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ARCHIVED UPDATES

 


For the latest updates please refer to the Updates page.

 
DATE ACTION
17MAY04 A press release from the Temora Aviation Museum confirms that Hudson VH-KOY (the former VH-AGS) was sold by Malcolm Long to the Temora Aviation Museum on 14th May 2004.
09MAY04 I owe an apology to Kevin Pavlich for the paucity of detail in the captions to the photos added on 5th May. Kevin had researched detailed captions for all of the images but I managed to misplace them! The full captions have now been added. Here are the links again:

Photo Album No 1 (X4 to Z6)
Photo Album No 2 (A1 to D3)
Jack Tierney with Hunting personnel
Jack with the tail magnetometer
06MAY04 Thanks to recent research by Geoff Goodall, it is now considered unlikely that Mustang A68-104 was ever owned by Adastra. Nevertheless, the page for this aircraft will be retained on the site because several published sources state an Adastra connection.
05MAY04 Kevin Pavlich has been busy gathering photos from several sources, as a result of which we have been able to add 38 new images to the site.

Photo Album No 1 is now complete with the addition of 15 new images (X4 to Z6).
Photo Album No 2 has begun with 21 new images (A1 to D3).

Mary Tierney has provided us with two interesting photos of Jack with the Prince. Can anyone identify the other people in the photos?

Jack Tierney with Hunting personnel
Jack with the tail magnetometer

An interesting photo of Lionel clambering over one of the nose doors of his Bristol Freighter has been added to the anecdote "Instant Coffee" thanks to Bill Mitchell.

For these contributions we thank, Allen Windross, Bill Hohnen, Bill Mitchell, Frank Wandrack, John Bertles, Jan Ferguson, Ken Snell, Mary Tierney and Patricia Jones.

Sadly, we have learned via our Guestbook that Pat Gregory passed away in Emerald, Qld on 27th April 2004.
27APR04 Update 33 of the Personnel List comprises an astonishing 42 additions! Thank you to everyone who contributed.

John Bertles has contributed an anecdote titled "More Hangar Memories" which sheds more light on the hangar keg parties. Thanks John.
26APR04 While in New Zealand I renewed my acquaintance with the lovely de Havilland Dragonfly ZK-AYR which was a visitor to the bi-annual Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow. This aeroplane is better known to us as Adastra's VH-AAD.
25APR04 After a hiatus of two months, work on the site has resumed. The main reason for the lack of activity has been my biannual trip to New Zealand. This trip has yielded the unexpected revelation that there was an Adastra in New Zealand! Although this company was principally an aerial topdressing operator, they did venture briefly into airline operations. I am most grateful to Bruce Gavin for providing this account of the New Zealand Adastra.
29FEB04 Update #32 of the Personnel List is now current.
24FEB04 Two wonderful anecdotes have been added to the site:
Bill Mitchell has contributed "Instant Coffee", the story of how Lionel used a Bristol Freighter to make a brew. I resisted the temptation to rename this anecdote "Biffo Birko Brew".
Mike John has provided us with a charming outback story about Adastra's later years with a couple of references to the forties thrown in for good measure. The story is titled: "This Horse Walks into a Bar ..."
Thanks to Bill and Mike and also to Geoff Goodall who delivered overnight on my desperate plea for a photo of Lionel's Bristol Freighter.
23FEB04 Readers will recall Dave Aitchison's account of the engine fire in VH-SMO in June 1965. When Dave first wrote Baptism of Fire he was certain that the fire had been in the starboard engine, but the aircraft log books in the Australian War Memorial stated that the fire was in the port engine. Just this month, we were contacted by Bill Mitchell who recalled the incident and was even able to name the pilot and navigator as Allan Walker and Jack Tierney respectively. Although Bill was certain that the fire had been in the starboard engine, it was decided that Allan Walker should have the final word. It is fortunate that we have been able to contact Allan and he has confirmed that the fire was indeed in the starboard engine. Dave's story has been updated accordingly and Bill and Allan's contributions have been added. Dave, your memory has been vindicated! Read the revised story here.
12FEB04 Well-known Hudson researcher, David Vincent, recently acquired an early photograph of Mascot Aerodrome which was probably taken in the thirties. As the photo shows Adastra's original Hangar 8, David purchased the photo with the Adastra website in mind. Thank you David!

Ever wondered what Frank Follett did while he was in the U.K. attending the World Air Survey Conference from 10th to 21st February 1947? Thanks to an article in the February 1947 edition of "Air Transport" we now know. It is interesting to note that the author saw fit to mention that all of the delegates arrived by air. It is also worth noting that these events transpired exactly 57 years ago! Thanks to David Vincent for forwarding the article. Click here to go to the Chronology for 1947 and scroll down to 10th February.
11FEB04 "Standard Notes for Photographic Survey" written by Mike Wood in 1959 can now be downloaded from this site. This 60 page document is the only Adastra manual to have come to light since the website project started. Special thanks go to Kevin Pavlich and his daughters Kathy and Leone for a monumental effort in preparing this facsimile reproduction for the site. Thanks also to Allan Walker for supplying the manual. Click here for download instructions and more information on the manual.
10FEB04 Update #31 of the Personnel List is now up.
31JAN04 Mike Wood has provided a delightful anecdote about the regular social events in the Adastra hangar. The story is titled "The Keg of Honour" and it is sure to bring back pleasant memories to those who were there. The story poses the question: What happened to this piece of Adastra history? Someone must know.
23JAN04 By my reckoning, today is the first anniversary of the Adastra website. Given that we started out with practically nothing, it is most pleasing to reflect on what we have been able to accumulate on Adastra's history in such a short time. Sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed during the past year. To celebrate the occasion, here is a little bit of light-hearted nonsense.
17JAN04 What we didn't mention during the previous update when we added Dave Aitchison's photos is that Dave was onboard Hudson VH-SMO when it suffered an engine fire over Botany Bay in 1965. Dave's account of the incident now appears as an anecdote titled "Baptism of Fire". Many thanks Dave. This event has also been added to the page for VH-SMO with a link to Dave's story.

One of Adastra's more unusual contracts involved providing photographic coverage of the sea trials of the Ikara anti-submarine missile system. Thanks to Mike Wood (and his diaries, bless him!) we now have a very detailed account of the project which lasted for an amazing seven years! Peter Shute has also contributed his own experiences along with extracts from his log book. The Ikara story appears on the Projects Menu. Many thanks to Mike and Peter.
12JAN04 Thanks to Dave Aitchison I have been able to add some very interesting images to the site. Dave was the camera operator on Hudson VH-AGS during the Aerodist survey of 1965. Dave has supplied some very rare colour photos of VH-AGS wearing the three Aerodist antennae. These appear on the Aerodist page which has been completely revamped. These photos have also been added to the history page for VH-AGS. Three of Dave's photos have also been added to the Photo Album (Images X1 to X3). Many thanks Dave for these wonderful contributions.
On the subject of VH-AGS, I have also added a recent photo of the aeroplane at the Archerfield air show in September 2003. The colour profile of VH-AGS in Aerodist configuration has also been added to the Profiles page.
09JAN04 I have added some details of the crash which claimed Jack Howard's life on 20MAY76. Jack was flying a Snowy Mountains Authority Pilatus Porter VH-SMB which struck a radio mast while doing an IFR letdown to Cooma in fog. The three persons on board were killed. This information was provided by Geoff Goodall who coincidentally went for a flight in an SMA Porter with Jack Howard in 1975. This amendment appears as Update #30 of the Personnel List
08JAN04 I have added a new page on the history and restoration of a door. However, it's not just any door. It is in fact that curious nose compartment door from Hudson VH-SMO aka VH-AGP. The new page also includes a photo of the restored door. The Door
05JAN04 Update #29 of the Personnel List is now current.
30DEC03 Another photo of an otherwise anonymous Adastra Anson has turned up with a unit number on the nose, this time No. 3. As on previous occasions, this has prompted a re-think of our table of unit numbers. It has also necessitated a re-examination of identities assigned to earlier Anson photographs. The easiest way to view all of this material together is the Unit Numbers page.
29DEC03 With new information and photographs I have been able to expand on two items of Hudson equipment which were previously shrouded in mystery:
The Hudson Magnetometer Boom
Aerodist
28DEC03 Maurie Miller's account of a church fire in Charleville has been added to the Anecdotes page. The story is titled Charleville Conflagration, author and editor having both resisted the temptation to call it "Holy Smoke"!
27DEC03 Thanks to Rob Marty we have added his biography and a selection of photographs to the Album (Images V6 to W6 inclusive). Many thanks Rob.
Update #28 of the Personnel List is now current.
18DEC03 Update #27 of the Personnel List is now current.
15DEC03 There hasn't been much action on the site lately because I have been away in Sydney. During my time in Sydney I had the pleasure of meeting several of the local Adastrians over a most enjoyable lunch. Read my full report on
The Day I Went to Brighton
.

