 x DH Gipsy Major 1 engines with 2 bladed propellers

British CofA issued: Robert Bryce & Co Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic (GAL agents for Australia)

Shipped to Australia to the order of Eastern Air Transport, Sydney.
12.7.35
CAB Inspection report after completion of assembly at Mascot NSW
12.7.35
Test flight Mascot by J.Chapman
15.7.35
Registered VH-UTZ:  Eastern Air Transport Ltd, Sydney NSW "in conjunction with Kingsford Smith Aviation Service"
15.7.35
Australian CofA issued

Eastern Air Transport had been formed to operate airline services between Sydney and Canberra with Monospars VH-USN and VH-UTZ. At the time this second Monospar arrived, EAT had decided to develop an air service in central Australia between Darwin and Adelaide.  An associate company Australian Transcontinental Airways was founded with nominal capital 500,000, Directors Sir Charles Marr, H.J. Berryman,
D.S. Wylie (EAT), Capt E.A. Mustar, and E.E. Collins (Manager). 
Avro 10 VH-UXX was purchased as the first airliner for the long route
8.35
Change of ownership: Australian Transcontinental Airways Ltd, Adelaide SA
30.7.35
Manager E.E.Collins arrived in Darwin a Monspar flown by John Chapman to make a route survey Darwin-Alice Springs-Adelaide
19.8.35
Avro 10 VH-UXX departed Adelaide on inaugural ATA service to Darwin flown by Chief Pilot John Chapman with copilot/engineer B.Cowan,carrying 4 passngers and airmail. On the return flight south from Darwin on 22.8.35, the centre engine failed and the Avro diverted to land at Daly Waters NT.
8.35
Monospar VH-UTZ was substituted while VH-UXX waited for a replacement engine
3.9.35
Forced landing on a track at Kelly's Well NT near Tennant Creek, while en route Alice Springs-Tennant Creek, no damage. Adverse winds had resulted in low fuel so pilot decided to land.  A man camping at the well drove the passengers to Tennant Creek and brought back fuel for the aircraft. Pilot then flew to Tennant Creek to continue the service.
6.9.35
Crashed during forced landing Alawalla Ridge, 80 miles north of Alice Springs NT.
Forced landing in a clearing in the scrub due inability to maintian altitude after the starboard engine failed. Port wing struck a large bush, swung the aircraft around and hit another bush.

VH-UTZ had departed Tennant Creek NT for Alice Springs flown by pilot M.V. Mather with two passengers, but failed to arrive.

Aerial search commenced by ATA Monospar  VH-USN from Sydney (ATA Chief Pilot John Chapman), MMA Fokker Universal VH-UJT from Adelaide (Captain Cyril Kleinig) and Percival Gull VH-UTC from Sydney (Pat Hall)
8.9.35
VH-UTZ crash site located. Mather and this two passengers were not hurt and had walked out for help.

A DH.60 Moth was chartered from Mildura Vic flown by H.F.Boson to retrieve the aimail carried on VH-UTZ and deliver it to Adelaide, where it arrived 11.9.35.
9.35
VH-UTZ was salvaged by Queensland Assurance Co and transported by rail, arriving Adelaide 27.9.35. Moved to Parafield Aerodrome where stored in SAAirways hangar

CAB investigation report on VH-UTZ forced landing was highly critical of the airline.

The aircraft was 84 lbs over loaded when it departed Tennant Creek and fuel in cans was carried in the cabin to allow fuel to be topped up in flight - both breaches of Air Navigation Regulations.
"From general observation and information gained, the air servuce from Darwin to Adelaide has no organisation whatever. This service is doing aviation considerable harm and the people of central Australia have lost all confidence."


ATA protested to CAB regarding the findings of the accident report, debating whether the aircaft was over-loaded. The quoted regulation breaches had allowed their insurance company to decline paying out the the loss of te aircraft.

