Radschool Association Magazine - Vol 44

Page 15

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WRAAF National Reunion.


Continued from page 14


After spending Saturday morning (12 Oct) surfing the shops, the girls boarded the bus from outside Rydge’s hotel and headed for the Aviation Heritage Museum.



The Museum is situated on the RAAFA Memorial Estate, at Bull Creek, about 15 klms south of the city of Perth. It is owned and operated by the Western Australian Division of the RAAF Association which was formed in 1929 and was initially housed in a two story building in Adelaide Terrace, Perth. In the late 1950’s a Spitfire was acquired and restored in order to serve as the centrepiece in front of the building. In the early 1960s the Association acquired a Lancaster bomber as a reminder of the activities of its members who flew over Europe during World War II.


In 1968 the museum fund was established and in 1971 the Aviation Historical Group was formed which consisted of private collectors and restorers of aviation heritage from all around Perth. During the period from when the Association was formed and the 1970’s, a large amount of aviation heritage memorabilia including, aircraft, engines, books, photographs and artefacts was collected and by 1971 the informal collection had grown to such a size that the Association began planning a museum in which to house it all.


In 1971 the Association began developing its Memorial Estate at Bull Creek to provide a club and accommodation for its members and associates in their later years. A piece of land near the entrance was set aside on the estate for an aviation museum.


In 1979 the Western Australian government granted the Association $100,000 to construct a museum building and it was opened on 17 November 1979.


The South Wing was sufficient to house most of the Museum's smaller aeroplanes but not the Lancaster and a recently acquired Douglas C47. The Government of Western Australia again donated money to construct a new and larger building and now the North Wing houses these very large exhibits. It was opened on 17 December 1983.


Since then further facilities have been added to the Museum including a walk way inside the North Wing, three demountables which house the book and photographic libraries, the model aeroplane group and the accessioning offices.


Aircraft now housed at the Museum, and on display, include:  Catalina, Douglas C47, CAC Wirraway, Canberra, Vampire, Spitfire and a Lancaster. The full inventory can be seen on their web site HERE.


The girls moved into the Museum and spent nearly an hour looking over the exhibits.


L-R:   Margret Marshall, Pam Nelson and Jan Harrison in front of a Wright R3350 radial.


The Wright R-3350 Duplex-Cyclone was one of the most powerful radial aircraft engines produced in the United States. It was a twin row, supercharged, air-cooled, radial engine with 18 cylinders. Power ranged from 2,200 to over 3,700 hp (1,640 to 2,760 kW), depending on the model. Developed before World War II, the R-3350's design required a long time to mature before finally being used to power the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. After the war, the engine had matured sufficiently to become a major civilian airliner design, notably in its Turbo-Compound forms.


Part of the large engine display.


And here's a pic that is sure to make all the old Telstechs and Groundies nostalgic and teary....


Margaret Stevenson, about to board the Douglas C-47.


Margaret Humphries in front of the Wirraway.


Marj Jones with an old RAAF switch.


Marj was a Telsop some little time ago. She joined the RAAF in 1963, did her rookies at Point Cook then after training was posted to East Sale. Then it was off to Darwin and after 2 years it was back to East Sale then Laverton and finally she was discharged in 1971.


Marj says she fondly remembers working the old switch boards.





Vi Speis – looking over the Honour Board.






The Museum has a large exhibition area displaying WAAAF and WRAAF uniforms, jobs, photos etc and this was of obvious interest to the girls.



This case (or port, depending where you came from) was of interest to the girls, WRAAF's were issued with the suitcase and contents on enlistment.



Part of the huge display of aircraft, engines, props etc.



The business end of the Lancaster.


Inside the Lancaster! 

You can just imagine the cold, the noise, the lack of comfort and most off all, the terror the blokes who flew in these aircraft had to endure hour after hour…..



The Flight Information Service Supervisor (FISS) console

from the Cunnanurra Flight Service Unit.