One of the many interesting facts to emerge during our discussions was Mike Wood's description of Adastra's brief flirtation with the Grumman Tracker.
01DEC03 We welcome a new member to the website team. Peter Shute has already contributed a lot of his own material to the site but he has now kindly agreed to assist Kevin with co-ordinating the collection of new additions. Thank you Peter. Here is Peter's biography.

A new anecdote titled "Bombed in Alice" has been added, but it was thought prudent to de-identify the contributor and the participants!
25NOV03 No fewer than 14 new images have been added to the site. Thanks to Len Howle, Ian James and Niels Kofahl. Thanks also to Kevin Pavlich for preparing scans and captions.

The Album - Five new images have been added to Row V.
Don't miss this great shot of Lionel - holding a camera.
Cessna 206 VH-DGD
- brand spanking new with wheel spats.
DC-3 VH-AGU - with an extra ADF housing under the belly.
DC-3 VH-AGU - outside the Mascot hangar in full EM fit.
DC-3 VH-AGU - Niels Kofahl at the magnetometer station.
Hudson VH-AGP - basking in the early morning sun at Brisbane.
Hudson VH-AGE - wreckage after it was relocated to Tennant Creek Aerodrome.
Hudson VH-AGE - as above.
Hudson VH-AGX - In flight with the emergency exit hatch open.
Anson VH-AVT - after being started by Jim Hilferty.

This latter photo has prompted a reassessment of the table of Unit Numbers.
19NOV03 Geoff Goodall has found an interesting reference to Adastra's Waco in a booklet titled "Out of Control in the Centre" by John P. Kellow who was then a pilot with Connellan Airways.
18NOV03 After yesterday's update of the post-Adastra history of the Prince, it became painfully obvious that there was nothing between the time the aeroplane arrived in Australia and the time it departed! Fortunately Doug Morrison has rectified this with a number of movements drawn from Ted McKenzie's log book. Thanks Doug and Ted.
17NOV03 The history of the Prince has been greatly expanded thanks to Jacques Péguret who flew the aeroplane for several years after it returned to Europe. Ironically, all of this material is of no direct relevance to Adastra, but it is an important component of the overall history of an Adastra aeroplane. Perhaps the Prince is unique in that it had a significant survey career after Adastra! For this reason, and in the interests of completeness, I have happily included this new material in the page for Prince VH-AGF.
23OCT03 I have found one significant variation which was not previously included amongst the Hudson profiles:

VH-AGJ in an interim silver scheme.
09OCT03 I have added two more Hudson profiles:

VH-AGS in the later Grey Scheme with a white tail group.
VH-AGP in an interim silver scheme.
VH-AGP in the Orange Scheme.

That makes a total of 18 profiles which just about covers all variations.
08OCT03 I have added two more Hudson profiles:

VH-AGO in the later Grey Scheme with a white tail group.
VH-AGE in an interim natural metal scheme.
06OCT03 Derek Minter has highlighted an anomaly with the history of the DC-3 VH-AGU. The aircraft was struck off the Register on 09FEB72 but Derek clearly recalls crewing the aeroplane for Adastra in June 1972. Australian Register expert, Tony Arbon, advises that VH-AGU was restored to the Register on 08MAY72 which tallies with Derek's recollections. Thanks to Derek and Tony.
05OCT03 I have added two more Hudson profiles:

VH-AGG in the later Grey Scheme with a white tail group.
VH-AGS with the target towing winch fitted.
04OCT03 Since the advent of my "Flights of Fancy" page, some readers might be forgiven for thinking: "Why doesn't he use his powers for niceness?". Encouraged by my attempts at reproducing liveries which never existed, I have now turned to liveries which did exist. This has resulted in a new page which features 11 colour profiles of Adastra Hudsons. These profiles incorporate most of the combinations and permutations of colour scheme and equipment fits. None of these profiles would have been attempted had I not had access to Peter Shute's recreated Adastra typeface which appears on every painting (except poor old SMO!).
01OCT03 Thanks to some detective work by Doug Morrison, we now know that the last flight of Prince F-BJAI was on 8th May 1968 when Jaques Peguret of SAPA delivered the aircraft to Redhill. Doug is expecting further material from Jaques.

As a result of further input from Peter Shute, several minor corrections have been made to the sequence of events in Peter's anecdote Jump Ship.
26SEP03 The Personnel List has been updated as we welcome Niels Kofahl. Niels had installed survey gear in Hudson VH-AGE and returned to Sydney just a week before its crash at Tennant Creek.

Four new anecdotes have been added to the site:
Breakfast on the Cat - by Maurie Miller
Jump Ship - by Peter Shute
Rudder Servo - by Peter Shute
Lionel Does a Melba - by Peter Shute
24SEP03 I have added one more type to Flights of Fancy - Anson VH-AGA. This one's for you Kevin.
It should be noted that all of these drawings feature the Adastra typeface recreated by Peter Shute.
22SEP03 Have you ever wondered what DC-3 VH-AGU would have looked like if Adastra had ever got around to painting it in the green scheme? What if the company had proceeded with Mustangs? What would they have looked like in Adastra livery? These and other questions will be answered by "Flights of Fancy". As the name suggests, this new page is totally fictional with no historical basis whatsoever, but it does provide an insight into what might have been. Enjoy "Flights of Fancy"

The page for DC-3 VH-AGU has been updated with several items from the NAA thanks to Chris O'Neill.

The page for Hudson VH-AGO has been updated with several items from the NAA thanks to Chris O'Neill. It is interesting to note that Adastra's applications for CofR and CofA show the registration typed as VH-AYP but hand-amended to VH-AGO.

The page for Hudson VH-AGS has been updated with several items from the NAA thanks to Chris O'Neill. This new material concerns East-West Airlines' modifications to the aircraft.
16SEP03 Bob Cozens has contributed two wonderful pieces about his time with Adastra. Many thanks Bob!

ADASTRA MEMORIES

HANGAR MEMORIES
13SEP03 Again thanks to Bob Love, we have six new images of the Catalina VH-AGB and three new images of the Prince VH-AGF. Of particular interest is an air-to-air photo of the Prince (still G-AMLW) taken from Hudson VH-AGO. Many thanks Bob!