VH-UTZ was not rebuilt
28.7.36
Struck-off Civil Register


This photo attached to VH-UTZ's CofA form was taken soon after assembly at Mascot July 1935


Somewhere in the Northern Territory, nosed into the tree probably to give the cabin some shade.
Robert Millburn collection


The crash scene north of Alice Springs September 1935.                            Geoff Goodall collection


                         GAL ST.25 Monospar   c/n ST25/48          Boyana                                                   VH-UUV

Built by General Aircraft Ltd at Hanworth as production ST.25.
2 x Pobjoy Niagara II engines with 2 bladed propellers

Completed to the order of Adelaide Airways Ltd, Adelaide SA.
This newly-formed company was owned by the Adelaide Steamship Co
8.35
British CofA issued: Robert Bryce & Co Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic (Agents)
8.10.35
Arrived Port Adelaide as boxed cargo on board SS Miamoma
25.10.35
Test flown Parafield Aerodrome, Adeiaide after assembly
25.10.35
Registered VH-UUV: Adelaide Airways Ltd, Adelaide SA
25.10.35
Australian CofA issued
30.10.35
Flew first Adelaide-Port Lincoln SA service, Captain Harold O. Cook.
The previous day the new airline had operated its inaugural flight: Adelaide-Mt Gambier SA- Melbourne with Short Scion VH-UUT.
19.11.35
Flew first Adelaide Airways service to Broken Hill NSW where it connected with the scheduled WASP Airlines service to Sydney
1.7.36
Adelaide Airways took over the Adelaide-Perth route following its purchase of West Australian Airways Ltd. DH.89 Rapides operated most services on the long route, but Monospar VH-UUV flew at least one service to Perth
1.11.36
Change of ownership due merger: Australian National Airways Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic
ANA name Boyana
2.11.36
Adelaide Airways routes were taken over by ANA
38
VH-UUV attached to ANA Flying School, Essendon for twin engined training
8.10.38
Badly damaged in forced landing Somerton near Essendon Vic.
ANA pilot Lou Lohse and a company engineer were conducting a test flight from Essendon following an engine change. A loss of power caused a forced landing in a field where the undercarriage was torn away  from the aircraft. No injuries.

Not repaired
14.6.40
Struck-off Civil Register


This 1935 Adelaide Airways postcard shows the black and yellow paint scheme of their Scion and Monospar.
Courtesy Civil Aviation Historical Society


This photograph at Parafield was attached to VH-UUV's Australian CofA document.


Maylands Aerodrome, Perth, presumably when Adelaide Airways took over the Perth route from
West Australian Airways in July 1936.                           Geoff Goodall collection


VH-UUV on a charter to Padthaway Station near Naracoorte SA circa 1936.           Photo via Justin Good


                         GAL ST.25 Monospar   c/n ST25/60         Miss Wiluna                                                 VH-UVJ
.35
Built by General Aircraft Ltd at Hanworth as production ST.25.
2 x Pobjoy Niagara II engines with 2 bladed propellers
9.10.35
First flight Hanworth painted as VH-UVJ
16.10.35
British CofA issued: Robert Bryce & Co Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic (Agents)
10.35
Shipped to Australia to the order of Airlines (WA) Ltd, Perth, Western Australia.
11.35
Assembled at Maylands Aerodrome, Perth
27.11.35
Inspection report after assembly by CAB inspector.
Approval to operate pending formal issue of Australian CofR and CofA
1.12.35
Named Miss Wiluna in a ceremony at Maylands Aerodrome
2.12.35
Airlines (WA) Ltd Managing Director Captain Charles W. Snook departed Maylands on a proving flight along the newly-formed company's first airline route:
Perth-Dalwallinu-Mount Magnet-Meekatharra -Wiluna-Kalgoorlie-Perth.
Returned to Perth the following day.
3.12.35
Registered VH-UVJ Airlines (WA) Ltd, Perth, Western Australia
3.12.35
Australian CofA issued
26.12.35
Forced landing Boorabbin WA due high oil consumption, Capt Snook, no damage
4.36
Snook submitted plans to CAB for modification to cockpit windscreen glass to reduce reflections and visual distortions. Modifications to be carried out bySolent Engineering Works, Perth. 
12.5.36
Port wheel damaged while taxying at Kalgoorlie WA
10.8.36
Delayed a day at Mount Magnet due port engine trouble
1.9.36
Forced landing Northam WA due engine power loss, Cpt A.L.Whitham, no damage
16.11.36
Forced landing Thundelarra Station WA due engine trouble, Cpt A.L.Whitham, no damage
22.12.36
Badly damaged during forced landing 12 miles from Mount Sir Samuel WA.
Unable to maintain altitude due loss of power on the starboard engine while flying in very high temperatures at 6pm in the afternoon. Captain Charles Snook and 3 passengers unhurt

