Last update 23.2.16
MILITARY WRECKS & RELICS - 1970s


The scene at East Point Military Museum, Darwin in October 1975 after a some aircraft wrecked by Cyclone Tracy were moved here
from Darwin Airport.  The museum's B-25D Mitchell 41-30222 had been salvaged from a forced landing site 75 miles east of
Tennant Creek NT. Wreckage of RAAF Dakota A65-104 and DC-3 PK-RDB can be seen behind the Mitchell



A mixture of civil and military aircraft wrecks were moved to East Point Military Museum after Cyclone Tracy.
Among them was SAATAS East Indonesia DH.104 Dove PK-LEA


RAAF Dakota A65-73 at Sid Beck's farm near Townsville Qld in June 1975. A variety of aircraft were stored around the property.
Behind can be seen Piaggio P.136 amphibian VH-BJP, salvaged after it crashed on landing and sank at Hinchinbrook Island.
Sid later moved his collection to a property near Mareeba Qld where he built a large igloo hangar for his museum display.


RAAF GAF Canberra A84-210 at Sid Beck's farm at Upper Ross near Townsville, June 1975


Sheds on Sid Beck's farm contained engines, gun turrets and airframe sections which Sid had recovered from WWII wreck sites.
This shed housed Stinson L-5B Sentinel VH-BEN which had been damaged on landing at Coen Qld


Final photo from Sid Beck's farm in June 1975 was this weather-beaten RAN Sea Venom N4-904


This RAN Sea Venom N4-935 was stored in a hangar at West Maitland NSW in October 1974, for a planned museum project


Single-seat RAAF Vampire FB.30 A79-109 displayed on a pole in the town of Forbes NSW in May 1975.
It had previously been Instructional No.7 at RAAF School of Technical Training at RAAF Base Wagga NSW


This unidentified US Navy PBY-5 Catalina was damaged during WWII on an island in the Dampier Archipelago out to sea off
Dampier WA and dismantled for parts salvage. Its remains were photographed from a Cessna in August 1976

Wreckage of RAAF Catalina A24-381 spread down the steep slope on Lord Howe Island in July 1974.
The Catalina struck the ridge of Malabar Hill at night on 28 September 1948, with the loss of all 7 crew


RAAF Lockheed PV-1 Ventura A59-96 was found on a farm near Tyagarah NSW in April 1978.
It had been sold by post-war disposals at Evans Head RAAF Station and was now in use as a storage shed for pig feed.
The fuselage was acquired by Queensland Air Museum, Caloundra Qld where it is being restored with Lodestar wings.


Netherlands East Indies Navy PBY-4 Catalina at Roebuck Bay, Broome WA, exposed at low tide in October 1975.
8 Catalinas (Dutch, US Navy and RAF), 5 Dorniers (Dutch) and 2 Empire flying boats (RAAF and Qantas) were sunk by a
Japanese raid on 3 March 1942, waiting to refuel after escaping the NEI. Crews and civilian refugees on board perished


Some of the sunken boats are still exposed today by Broome's 30 feet tidal variation. Catalina in October 1975


Two B-17s, two B-24s,  a Dutch Lodestar and DC-3 were destroyed on Broome airfield by the same raid on 3 March 1942.
The burnt-out wreck of RAAF Lockheed Hudson A16-119, another victim of that raid, was still in scrub within walking distance
from the modern Broome Airport terminal building in January 1979


 The WA branch of the Air Force Association acquired this Spitfire F.22 PK481 from Britain and displayed it on a pole
at their Perth city office in Adelaide Terrace from 1959. Photographed there in October 1969


When the AFA moved to a new estate in the Perth suburb of Bull Creek, their Spitfire was moved from the city to
Jandakot Airport where it was refurbished and repainted in a hangar. Seen there in March 1971


PK481 was then mounted on a pole in front of the AFA Country Club at Bull Creek. Photographed there in March 1972.
Later, when the AFA built the Aviation Heritage Museum on their grounds at Bull Creek, PK481 went into the museum
and its place on the pole was taken by a fibreglass replica


A Kalgoorlie resident's 1948 Box Brownie photo of RAAF Vultee Vengeances being broken up at RAAF Boulder WA,
now Kalgoorlie Airport. Parts of these Vengeances were found scattered across Kalgoorlie in 1971


Fuselage centre-section of an unidentified Vengeance in a scrap yard near Kalgoorlie railway station, July 1971.
A more complete fuselage section of Vengeance A27-247 had earlier been collected from this yard by John Bell at Albany WA
as a static restoration project, and last heard it was at Wangaratta Vic with ambitious plans for a rebuild to fly
 

A grapevine trellis constructed from wingspar sections at a Kalgoorlie house being inspected by Fred Cherry (left) and
Merv Prime from the AFA museum group in August 1971. 