Thanks to Glenn Alderton, we have a new image of Hudson VH-KOY (formerly VH-AGS) taken at the recent Archerfield Air Show. Many thanks Glenn!
12SEP03 Thanks to Bob Love, I have added six wonderful new images to the page for the Sycamore helicopter VH-INO.
30AUG03 No fewer than 32 new images were added to the site today. All bar one of these came from Peter Shute. Most can be found on the Album Page (images Q4 to U5). Image U6 comes from Kevin Pavlich and depicts Chris Braund's Mustang VH-FCB on the Adastra ramp at Mascot. Our attempts at determining if Chris Braund ever worked for Adastra have suffered a setback as we learned just today that he is deceased. This photo has been added to the Album Page in the hope that it will jog someone's memory.

Five of Peter's photos can be found on the Hudson pages for:
VH-AGP
VH-AGS
28AUG03 Are you doing anything on 4th September? Bill Mitchell has two tickets to the Adastra Social Club Ball at twenty-five shillings each. Unfortunately, the event took place 44 years ago!

The Personnel List has been updated. Please refer Update #25.
27AUG03 There has been a significant change to the appearance of the site. The company title on every page now appears in the same unique typeface which was applied to Adastra aircraft. For this we thank Peter Shute who laboriously recreated the Adastra font one letter at a time. Thank-you Peter!
26AUG03 The Personnel List has been updated. Please refer Update #24.

Bill Mitchell has provided a company News-Sheet for September 1965 and this has been reproduced in full under Projects.

Amongst the material contributed by Bill Mitchell were copies of several company forms comprising the Adastra Hudson pilot training syllabus. Facsimile reproductions of these documents are now available on the Hudson menu.

Also thanks to Bill Mitchell we have a Sepal Pty Ltd letterhead from July 1965.
25AUG03

The page for Cessna 206 VH-DGD now includes three new colour images thanks to Peter Shute.

The Personnel List has been updated. Please refer Update #23.

I have added two more of those monthly summaries which are a source of much useful information:
November 1965 - contributed by Bill Mitchell
November 1967 - contributed by Conrad Wenham

Several of Peter Shute's slides have been added to the pages for Hudsons:
VH-AGJ
VH-AGX
There are many more to come.

For the record, and in case anybody notices, the Adastra Hudson history pages which originated on one of my other websites, "The Lockheed File", and which were duplicated on the Adastra site, have been removed from
"The Lockheed File" and now reside solely on the Adastra site. This saves me from having to maintain (and synchronise!) two sets of files and it also conserves space on the server.

24AUG03 Bill Mitchell has contributed a wonderful anecdote about John Hampshire. It is titled Checkmate.

The Personnel List has been updated. Please refer Update #22.

Peter Shute has provided a detailed account of APR operations and this has been added to the Operations menu.

I have added two new images to the page for DC-3 VH-AGU.
"Old Faithful" thanks to Peter Gates
"The Mysterious Wire Frame" thanks to Peter Shute
19AUG03 I recently had the pleasure of meeting up with Peter Shute at the Queensland Air Museum where Peter gave me on loan some wonderful material from his time with Adastra. It will probably take a while to utilise all of the material but here are a few samples:

Attack on the Orsova
Hudson Nose Art
04AUG03 Allan Walker has explained the reason for the missing Gyrosyn Compass in the photo which accompanies Bill Mitchell's story "The Volunteer Navigator". Thanks Allan.
02AUG03 Bill Mitchell has contributed a delightful story called "The Volunteer Navigator".

Allan Walker has contributed several images of Hudson VH-AGE taken at the time of the survey which features in Bill's article.
VH-AGE #1
VH-AGE #2
VH-AGE #3
VH-AGE #4

Allan has also contributed two lovely colour shots of DC-3 VH-AGU at Roper Bar.
VH-AGU #1
VH-AGU #2
01AUG03 The Personnel List has been updated to include Bob Gordon and Dick Glassey, both of whom are mentioned in James Sinclair's wonderful history of aviation in PNG, "Balus" (Vol I). Another addition is (Mr) Beverley Shepherd who was flying the Fox Moth VH-UQU when it was involved in a collision in 1936.

"Balus" has also yielded a couple of interesting facts which have been added to the Chronologies:

On 8th October 1954, the Port Moresby Aero Club was licensed. Honorary instructors included Bob Gordon of Adastra and Frank Minjoy of World Wide Helicopters (previously with Adastra).

On 19th May 1957, the New Guinea Aero Club at Lae was officially opened with an air pageant. An unidentified Adastra aircraft participated in the flypast. Presumably it was a Hudson. Can anyone figure out which one?
29JUL03 The Personnel List has been updated to include Ray Ryan and Graham Nosworthy, both of whom recently contacted Kevin.
20JUL03 Revelation! Previously it had been assumed that Adastra acquired the CSIRO Anson VH-WMA only as a source of parts. Thanks to some excellent detective work by Chris O'Neill, we now know that Adastra actually purchased the aeroplane with a view to placing it into service. Indeed, Adastra requested that the aeroplane be re-registered VH-AGO but this was refused. Jack McDonald's second choice of VH-AGJ was also refused. Read why. This has necessitated taking the aeroplane seriously and giving it the full treatment.

Now that the Adastra connection has been determined to be more substantial, this has justified using a glorious air-to-air photo of VH-WMA which has been supplied by Roger McDonald. Similarly, a colour photo of VH-WMA by Bob Cozens has also been added to the page.

The Fleet List has also been updated to reflect these facts.

Thanks to Noel Slarks for highlighting an error on the page for Hudson VH-AGO. The crash date had been recorded as 1st July 1957 but contemporary press reports confirm that the crash at Horn Island was on 24th June 1957. The page has been amended accordingly. The chronology page has also been corrected.
08JUL03 Mike Wood's story of the Boeing 707 project has been embellished with a new image. This was brought about by the discovery that I too had taken a high altitude photograph from VH-EAA! The story is otherwise unchanged.

To the Fleet List I have added a second DC-3. During the sixties, several published Adastra fleet lists stated that the company had TWO DC-3s. Allan Walker has supplied a photograph of Hudson VH-AGE taken in Darwin in 1965 while engaged on the Timor Sea contract. (This image will be added to the site later). Parked alongside AGE is a Hunting Aerosurveys DC-3 which was engaged on the same contract for at least several weeks. This DC-3 has been identified as G-AMYW by Geoff Goodall and Doug Morrison. It has been suggested that G-AMYW might have been added to Adastra's airwork licence to permit operations within Australia. It is possible, therefore, that G-AMYW is the second Adastra DC-3 mentioned in contemporary reports.

The photo of the Adastra fleet taken circa 1947 is now thought to show Ansons VH-AGO and VH-AGG either side of the Dragonfly VH-AAD. Because photos of these two Ansons are so rare, I have also linked this photo to the pages for VH-AGG and VH-AGO. It is possible that this photo could have been taken as early as January 1946.
01JUL03 Today I have added no fewer than 14 images. These have been supplied by Ken Pares (Lou's son) and Dora Payens (wife of Peter Payens). They are all of outstanding historical interest.

The Pares photos can be found in the Photo Album (images P1 to Q3). One of these photos suggests that we might have to add a Sydney Harbour ferry to the Adastra fleet list! If anyone can explain the circumstances surrounding this most unusual photo we will be most grateful.