Damaged aircraft moved to Perth by road
9.37
CAB inspection report of the damaged aircraft in Airlines (WA) Ltd hangar at Maylands. Repair work had not commenced, company waiting for drawings from the manufacturer.
10.37
Airlines (WA) Ltd wrote to CAB advising they no longer intend to rebuild VH-UVJ


Airlines (WA) Ltd's VH-UVJ at Maylands Aerodrome, Perth.                          John Hopton Collection


VH-UVJ at Wiluna WA in December 1935.                                               Geoff Goodall collection


                         GAL ST.25 Monospar   c/n ST25/69                                                                               VH-UVM

Built by General Aircraft Ltd at Hanworth as production ST.25.
2 x Pobjoy Niagara II engines with 2 bladed propellers

British CofA issued: Robert Bryce & Co Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic (GAL agents)

Shipped to Australia 
19.2.36
Registered VH-UVM: Robert Bryce & Co Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic
19.2.36
Australian CofA issued

No Australian sale eventuated, advertised in New Zealand

Sold to Canterbury Aero Club, Christchurch NZ

Shipped to NZ
14.10.36
Struck-off Australian Civil Register as sold abroad
10.36
Registered ZK-AET Canterbury Aero Club, Christchurch
10.39
Impressed by NZ Government for Royal New Zealand Air Force as NZ584

Retired by RNZAF, used as instructional airframe at Rongotai, Wellington
45
Disposal as scrap


Essendon Aerodrome, Melbourne 1936.                               Neil Follett collection


After sale to New Zealand as ZK-AET.                                                Geoff Goodall collection


Another Monospar was flown to Australia from England but not registered here:

                        GAL ST.4 Monospar   c/n ST4/2                                                                         G-ABVN
.32
Built by General Aircraft Ltd at Croydon as first production ST.4.
2 x 85hp Pobjoy R engines.
8.32
Registered G-ABVN Portsmouth, Southsea and Isle of Wight Aviation Ltd, Portsmouth
19.8.32
CofA issued
12.33
Change of ownership: B. Lewis & Co Ltd, Heston
4.12.36
Change of ownership: Colin D. Kelman, 48 Gloucester Place, London W1

Colin Dalrymple Kelman managed pastoral property Malaraway at Moree, NSW and later owned Glenbervie at Julia Creek Queenland.
He had met Mary "Peggy" Kelman ( nee McKillop) at Moree when she was flying a Moth on a barnstorming tour with Nancy Bird. When she sailed to live in England he followed and they were married in London. They purchased the Monospar to fly home to Australia.
18.12.36
G-ABVN departed Heston on a holiday flight to Australia flown by Mr & Mrs Kelman
11.1.37
Reached Darwin
15.1.37
Reached Moree NSW. Flown for a short time on its current British CofA

G-ABVN reportedly soon sold due to a slump in wool prices

Not registered in Australia. Reasons unknown but the fact it was the only ST.4 model imported would have required DCA first-of-type certification with the owner to supply construction and performance documentation from the manufacturer.
38
G-ABVN was in a hangar at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney

Remained in the hangar during WWII when the military took over the airfield. A report says it was used by RAAF as an instructional airframe
23.6.45
Letter to DCA from Mr. R.E.Turner, Sydney: he intends to purchase G-ABVN stored at Mascot. He says it is in very good condition, missing only seats, some instruments and compass. He has the log books and enquires if there are any known problems with the aircraft. No further correspondence in the DCA file.
21.11.46
Struck-off British Register
54
G-ABVN derelict at Bankstown Aerodrome, Sydney, fuselage without wings



The Kelmans went on to own numerous aircraft at Julia Creek from Tiger Moth, Auster and Proctor to Beech 17 and Cessna 182. After Colin's death in the late 1950s, Peg Kelman and their son John set up Central Highlands Air Taxi Service at Emerald Qld. 
She was later awarded an OBE for services to aviation.


