Our Patron Nancy-Bird Walton passes on

Nancy Bird Walton

By now, most of you would have heard the sad news that one of our Patrons, Nancy Bird Walton passed away on 13 January aged 93. Our Director Phil Dulhunty offers the following tribute:

It is especially sad for us to us to learn of the passing of Nancy Bird Walton, a pioneer and legend in Australian aviation. Nancy was a close friend of Lenore and me as in later years we spent many Saturday evenings together. She always had a soft spot for seaplanes and especially the Catalina which her friend P G Taylor used to fly.

During the Powder Puff Derby days in USA Nancy always went on the seaplane safaris and brought back to us “The Seaplane Song”: “Have you flown with the gulls in the morning”.

Nancy was the Patron (and a very active one) of the Catalina Flying Memorial and will be missed by all Catalina veterans and members of the seaplane pilots association.

Although seaplanes may have been only a small part of Nancy’s aviation career, in her later years she became a real enthusiast and we will miss her dearly.

Philip Dulhunty - Chairman
Seaplane Pilots Association of Australia

Director - Catalina Flying Memorial Limited

An obituary courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald has been posted on the Catalina Flying Memorial Limited (CFML) website Nancy was a great inspiration to many throughout her long life and will be greatly missed.

As Phil mentioned above, Nancy was indeed an patron of the CFML. This was only too evident from a letter Nancy sent to Phil on 11 December, only a few days after the arrival of our Cat in Sydney and slightly less than a month prior to her passing, congratulating Phil and the team on their efforts. A copy of this letter may be found on our website – just go to the final newsletter for 2008 as follows - Dec 21st Newsletter, then click on the link - Letter of Congratulations from our patron Nancy Bird_walton.

Call for Volunteers

First of all - welcome to 2009 and a happy New Year to all members and volunteers. We hope you had a relaxed and enjoyable festive season, in readiness for the year ahead.

Our Catalina VH-CAT has now completed Stage I of its resurrection into a ‘Black Cat” to be stationed at the Rathmines wartime Catalina base on Lake Macquarie.

The preparation for its ferry flight from Portugal to Australia was a mammoth task, involving the purchase and installation of two new Pratt and Whitney 1830-92 engines and Hamilton propellers plus the restoration of the airframe and all the documentation that goes with it.

The ferry flight under the command of Jim Hazelton was an experience in itself – over two weeks crossing deserts, oceans, mountains and being in Mumbai just before the terrorist attack – and finally ending up with a splash down at Rathmines and a tie down at Bankstown.

It represents a wonderful result from a lot of sweat and money from just a handful of volunteers (& $360,000 (?))

But this is just the beginning!

To obtain an Australian C of A (Certificate of Airworthiness) to allow us to operate we must find:-

  • engineering or mechanical volunteers,
  • pilots and flying crew volunteers (get in the queue),
  • a workshop hangar at least 104 feet wide and 21 feet high, and
  • last but most important – a corporate sponsor (or 2) to put their name on the project.

The project to date has received tremendous publicity but is nothing compared to that which we believe will eventuate when we start operating off the water at all the appropriate places – Rathmines, Rose Bay, Jervis Bay, Port Stephens, Brisbane, Whitsundays, Bowen, Cairns - wherever Catalinas went!

We are already being chased by the TV channels, radio and newspapers. All this means that the project has gained significant momentum which we must strive to maintain and capitalise upon.

Our first and most immediate challenge is to make the most of the six months free parking our Catalina has been given at Bankstown, so it would be good if we could get as much restoration work done as possible in this time. At the time of writing, six weeks of this time had already lapsed, so we really need to get cracking.

We are now calling for volunteers to help maintain and fly our PBY 6A while it is resident at Bankstown. If you think you can help, please download and fill out the Volunteer Application Form - How to Help

Please send your completed application form to us by one of the following means:

The Catalina Flying Memorial Ltd
Building 2, Ground Floor          
35-41 Waterloo Rd
North Ryde NSW 2113

Get your application in now – we need you urgently. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated!

Money needed badly!

Well, it’s no secret that we still need money badly. Yes, the ferry flight is behind us. We’ve have indeed come a long way in the last twelve months. Our Cat is here with completely overhauled engines and we have a $60,000 shortfall as a result of the 2007 set back and our failure to attract a major sponsor. On top of this, there is approximately $150,000 in borrowed funds that covered, among other things, out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the ferry flight crew to pay for fuel and other items required to get our Cat here.

And we’re just at the end of Stage I of the project!

Then there are the funds required to meet the future challenges we face, some immediate, others slightly less so – conversion of VH-CAT to Black Cat configuration (this will cost approximately $150,000), airport parking fees, fuel, building approvals, hangar construction and so on, and so, and so on. So we’re starting well behind the starting blocks.

Funding, sponsorships, financial Support - without money, and good amounts of it, the whole project will founder.  The Cat Club memberships and contributions by a large number of people are an essential part of the support base. Entrance fees, merchandise sales, flight donations can add to the funding base.  But some large sponsorship by a company or several companies are almost essential to make the project viable and to realise its potential.  Some skilled and professional fund-raising efforts are now called for. We need to work hard to wipe out the current shortfall, pay back borrowed money and find the funds required to tackle the future stages of the project.

If you think you can help in any way (eg, perhaps you have a contact with a potential major sponsor, or you may have some brilliant fund-raising idea), we’d love to hear from you! Please contact us by

email at

or phone (02) 02 9870 7277 if you think you can help.

You can now pay us using PayPal!

Are you are about to join the Cat Club, renew your Cat Club membership or make a donation?

If you answered “yes”, then we have some great news for you. You can now pay us using PayPal!

All you need to do is go to the “How to help” page

Click the PayPal Donate button and enter your amount - easy!

Membership Enquiry

Mr Wayne Forbes wrote to us recently enquiring about joining Cat Club, so soon we’ll have another member among our ranks – welcome Wayne and thank you for your support. Wayne’s interest in Catalinas comes about because his grandfather, LAC Kenneth Bruce Barwick served with 112 Air Sea Rescue Flight when it was based at Darwin.

Mr Barwick lived at Newcastle his entire life, hence at some stage, he may also have been based at Rathmines during his wartime service. Sadly, Mr Barwick passed away two years ago aged 85. Wayne would like to hear from any Cat Club members who served with 112 ASRF.

If you served with 112 ASRF, or otherwise new Mr Barwick, please contact Wayne by email ( or mail as follows:

Wayne Forbes
Ansaldo STS, Broadmeadow Road,
Broadmeadow NSW 2292


Newsletter and Web Content edited By : Colin Cool

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Jan 24th 2009

Volume 3 Issue 1

Newsletter Spotlight

A $1000 donation will get you a seat as a crew member on a flight. $5000 will get you a number of flights including water landings and some instruction. This reward will be available some time in the future once the Catalina is established in Australia.


Donate using your PayPal account
For more details

Direct Deposit details:

The Catalina Flying Memorial Gift Fund
ANZ Bank
BSB 012 172
Account number: 8370 26202


If you have any news or comments regarding the website, or newsletter items, please forward to

Editor - Colin Cool

Web Administrator - Jillian Brandon

NEWS: To view past newsletters, view press releases and other news


Catalina Flying Memorial Ltd
ACN 103 492 440
Building 2, Ground Floor
35-41 Waterloo Rd
Macquarie Park NSW 2113




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