Dora Payens' photos can be found on the following aircraft pages:

Cessna 185 VH-AGE:
At Moorabbin in 1969

B.A. Eagle VH-UUY:
At an unknown location in 1937

Waco VH-UYD:
With Norm Rodoni in 1937
With Peter Payens in 1938
In a revised livery in 1938

Thanks to Dora and Ken for sharing these wonderful images with us.

It's also timely for me to record my appreciation of the efforts that Kevin Pavlich is putting into this project. Much of the material you see on the site is sourced and collated by Kevin. Not only does he send me scans of a very high standard, but he also researches the captions which is often the most difficult task of all. Thank-you Kevin!
30JUN03 Thanks to Tom Singfield in the U.K. we now know exactly what happened to our old friend Prince VH-AGF. Tom specialises on the Prince and he has supplied us with a very detailed history of the aeroplane. Many thanks Tom! Thanks also to Doug Morrison for putting us in touch.
28JUN03 Ever wondered about those two blank buttons on the navigation bar? Look again. Now there is only one blank button, the other having been replaced by a "Search" button. This button will take you to a Search page which will enable you to search the entire Adastra site. This is a free facility which is provided by FreeFind. The downside to being free is that we might have to endure some advertising, but hopefully this will be unobtrusive. If we don't want the advertising it will cost us US$19.00 per month. Hopefully, the advantages of having a search facility will far outweigh any inconvenience from advertising. So why not take the new search engine for a test flight and see if you can stump it. Remember, FreeFind will take you to the page containing your chosen keyword(s) but if you can't locate the reference at a glance, use your browser's "Find" function (Ctrl + F) to find text within the page. Note that the FreeFind robots have to re-visit the site periodically, so recently added material may not come up in the search results. If the search engine can't find what you are looking for please check this Updates page to see what is new.

On the subject of the Navigation Bar, several readers have reported that they cannot see the Nav Bar on the Home Page despite being able to see all the other image elements on the page. This is an ongoing mystery and the only common denominator to emerge to date is that all are Optusnet customers. This should not make any difference and indeed Optus have been unable to reproduce the fault on their systems. If you encounter this problem, please advise Ron. In the meantime, the Home Page now has a link to a simple Text Menu which can be used to navigate the site if the Nav Bar is missing.
27JUN03 The four days since the last update have been spent compiling a new page which is a little different.
Ten Years in the Life of a Hudson Engine is a complete transcript of one of the log books of a Wright Cyclone which was fitted to VH-AGX and VH-AGS at various times from 1956 to 1966. Given that this is an engine log book, one might not expect to find much detail of the daily flying activities, but fortunately some of the pilots and engineers have "gone the extra mile" when there was probably no requirement for them to do so. If you are prepared to wade through line upon line of Daily Inspections there is much interesting reading to be had. Although this page has overtones of "one of those projects you wish you never started" I am hoping that the result is a useful snapshot of a ten year period in Adastra's history. Adastrians will no doubt appreciate the many familiar signatories as they will the noteworthy flight times in August/September 1966!

The Personnel List - Update #19 is now current.
23JUN03 Bill Mitchell has contributed a wonderful anecdote about one of the more obscure Adastra aeroplanes - the Dragon VH-AGC. The Puffless Dragon.
19JUN03 Thanks to Gordon Reid, I have been able to add extra detail about the Kenting B-17 which visited the Adastra hangar at Mascot in 1958.
16JUN03 The page for Catalina VH-AGB now features extra detail of the aeroplane's Canadian military service received from Jerry Vernon in Canada via Doug Morrison.

Added an interesting historical footnote to the page on the 1940 Northern Survey.

Added a reference to the principals of the P.P.C. Aircraft Company on the page for Cessna 185 VH-AGE.
14JUN03 Added a new colour image of Anson VH-AGA from the collection of John Collins.
Added a new image of Hudson VH-AGG outside Hangar 15 from the collection of Jack Howard.
Added 11 new images to the Album page. Images N2 to O6 inclusive.
12JUN03 Mike Wood has penned a wonderful story titled "An Incident with Lionel". Thanks Mike for this contribution.

On the Album Page:
Peter Shute has identified Peter Cowan in Photo H1
Bill Mitchell has identified Clive Gibbons in Photo I5
Kevin Pavlich has identified Joe Linfoot and Jack Howard in Photo B5

On the Personnel List:
Update #17 is now current.
11JUN03 The page for Hudson VH-AGO has been updated with the addition of six new images. Included is a remarkably poignant image of the entire crew photographed at Weipa not long before the fateful crash on 1st July 1957.

The page for the Sycamore helicopter VH-INO has also been updated with a reference to a forced landing which occurred at about the same time that the aircraft was chartered by Adastra.
07JUN03 There have been several additions to the history of Catalina VH-AGB.
04JUN03 Thanks to Catalina specialist David Legg, we have been able to add a very nice photo of Catalina VH-AGB in her former life as CF-GKI.
03JUN03 Here is a good example of how something seemingly unimportant, when combined with other material, can provide a very useful addition to the site. Thanks to Doug Morrison for providing details from a government report which has given birth to a new page on the Northern Survey of 1940.
02JUN03 I have added a new page which looks at the hangars Adastra occupied at Mascot over the years. In all there were three of them and this page includes a map which shows their location. Special thanks to Chris O'Neill who researched this page.
01JUN03 The history of Eagle VH-UUY has been greatly expanded thanks to Chris O'Neill.
30MAY03 I have accumulated so much information on Adastra's Eagle VH-UUY that I have decided to create a separate page for the aeroplane. Thanks to Geoff Goodall, Tony Arbon, Graham Orphan and Nick Challinor for contributing to this page. Special thanks go to Roy Fox for supplying a lovely air-to-air photo of his Eagle VH-UTI which incorporates some parts from VH-UUY. Roy also owns what is left of VH-UUY.

Similarly, the Waco YKS-6 VH-UYD also has its own page from today. It is important that these two aeroplanes are well represented on the site as they were both survey aircraft.
28MAY03 Thanks to Chris O'Neill I have added another fine example of Adastra memorabilia. It is a colour brochure used to promote the Adastra Flying School. The brochure is undated but as it refers to "the first year of operation" it is probably circa 1931. Thanks Chris!
24MAY03 Our first anecdote from Bill Mitchell comes complete with "before" and "after" photos. It is titled:
"A New Way to Land One Eighties in the Moonlight"

That group photo taken in Townsville in 1970 has come to the attention of Brian Costello who has not only identified Roger Knight in the photo but he has also solved the mystery of the nose art on VH-AGS. The Photo
23MAY03 I have received another wonderful Lionel story. "Thank-you for Choosing to Fly Adastra" was written by Bruce Beale in New Zealand. Thanks Bruce for this gem. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the hosties involved did get in touch with us.
20MAY03 Today I have added an anecdote from Bruce Beale in New Zealand. This story deals with the sanitation arrangements during survey flying.

An illustrated history of Sydney Airport titled "From Bullocks to Boeings" includes two anecdotes from Lou Pares. These have been added at the foot of the new page titled "The Airline".

To cut down on load time, this page has been split into two sections.
Updates (this page) lists only updates since 02MAY03 when the site was launched.
Archived Updates lists all updates from inception to 02MAY03 when the site was launched.
Either page can be accessed from the other.
19MAY03 Bob Cozens has provided us with several very interesting photos:

Prince VH-AGF in the green scheme taxying outside the Adastra hangar.