A Flight Service Unit (FSU) was an air traffic facility that provided information and services,  via HF and VHF radio, to aircraft pilots before, during, and after flights, but unlike air traffic control (ATC), did not provide separation to aircraft in flight. Information provided by an FSU included pre-flight pilot briefing, details of any hazards or faults likely to affect the flight (notams), sending and receiving traffic and operational information to and from aircraft in flight, search and rescue alerting, informing aircraft of other conflicting air traffic, weather observations and reporting and monitoring of navigation aids. The people who manned these units were referred to as specialists rather than controllers.


Click HERE to see the full Madang PNG FSU console which is similar to the Cunnanurra unit. The FISS console is in the centre of the two "Air/ground" consoles.



The museum is open from 10.00am to 4.00pm (or by appointment) every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and Good Friday. If you’re into aircraft and you’re in Perth, make sure you take the tour.


Then at 6.00pm, everyone was ushered out from the Museum and led over to the Air Force Association’s Club House for the formal Dinner – just a short walk from the Museum.





Warner Communications paid $28 million

for the copyright to the song Happy Birthday. 

(To this day, no-one knows why!!)



The girls filed into the big room and as is normally the case, the night started out all orderly and proper, everyone seated, quiet chit chat filled the room while waiting for the meal to be served, but then the wines started to flow and everyone lightened up considerably.


In the meantime, for their sins, the blokes were banished to the back room where they could be seen but not heard.


The Swine Flu vaccine in 1976 caused more death and illness

than the disease it was intended to prevent.


Supporters of the WRAAF Association had donated items which were to be raffled off during the night. Prior to the dinner being served, tickets were sold then when the electronic “pulling from the hat” machine was sorted, numbers were drawn and winners chose their booty.


Connie Hunt, one of the early winners, selecting her prize.


Sheryl Fridd and Kathy Bunyan with their winnings.


Ros Curren and her winnings.


Standing L-R:   Judy Warren, Emma Cox, Lyn Vale.

Seated L-R:   Iris Selby, Glenda McDowell, Beryl Black (nee Gibbney - the Association’s patron), Desley Eaton.


L-R:   Jane Dowdeswell, Dianne Cardy, Kerry Brocket.



The East Sale Crew.


Standing L-R:   Pam Nelson, Marj Dixon, Diedre Windsor, Anne Quinell.

Seated L-R:   Lyn Mitchell, Pat Gardiner, Anna Smith.




Click the pic!



Nancy Passmole. 


Nancy joined the WAAAF back in 1941 and stayed until the end of the WAR – discharging in 1945. She was in the medical section.


And what would a RAAF party be without a few flashers popping in. These blokes dared to bare the undies and luckily for them, no-one saw their faces – so to this date their identities remain unknown.


L-R:   Kathy Bunyan, Candy Hardy, Wendy Dembowski, Tania Fromont.


Standing L-R:   Judie Pick, Pam Nelson, Marj Dixon, Diedre Windsor, Anne Quinell, Jan Harrisson, Beryl Black (nee Gibbney).

Seated L-R:   Lyn Mitchell, Pat Gardiner, Anna Smith.


Standing L-R:   Jill Dawson, Carolyn O’Donnell, Valerie Machin.

Seated L-R:   Jenny Munro (nee Reading), Lisa Williams, Colleen Jollow, Valerie Blow, Margaret Paton (nee Downes).



Click the pic!



L-R:   Judie Pick, Lynda Deelan.



Then on the Sunday, a commemorative service to celebrate the formation of the WRAAF was held at the Wesley Uniting Church in the City.



Jane Dowdeswell and Graham Bland lay a wreath in memory.


This was followed by tour of the city, then a trip to the magnificent Crown Casino for a little flutter and a feed, then unfortunately, it was all over.


The wonderful event that so many had waited for so long was finally at an end, all that was left was to go back to the rooms, pack the bag and for those new to the town, head for the airport, catch a plane and head for home.


In two years’ time they intend to do it all again, this time at Coolangatta on the Gold Coast.


Start saving!!!




A big thank you to the Caloundra RSL without whose encouragement and support this report might never have been done!




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