Monospar ST.4 G-ABVN at Croydon Aerodrome, London prior to its flight to Australia in December 1936


Ill-fated Australian sales tour by General Aircraft "Monospar Croydon":
GAL developed a much larger 10 seater airliner which it named the Monospar Croydon. The monospar wing was utilised but because of the wider span, bracing struts to the fuselage were required. Interest in Britain was disappointing and only the prototype was built. It was sent on a promotional flight to Australia:

                        GAL ST.18 Monospar Croydon   c/n ST18/501                                          G-AECB
35
Built by General Aircraft Ltd at Hanworth Aerodrome as prototype ST.18 Croydon
10 passenger transport powered by two 450hp P&W R-985 Wasp Juniors.
Metal frame construction with fabric covering
16.11.35
First test flight at Hanworth, pilot Harry M. Schofield. Test flown in "Class B" markings as "T.22"
16.6.36
CofA issued

The prototype performed well, but did not attract any orders.
It was decided a fast flight to Australia and return would promote the aircraft. Major C.R. Anson agreed to purchase the prototype and have his personal pilot Harold "Tim" Wood make the Australian tour.
2.7.36
Registered G-AECB Claude Ronald Anson, Itchell Manor, Crondell Hampshire
30.7.36
Departed Croydon Airport, London for Australia, under the command of Harold Wood.
Crew was second pilot Lord Sempill (who had recently flown his Puss Moth G-ABJU to Australia and back), flight engineer L. Davies, radio operator C.P.R. Gilroy.

A significant delay at Karachi enroute to Australia ended an attempt to break the record time. Lord Sempill left the flight at Karachi and General Aircraft Ltd's chief designer Mr. Frederick Crocombe joined the crew to represent the manufacturer.
12.9.36
Demonstration flights to airlines and media at Melbourne-Essendon.
6.10.36
Left Essendon on the return flight to Britain with the same crew. Reached Darwin same day
7.10.36
G-AECB departed Darwin for Koepang, Timor at 4.47am local time. The crew were planning to reach London in 5 days. However became unsure of position while crossing the Timor Sea.
7.10.36
Forced landing on Seringapatam Reef, Timor Sea. Tailwheel assembly was damaged by rocks.  Crew were picked up by native fishing boats and later transferred to a passing ship
SS Nimoda bound for Durban, South Africa.

Aircraft abandoned


G-AECB refuels at Cloncurry Qld in September 1936.                                             Ben Dannecker collection


Essendon Aerodrome, Melbourne 12 September 1936 during the Australian demonstration tour.
Civil Aviation Historical Society


G-AECB after the forced landing on a reef in the Timor Sea on 7 October 1936, with tailwheel torn away.
This remarkable photograph was taken by one of the crew when they abandoned the aircraft to seek help
from nearby native fishing boats.                                                         Keith R.Meggs collection

References:
-Australian Civil Aircaft Register, Department of Civil Aviation and its successors
-DCA aircraft files, National Archives of Australia
-Civil Register pages, Aviation Historical Society of Australia
-British Civil Aircraft Register site: g-info
-Air Britain publications from 1961 details of VH-UTH in England
-Trove newspaper search/ National Library of Australia
- Airlines and Aircraft of the Ansett groupo Fred Niven: www.ansetthistory.info
- British Civil Aircraft Since 1919, A. J. Jackson, Putnam
- The Wandering Years, Arthur H. Affleck, Longmans 1964
- Virtue In Flying, The Keith Virtue story, Joan Priest,
- Forgotten Flyer, The Story of Charles W. Snook, Brian Hernan, Tangee Publishing 2007


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