The Kenting Aviation B-17 CF-HBP outside the Adastra hangar in 1958. Although the B-17 was not an Adastra aircraft, it was at the very least handled by Adastra, and as Kenting and Adastra were affiliated with the Hunting group I have decided to add the B-17 to the Fleet List. (Who could resist?) Photo 1 : Photo 2

Bob Cozens has also provided several people photos which will be used on the site eventually. However, one photo in particular is rather special and for this reason it has been added to the Album straight away. Unfortunately, like many transparencies of its vintage, it has suffered in storage to such an extent that it was feared that it might be unusable. If only to demonstrate to other Adastrians that a scratched and mouldy slide can be saved, I have created a page with "Before" and "After" versions of this particular slide. I'm sure you will agree that this wonderful image was worth some extra effort.

Doug Morrison has supplied a lot of new information on the history of the Catalina VH-AGB and this has been incorporated into the page for this aeroplane. Doug has also provided us with an absolute gem of Adastra memorabilia - a flown cover which was carried on the very first Adastra Airways service from Sydney to Bega on 5th February 1934. This letter was actually carried on Fox Moth VH-UQU flown by Frank Follett and furthermore it is endorsed "No 1". View this treasure here.

I have created a new page titled "The Airline" which groups together a few items relevant to the Sydney - Bega service including the above-mentioned flown cover and a 1938 timetable supplied by Roger McDonald.
15MAY03 The history of Catalina VH-AGB has been expanded thanks to contact between Doug Morrison and Catalina Guru, Ragnar Ragnarsson in Iceland. The aircraft type has also been corrected from PBV-1A to Canso A.
02MAY03 Roger McDonald has come up with a photo of the ex-Adastra B.A. Eagle VH-UUY taken at Bathurst on 21st April 1968. Many thanks Roger.
02MAY03 Seventy years ago today, the founder of Adastra, Frank Follett, wrote to the Controller of Civil Aviation:

"If I can get a definite programme of photographic work with occasional taxi jobs I will cheerfully abandon the Flying School field."

On this significant anniversary in Adastra's history, we think that our website is ready to go public. Accordingly, the password protection has been removed and the results of our labours are now available for all to enjoy. Of course this does not mean that our project is finished - far from it. There is still much to be done, but the site is already the most comprehensive reference on Adastra available anywhere. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to date, especially to Kevin and Mike who have done such a wonderful job of sourcing material.

As we make the site available to a wider audience, it has been suggested that we include an explanation of how maps are made from aerial photographs. To this end we could do no better than to reproduce John McCarthy's little booklet "Cartography - an introduction". It will be recalled that John McCarthy served with Adastra as a photogrammetrist from 1951 to 1976, so he is the ideal person to explain this science to the layman.
24APR03 Today I have added three new images:
VH-CFV This view shows the Beech Bonanza with Adastra titles. (Thanks to Nigel Daw)
VH-AGA This view shows the wreckage of the Aero Commander in a parts yard at Roma.
VH-AGA As above. (Thanks to Russell Legg)
23APR03 It will be recalled that when Frank Follett attended the initial meeting to discuss the Army survey of 1942, it was suggested that contractor's aircraft carry military markings to offer some protection against anti-aircraft fire. The NAA file did not indicate if this proposal was implemented, but thanks to Bob Livingstone we now know that it was. These two photographs show the Dragonfly VH-AAD wearing its civil registration together with camouflage and RAAF fin flashes. Thanks Bob for this outstanding contribution:
Photo 1
Photo 2
21APR03

Further on the subject of the Dragonfly VH-AAD, Roger McDonald has supplied a glorious photo of the aeroplane outside the original Adastra hangar at Mascot. As you will see, this photograph has a special history all its own. The photo.

Would you believe an Adastra aeroplane in an air race? This photo of Cessna 185 VH-AGE, taken by Geoff Goodall, proves that it did happen. Does anyone know any more about it?

John Collins has come up with an interesting photo of a Cessna 185. Although no registration is visible, it must be VH-AGE as it is still possible to read the remnants of "Adastra Aerial Surveys" on the fuselage. Can anyone identify the aeroplane positively?

The history of Aero Commander VH-AGA has been expanded with greater detail of how she met her end.

I have also added several new photos of Adastra "lighties":

Aero Commander VH-AGA in the orange scheme (by Roger McDonald)
Aero Commander VH-AGA taking-off (by John Collins)
Aero Commander VH-KRA in Adastra/EWA colours (by Mike Madden via Roger McDonald)
Beech Bonanza VH-CFV in EWA colours (by Mike Madden via Roger McDonald)

Roger McDonald has also contributed a couple of fascinating Adastra advertisements which appeared in "Aircraft" magazine:

January 1935 - Promoting sales of British Klemm aeroplanes.
December 1953 - Commemorating the 50th anniversary of powered flight. This is particularly interesting as this year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of powered flight.

I have also filled two gaps in the Photo Album with two photos from John Collins:
George Smee
Bob Rennick


Finally for today, thanks to Jim Hilferty, I have added two images of the Prince VH-AGF taken at Lyons, France after its return from Adastra:

The Aeroplane
The Crew

18APR03 Thanks to Geoff Goodall I have sufficient information to dedicate a page to the de Havilland Dragonfly VH-AAD. Geoff has also supplied two photos (from Garry Killion) of the aeroplane during its time in the USA. What a remarkable history this aeroplane has. I am currently attempting to contact the current owners in New Zealand in the hope that they can add to its history.
17APR03 With the Chronology pages behind me, I have been able to add the following:
Operating the Catalina by Ted McKenzie.
Propellor Trouble by Maurie Miller
Brushes with the Law by Maurie Miller
The Carnegie Damper Cooking Contest by Max Garroway
A Most Unusual BBQ - by Max Garroway.
Thank you gentlemen. Have a Happy Easter everyone.
14APR03

The Chronology pages are now up to date. The enormous amount of material which has been added in recent days can be found in the thirties and the forties and encompasses the following basic topics:
The Flying School
The Bega Service
The 1942 Army Survey
The Purchase of Anson VH-AGG
All of these episodes clearly demonstrate that Adastra was a constant financial battle for Frank Follett and it is difficult not to form the impression that he was shabbily treated by the Government, despite the favours of his friend Edgar Johnston.

The 1942 Army Survey also features on a new page which summarises many of the survey flights with the Waco and the Dragonfly. This page also displays a Photographic Report Form from July 1942 in respect of a survey flight by the Dragonfly.

I have also added two photos of Adastra's Fox Moth VH-UQU.
Photo 1 - From the Robert Wills Collection at Australia's Museum of Flight, Nowra.
Photo 2 - From the Jack Townsend Collection via Kevin Pavlich.