CAC Boomerang expert Matt Denning has written to say these wing structures above are not from Vengeances:
"The closest and the farthest outer wing panel main spars are CAC Boomerang main spars. Confirmed by the tell-tale
reinforcement ring around the cut-out for the 20mm Hispano cannon as well as the two holes for the Browning 0.303
machine guns.  The middle spar appears to be the outer section from a Beaufort or Beaufighter wing spar to me."


Vultee Vengeance wing sections found in a Kalgoorle house backyard in August 1971.

Gary Martin has written with his childhood recollections from Kalgoorlie: "My father brought three Vengeances for 10 each
at a disposal sale at the Boulder RAAF base in 1946.  He gave one away to the man who helped him shift them to our house
at Boundary Street.  So as a kid growing up in Kalgoorlie, I had two Vultees in my backyard as cubbyhouses.  They were
sitting on 44 gallon drums from memory and we used to access them through the bomb bay doors.  My recollection is that
there were a couple of steps up into the cockpit.  The strange thing is that although my mother was a keen photographer,
 we have no pictures of the planes …which makes me think they were not a popular item in her backyard!
When we shifted to Balfour Street, Dad left the planes behind but took some parts, including the hydraulic landing gear legs.
Other Vengeances were in a yard in South Kalgoorlie and another in Hannans Street on the way out to Coolgardie."


Aircraft collector Les Arthur's property near Toowoomba Qld in June 1975.  The nose section of retired TAA Viscount V756 VH-TVJ was later joined by the complete fuselage of Viscount VH-TVL which had been moved by road from Brisbane Airport. In the centre are two CAC Boomerang
fuselage frames collected from farms around the former RAAF Oakey, where hundreds of fighters were scrapped after WWII.
Behind is RAAF Canberra A84-219 moved by road from RAAF Amberley


In a shed on Les Arthur's property, surounded by Merlins and other engines, was CAC Wirraway A20-606 in June 1975.
Also stored were a Mosquito cockpit canopy, Kittyhawk parts and a collection of propellers


Aircraft wreckage strewn up a slope from the Indian Ocean on Yardie Creek Station near Exmouth WA in April 1977.
It was a US Navy OS2U Kingfisher operating during WWII from Exmouth airfield, code named Potshot.
This was a landplane version, with undercarriage replacing the large float, as confirmed by the wheels in the wreckage


The rear fuselage and horizontal tailplane of the OS2U. Its identity and accident date are not known.
I went along on this recovery mission by noted WA wartime aircraft wreckologist Stan Gadja


Loading wing and tail sections on top of the P&W R-985 radial engine and small parts in the trailer, towed by
Stan Gadja's modified bush-bashing Valiant. The nearest dirt track was several kilometres from the remote crash site


On the road back to Perth, 1200 Km south down the WA coast.  Stan Gadja donated this collection of OS2U parts to
Pearce Dunn's Warbirds Aviation Museum at Mildura Vic, to assist the restoration of their RAAF Kingfisher A48-2


CAC Wirraway A20-688 and CAC Mustang A68-71 were instructional airframes at Midland Technical School Aeronautical Annexe
near Perth Airport. Photographed there in January 1970.


The Wirraway was acquired by the Air Force Association for their planned museum.  Bristow Helicopters provided
Westland Wessex VH-SJD to airlift the Wirraway from Perth Airport to the AFA Estate at Bull Creek on 20 July 1973


A20-688 painted in wartime RAAF scheme, displayed at an airshow at Beverley WA in November 1974


Here's the CAC Mustang Mk.20 A68-71 at the Midland Tech Aeronautical Annexe near Perth Airport in April 1972.
It was acquired by Derek Macphail and became a long-term restoration project to airworthy status in WA and Victoria


CAC Mustang Mk.22 A68-187 at Canberra ACT in March 1976, after rebuild with a RR Dart 510 as a Turbine Mustang.
It was ground run but not flown. Owner Hockey Treloar sold it to USA where it flies today as a Merlin TF-51D N50FS


CAC Mustang Mk.21 A68-104 at Essendon Vic in March 1976, a few weeks after its civil certification as VH-BOB for
owner Bob Eastgate, Melbourne. Its first test flight was 26 February 1976 at Essendon


The first CAC Wirraway to fly as a warbird was VH-BFF, seen at Berwick Vic in March 1976 being flown by Graham Schutt.
The civil certification under new Regulations of this Wirraway and Mustang VH-BOB was a pivotal moment for the
Australian warbird movement, following many years of resistance from the Department of Civil Aviation



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