10APR03 Ted McKenzie has provided a wonderful story about Adastra's Doug.
To Wal Bowles' story of "Jack McDonald's Last Fright in a Hudson" I have added a photo of the Madang fire tenders awaiting the arrival of VH-AGX.
08APR03 I haven't gone AWOL. I'm still beavering away at the Chronology and hope to upload some major updates in the next few days. In the meantime, I have received a real gem from Geoff Goodall. It is a stainless steel identification plate from Anson VH-BNS. It will be remembered that this aeroplane only lasted two months in Adastra service. The plate has lasted considerably longer. View the plate here.
04APR03 Today I began to tackle the latest 400 pages of material unearthed from the National Archives of Australia by Chris O'Neill. Although I have uploaded only a small percentage of this material, what is there already provides an interesting insight into the activities of the Adastra Flying School. Most of this can be found on the Chronology page. TIP: To find what is new on this page, use your browser's "Find" function (Ctrl + F in Internet Explorer) to search for the recurring source (NAA MP115/1 5/103/40) which appears first in the Chronology under 10SEP30. Just copy and paste this into your browser's "Find" window and keep clicking "Find Next" to cycle through all the new references from this same source. There are a couple of documents which could not be accommodated by the Chronology so these have been incorporated into a new page on the Adastra Flying School.
The Chronology page is developing at such a rate that I have found it necessary to split the page up into decades as the file was becoming too large. This requirement had been anticipated but not so soon! Each decade is cross linked to the other decades and all are accessible directly from the Company menu
03APR03 Rick Geary's account of the Daly Waters Bird Strike has been amended as Rick has been able to pin down the date to 23rd December 1968. Rick has also added a recollection about Adastra's Christmas largesse!
The National Archives have yielded another Adastra letterhead which predates any of the others in our collection. In fact it was the one Frank Follett used in 1930 to notify the Controller of Civil Aviation that Adastra Airways Ltd. had been formed! We have also located one from the WWII period. View them here: 1930 : 1943
02APR03 The latest addition to the site is an aircraft and aircrew roster from April 1974. This was Mike Wood's last production and you can view it here. Although it's all "lighties" with no "real aeroplanes", it does imply that a Hudson is still in service. One surprise on the list (which almost qualifies as a real aeroplane) is the venerable Beech Queen Air VH-CTE which Civil Flying Services used for aerial survey for many years. This document indicates that the Queen Air was hired by Adastra for a time. Accordingly, the aeroplane has been added to the Fleet List and I have added two photos of VH-CTE to the Miscellaneous Aircraft page. This 1974 roster has also contributed some new names to the Personnel List. It has been decided not to include Civil's staff for the time being.
Ted McKenzie's account of Operating the Prince has been moved to the Operations page as this is a more logical location. In preparation for going public with the site in the near future, Kevin is chasing up similar accounts of the various aircraft/mission combinations, so if you have a literary bent please register interest with Kevin.
01APR03 Today I have added 31 new images to the Photo Album. As this page continues to grow, I thought it might be a good idea to add a reference grid to facilitate identification of individual images within the album. With so many skilled navigators looking over my shoulder I tend to get paranoid about such things! You will find the new images from G6 onwards. Whilst all of these images are wonderful, don't miss the glorious newspaper photograph of Max Garroway, Mike Wood and Bunny Hammond in the cockpit of VH-AGS. This image is H2 on the page or you can go directly to it here. Most of the new images come from Alex Whitworth whose artistry with a camera we have already come to appreciate. Everyone will be familiar with Alex's wonderful black and white portrait of Lionel which has been on the site from the outset. Recently I was pleasantly surprised to find that a colour version exists. This, together with another superb colour portrait have been added to Lionel's biography. Alex has also provided an air-to-air photo of Cessna 206 VH-DGD which has been added to the page for this aircraft.
I have also added a new personal anecdote called Bird Strike. Thanks to Rick Geary and Alex Whitworth for this collaboration.
30MAR03 After consulting several sources, I had settled on spelling Lionel's name with a lower case "v". Then the penny dropped that I have a letter from Lionel and that it should provide incontrovertible proof one way or the other. Indeed it does prove that Lionel wrote his own name with a capital "V". As he was THE world authority on the subject, I will happily amend all references on the site. Although Lionel's comments about the Hudson have been on the site for some time, I have decided to add a scan of the letter on the People menu.
29MAR03 Another hatchback! In the light of the revelation about the large hatch fitted to Hudson VH-AGG, I thought that I had better search the Adastra fleet for other air ambulances. Indeed VH-AGO received the same modification and close examination of available photos of the starboard side of VH-AGO confirm the outline of a similar hatch. So it seems that AGG and AGO were a "pigeon pair". The Hatchback page has been updated accordingly.
I have added John Batho, a pilot, to the Personnel list. This information was supplied by noted Hudson scholar David Vincent who has also been added to the list of Contributors.
28MAR03 The page for Hudson VH-AGJ has undergone a significant update. I have added greater detail of the various aerial survey modifications and a reference to the Humpty Doo wire strike incident. The latter is illustrated with four images thanks to Jim Hilferty.
27MAR03 The Sepal memo referred to in yesterday's update has surfaced in the form of an original copy from Kevin Pavlich's collection. View a scan of the document here.
Given the number of Ansons in the fleet, I have added a table of the Anson Fleet, similar to that of the Hudson fleet.
26MAR03 Mike Wood has supplied a memo which advises that aircrew and aircraft are to be grouped under the Sepal name. See the Chronology under 02JAN62.
Several additions and amendments have been made to the Personnel table.
25MAR03 Thanks to Gordon Reid we now have proof that Aero Commander VH-AGA was painted in the orange scheme. Gordon photographed the aeroplane at Essendon in July 1974.
Thanks to Alex Whitworth for another addition to our collection of Adastra letterheads. This example is dated 17th December 1974 and its "retro" design suggests that by then the company was either scraping the barrel for stationery or trying to avoid using anything with an East-West logo on it!
Another addition to the site is a simple In Memoriam page which pays tribute to those who lost their lives in Adastra Hudsons.
24MAR03 Thanks to Wal Bowles I have added a wonderful story titled "Jack McDonald's Last Fright in a Hudson". This thirty page epic has been added to the Anecdotes page. Don't be discouraged by its length as it's a great read and best appreciated on a dark and stormy night!
Also added to the Anecdotes page is a delightful story from Max Garroway. If nothing else, it serves to demonstrate the value of surveying before beginning a mining operation! The story didn't come with a title so I have taken the liberty of calling it "Moonlighting".
Thanks to Mike Wood I have been able to add another five issues to our collection of the "Australian Aerial Survey Review". This means we are now missing only issues 4 and 7 plus any subsequent to issue 10 if any were published.
The Company profile page now includes a glorious photo from Mike Wood's collection. It depicts Hudson VH-AGX and 16 Adastra staff outside Hangar 15 at Mascot. Four of the personnel are so far unidentified. (I wish they'd painted the hangar and dressed the props!) The Photo.
21MAR03 Mike Wood has supplied a photo of three Adastra Hudsons outside the Mascot hangar in 1955. Closer examination of the photo reveals a curious dark area on the rear fuselage of VH-AGG. Further investigation has resulted in the discovery (to me anyway!) of the Hudson Hatchback.
17MAR03 I have added two new pages to the Projects menu. These are derived from memos to aircrew listing the operational programmes for March 1962 and November 1962. Thanks to Kevin for these two documents. This is very useful material, so if any other reader has copies of similar memos for different periods they would be most welcome additions to the site.
14MAR03 I have made a few more additions to the Chronology page. See the updates table on the page for details. As an indication of how useful this page can be, note that in March 1950, Adastra evaluated Ansett's Lockheed 10 VH-UZO, but a sale did not eventuate. In June 1950, Adastra bought their first Hudson.
12MAR03 The Chronology page continues to occupy me. I have been through all the aircraft pages and extracted the dates in/out of Adastra and added these to the Chronology. By combining information from many different sources a very useful picture is emerging.
11MAR03 I have added content from 1951 to 1962 to the Chronology page. I have also divided this page into years and provided an index of years.
10MAR03 Whilst it may appear that nothing has been done for four days, I have been busy preparing a summary of the correspondence between Frank Follett and Edgar Johnston, the Controller of Civil Aviation. This material has been made available courtesy of Roger Meyer of the CAA Historical Group. It has been incorporated into a new page called the Chronology to which will be added other historical facts as they become available. This correspondence provides an excellent insight into the company's evolution from a flying school to an airline and to an aerial survey operator.
I have also added a very readable biography from Derek Minter in the U.K.
06MAR03 There have been several additions to the Personnel table. I have also improved the functionality of the table as its size is becoming impressive. There are now links to the Updates and Notes tables at the top of the page under the alphabetical index and all notes in the Remarks column are now linked to the relevant part of the Notes table.
The Letterheads page now features two new variations, the most notable being a letterhead for Adastra Victorian Surveys Pty. Ltd.
05MAR03 Kevin thought it would be a good idea if I included a new page to thank everyone who has contributed to this project. Of course there is a major risk with this as it is inevitable that someone will be shamefully overlooked! If you spot any omissions please advise Kevin or Ron. The page has been divided into two categories - Adastrians and Non-Adastrians. You will find the Contributors page off the People menu.
03MAR03 The Personal Anecdotes page now includes Geoff Linfoot's recollections of one of the characters of Adastra - Jack McDonald. Many thanks Geoff.
02MAR03 Today I added two new pages to the Equipment section. Amongst the material which Chris O'Neill has discovered are a copy of an Adastra engineering order describing the fitment of the towed bird magnetometer to Hudson VH-AGS and a letter from Jack McDonald to DCA providing details of a planned fixed head magnetometer boom on the Hudson. Both documents have been reproduced in full as image files.
Towed Bird
Boom
01MAR03 I have added scans of issues 5, 6 & 10 of the newsletter "Australian Aerial Survey Review". Thanks to Jim Hilferty and Kevin Pavlich for these. It would be nice to include a full set on the site so if any reader has additional copies they would be most welcome.
I have appended a table of Aircraft Registered to Sepal to the Adastra fleet list. Of course, some of the aircraft in this table are not relevant to Adastra which did not take-over Sepal until (I believe) late 1957. Nevertheless, all Australian registered Sepal aircraft have been included in the interests of completeness. Thanks to Tony Arbon for the data in this table.
Thanks to Ed Coates in the USA, I have added an image of the CSIRO Anson VH-WMA. It is believed that this aeroplane was used for parts by Adastra.
My latest creation is a page which studies the Evolution of the Company Letterhead. Here you will find 10 variations of Adastra letterhead.
28FEB03 I have completely overhauled the navigation of the site. With so many old navigators looking over my shoulder I was aware that improvements had to be made. The new navigation buttons are not quite as pretty as the first lot (e.g. they don't change colour on mouse-over) but I think they are easier to read and it is simpler for me to put the nav bar on every page (except the photo pages and the individual aircraft pages). So now you can basically go anywhere from anywhere. You will note that there are two blank buttons on the nav bar. This will leave me a bit of room for expansion. It's been quite a big job and it's likely that I have missed something so please let me know if you find any broken links.
27FEB03 I know it's got little to do with Adastra, but I did pose the question: Whatever happened to the Adastra 707? The best way to answer this question is with a photo of the former VH-EAA in wolf's clothing as a Joint STARS E-8C. (Just humour an old Qantas man!) The photo is courtesy of Michael Schmidt in Germany.
Someone who has everything to do with Adastra is the company founder, Frank Follett. I have found a useful biography of the man in "The Australian Dictionary of Biography".
25FEB03 Today I have embellished Mike Wood's account of the 707 project with a few additions, including a sketch of the camera mount designed by Qantas. The story is now linked to a new page which explains: What happened to the Adastra 707?
Thanks to Kevin we have another piece to the Unit Numbers jigsaw.
24FEB03 It would appear that I have just had my longest break from the Adastra site since the project started, but rest assured I have been busy scanning the many wonderful photos that are coming my way and updating the aircraft history pages. Have a look at the Anson page and you will find that there are now detailed histories for all of them, including two which served only as "Christmas trees". For all of this data, and the accompanying photos, I am indebted to my good friend Geoff Goodall. Geoff is the Anson guru in Australia and it was he who wrote the Australian chapter in Air-Britain's definitive book on the Anson. In particular, have a look at the page for Adastra's first Anson, VH-AGG, as it chronicles very well the trials and tribulations of putting the Anson into service, and keeping it in service.
21FEB03 As I am asking you guys to bear your souls for the website project, it's probably appropriate that I do likewise. Accordingly, and with Kevin's concurrence, I have added a Webmaster's Biography.
20FEB03 I have added an image of the Prince as F-BJAI at Elstree, UK in April 1962. Thanks to Gordon Reid for this image. Gordon also photographed the aeroplane in the same markings at Elstree in August 1963.
19FEB03 Today I have cleared quite a backlog of material.

Biography for Maurie Miller.
Anecdotes from Wal Bowles, Rick Geary and Geoff Linfoot. There is some great reading on the Anecdotes page so don't miss it.
18FEB03

I haven't really been off the job for the last four days. I have been working on the site. I just haven't been uploading anything. Maurie Miller has been kind enough to trust me with his original slides so I have been able to scan these at high resolution and replace the previous versions which were scanned from prints. I think you will consider it a vast improvement which does greater justice to Maurie's precious photos. These are the images which have been replaced:

Prince VH-AGF in the green scheme
Sycamore VH-INO with Bird
Sycamore VH-INO with Bird in flight
Catalina VH-AGB with floats
Catalina VH-AGB air-to-air from the Prince
Catalina VH-AGB air-to-air from the Prince
Catalina VH-AGB in front of the hangar in Hobart
Catalina VH-AGB internal port side
Catalina VH-AGB internal starboard side (new image)
Catalina VH-AGB being loaded with a power plant

It's well worth your time to revisit these images. Thanks Maurie!

I have also added 23 new names to the Personnel List.

14FEB03 I have added another row of photos to the Album Page, making a total of 42 so far.
13FEB03 Today I have added a truly remarkable story which was supplied by Mike Wood. It details a series of experiments with aerial survey photography at 40,000 feet, culminating in successful trials with a Boeing 707. The story also refers to a brief dalliance with a Hawker Siddeley HS125 business jet. Don't miss the full impact of the historically significant date of the final 707 trial flight. Thanks Mike for sharing this story with us.
I have also added two of Jack Howard's photos to the page for Hudson VH-AGS. One of these images is my "Holy Grail" in that depicts the aeroplane in the Grey Scheme in colour. Some time ago I predicted that, in the fifties, nobody would have wasted precious colour film on an aeroplane that was painted grey, white and black! I am delighted to say that Jack Howard has proved me wrong! The other shot, also of AGS, shows her in a pristine Green Scheme, I suspect not long after she was first painted in this livery. Enjoy these beautiful images:
VH-AGS Grey
VH-AGS Green
12FEB03 Thanks to Roger McDonald I have been able to add an image of a genuine Adastra Airways passenger ticket. Roger, who is an authority on Australian airlines, will also be providing copies of Adastra timetables.
I have made significant progress with the Photo Album which currently stands at 36 images from the collections of Jack Howard, Alex Whitworth and Kevin Pavlich plus a few more.
11FEB03

Added many new names to the Personnel Table. (Thanks to Kevin Pavlich)
Corrected the date on the first Prince photo from 1957 to 1954. (Thanks to Ted McKenzie)
Added more detail on the history of the Prince. (Thanks to Geoff Goodall)
Added a new page for Personal Anecdotes and to get it started:
Operating the Prince by Ted McKenzie

The First Woman Camera Op by Max Garroway.

10FEB03 I have made a start on our first Photo Album. The main function of this page is to group together photos of people and events that are not otherwise featured on the aircraft pages. This page will present you with a table of thumbnail images which are all linked to full-screen versions. I have included captions as text underneath the images rather than my usual practice of superimposing the caption on the image itself. There are several reasons for this: (a) It is quicker (b) There is more room for detailed captions and (c) It is easier to change the text when the inevitable additions and corrections start flowing in. At this stage our first album has only 18 images, but it's a start.
09FEB03 Added Anson W2599 to the list of aircraft. This Anson was acquired for parts and never entered service.
Added a glorious photograph from the Jack Howard Collection. It depicts an Adastra crew in company uniform posing in front of an Anson believed to be VH-AGO in the late forties. Apart from being the only known photo of Adastra crew in uniform, it is also the clearest photo we have of the company emblem and inscription which appeared on the nose of the aircraft in the early years. Note that this Anson is "Air Survey Unit No. 2".
I have added 4 new images to the Miscellaneous Aircraft page. They are B.A. Eagle VH-UUY, Cessna 210 VH-KMF and Cessna 320 VH-DRK (2 images). None of these aircraft carry Adastra titles although the C210 and the C320 wear East-West colours and were registered to Adastra at the time.
08FEB03 The page formerly titled "Survivors" has been re-titled "Miscellaneous Aircraft" to accommodate photos of aircraft which do not have their own page.
I have added a new page titled "Unit Numbers". This page examines the Unit Numbers which were allocated to Adastra Aerial Surveys aircraft in the early years. As you will see from the page, not much is known about this subject. Does anyone have a list of these numbers?
07FEB03 I asked my friend and "Register Guru" Tony Arbon to punch "Adastra" into his database and come up with a list of every aeroplane that was ever registered to Adastra. This he has done with surprising results, which have enabled me to add 6 new aircraft to the fleet list. It includes such types as a Beech Bonanza, a Beech Musketeer (won't get that to 25,000ft!) and a Cessna 210. I forgot to ask Tony about Sepal so there might be more additions to come. It's developing into quite an impressive list!

The page for Dragon VH-AGC has been updated with extra detail, also thanks to Tony Arbon.
06FEB03 Thanks to Maurie Miller I have been able to make a very unexpected addition to the Adastra fleet list. I was not previously aware that Adastra chartered a Bristol Sycamore helicopter from ANA for an electro-magnetic survey at Queenstown, Tasmania in 1957.
Also thanks to Maurie Miller I have added 7 new images to the Catalina page and 2 new colour images to the Prince page. There are some absolutely amazing photos amongst these additions. Thank-you Maurie for sharing them with us.
05FEB03 Today I added a page which features a biography of Kevin Pavlich who is one of the driving forces behind this project. Kevin wrote the bio himself and it is an excellent example of what we would like to receive from all former Adastra people. The page also includes a wonderful photo of Kevin with the Catalina.
I have also added much extra detail to the history of DC-3 VH-AGU thanks to DC-3 specialist Allan Bovelt.
03FEB03 Today I added a page for the DH-84 Dragon VH-AGC. Details of its history are sketchy but I am expecting more soon. There are three photos on the page.
02FEB03 What? No additions on 1st February? Well actually I was working on today's additions. I have been provided with a 14 page "Story of Adastra" which was written by the late John McCarthy who was a photogrammetrist with Adastra from 1951 until the close of business in 1976. Although it is a comprehensive history of the company, it is slanted more towards the survey side of the operation. The article is presented here in full for the benefit of former Adastra staff members. Please do not disseminate the article as we do not yet have permission to reproduce it. Thanks to Bob Livingstone for providing a photocopy of the article. We must all be thankful that Mr McCarthy had the foresight to record this aspect of Adastra's history.
Enjoy The Story of Adastra
John McCarthy's article has also provided several new names which have been added to the Personnel List
31JAN03 I have added several names to the Personnel Table thanks to Bruce Beale in N.Z.
Kevin Pavlich has provided a copy of "Australian Aerial Survey Review" (Issue #10 dated August 1965) which has provided a few other names together with the fact that one of Lionel's sons was a Camera Operator with Adastra. Does anyone know his name?
Does anyone have other issues of the "Australian Aerial Survey Review"?
I have received permission from "Australian Flying" magazine to reproduce the 1970 article in full. I have also improved the quality of the scans.
30JAN03 I have added two examples of Adastra letterhead to the Company page. These images are linked to full screen images of both letters.
Also on the Company page I have added the other pages of the Adastra sales brochure and the "Australian Flying" magazine article. I have asked Yaffa Publishing for permission to reproduce the "Australian Flying" article. This latter article also provided several names for the Personnel Table.
I have added two images of the Prince VH-AGF. These were taken by Dudley McDermott and supplied by Kevin Pavlich. Photo 1 - Photo 2
29JAN03 I have added 17 names to the Personnel Table thanks to Alex Whitworth. These names are notated "Note 2" in the table.
Can anyone identify this engineer? The Hudson is AGO. Photo
I have added a new page with the check list for the R.C. 8 camera. Thanks to Kevin Pavlich.
I have added a new page which is a facsimile of a memo to aircrew regarding the issue of personal equipment. Again thanks to Kevin Pavlich.
28JAN03 I have begun a table of staff names. This page represents the sum total of my knowledge on the subject so it's over to the people who were there to fill in any gaps. Please send your contributions to Kevin Pavlich.
Personnel
I have created a new page called "Adastra Survivors", basically as a vehicle for presenting photos of old Adastra aircraft which still survive today. At present it includes only the DH-90 Dragonfly and the Waco YKS-6 VH-UYD as these aircraft do not have their own pages. This page was re-titled Miscellaneous Aircraft on 08FEB03 to widen its scope so we can include photos of aircraft which do not have their own page.
Miscellaneous Aircraft
On the subject of survivors, it is well known that Anson VH-AGA survives at the Camden Museum of Aviation. What might not be so well known is that Adastra actually DONATED the aeroplane to the museum. Take 100 bonus brownie points Adastra!
27JAN03 I have opened a real can of worms this time! I have attempted to compile a list of every aircraft associated with Adastra since the thirties. I doubt if I will attempt to write individual pages for each of these aircraft but clearly all aircraft used on survey operations should aspire to individual pages. It is interesting to note that the Dragonfly VH-AAD is currently flying in New Zealand as ZK-AYR. If I have missed anything or if you spot any errors please let me know.
The Adastra Fleet List.
The company history has been greatly expanded from references in "Flypast" by Neville Parnell and Trevor Boughton. There's still a long way to go though!
The Company
26JAN03 Added an image of the Prince G-AMLW taken soon after its arrival in Australia. Thanks to Ed Coates in the U.S.A. for this.
The biography page for Lionel van Praag has been added to significantly. The first thing that emerges is that there is a book in this subject alone! The page will benefit greatly from additions and anecdotes from Adastra people who knew him. All readers please check the page for accuracy.
25JAN03 Added a new page Hudson Kit which partially explains the "Hat" on AGS and further explores the Hudson magnetometer boom.
Added an image of Anson VH-AGA in its previous guise as VH-AVT.
Thanks to Ed Coates.
The Home Page now includes an Adastra emblem which was taken from a 1958 letterhead supplied by Kevin Pavlich.
24JAN03 Corrected and updated the page for C185 VH-AGE.
Corrected the source of the two photos of Catalina VH-AGB at Hobart.
23JAN03 Added a temporary Welcome page.
Added a temporary Questions page.
Added this temporary Updates page.
Added a page for C185 VH-AGE.
Added a page for C206 VH-DGD.
Added pages for the two Mustangs.
Added a page for the DC-3 VH-AGU.
Added a page for the Catalina VH-AGB.
Added pages for the two Ansons VH-AGA & VH-BLF.
Added a page for the Prince VH-AGF.
The Equipment page now includes a list of suggested topics to be developed.