CFML Membership Renewals

It has been decided that all one-year memberships of The Catalina Flying Memorial Ltd (CFML) will expire at the end of each financial year. This means that membership renewal applications will be posted to all those holding one-year membership around June/July each year.

However, for this year, membership renewal applications for 2008/09 will be posted in August. So for those who hold one-year membership, keep an eye on your letterbox for your renewal application. You may even wish to consider joining as an individual Life Member, which costs only $500, or $1000 for family life membership! (This is a one-off cost of course). One year individual membership costs $50 pa ($150 pa for family membership).

Renewing all one-year memberships simultaneously, regardless of the date of joining was preferred because it is much simpler to renew everyone at the same time. Renewing on the anniversary of joining would require someone to continuously monitor renewal dates, this carries with it an increased risk of renewals falling through the cracks. Furthermore, the system of simultaneous renewals is consistent with the practice of most other organisations.

If your postal address has changed since you joined, please contact us by e-mail, or phone ((02) 9870 7277 – ask for Christina Mumford or Phil Dulhunty).

The CFML looks forward to (and needs) your ongoing support (you only need to look at the next item to appreciate the reason for this!)

New Engines purchased

Following the exploration of a number of options for the purchase of new engines for VH-CAT, it was finally decided to go for completely overhauled ones from Texas @US5 2,000 each. However, we’re not out of the woods by any means.

We now have to organise removal and stripping of the old engines and installation of the new ones. How and where we can do this is under consideration depending on CASA requirements and availability of engineers and facilities.

What we need most is money and a corporate sponsor. If you can help in any way, please contact the CFML by e-mail (, or phone ((02) 9870 7277).

“Small” donations are still vital and sought but a big sugar daddy would be great!

In the Steps of the Black Cat – progress report

Pete & Trish’s trip continues pretty much as planned and to schedule. As of 5 July, they had reached Kununurra after having left Darwin earlier in the day. A running commentary of the trip, “live” from Pete & Trish, may be found on the News page on the CFML website (

Catalina Festival Ball a huge success!



Bill Hitchcock & Mike User both reported that the annual Catalina Festival Ball held in June was a huge success, with all tickets sold out. Music was provided by the RAAF swing band Force 10 (comprising 14 musicians) and the RAAF Catalina Wind Quintet. The event was held at the Rathmines Community Centre, formerly the base’s Airmen’s Recreational Centre and included a first class three-course meal.

According to Mike, the bands really made the night and the ball raised $6,051 for the CFML, of which $1,000 resulted from the auctioning of a seat on VH-CAT. (By seat, I mean the opportunity to be strapped to it during a take-off, flight and landing -not the seat itself!).

The photos below appear courtesy of a local newspaper.


Flying Boats Exhibition – a report from the Editor

On the evening of June 26, I attended a private viewing of the exhibition at the Museum of Sydney which was open to members of the Historic Houses Trust and their guests. The event featured two former Ansett pilots, Jim Hughes and Ray Daw, who served as first officers on Sandringhams from 1958 until each moved on to Cathy Pacific (Jim in 1961, followed by Ray in 1965). Jim also flew the Catalina VH-BRI that Ansett operated from October 1959 until July 1962.

Jim and Ray shared their memories with an attentive audience in the form of an interview conducted by curator Mathew Holle. The audience was treated to a first-hand account of the challenges of operating a large four-engined aeroplane from the water, complemented by an excerpt from the 1974 documentary, “The Ships that Flew” featuring Captain Lloyd Maundrell at the controls of Sandringham VH-BRC during a take-off run busily working the ailerons to keep the floats out of the water and pushing the stick back and forth to get her up on the step.

There were also some amusing stories concerning a couple of serious near-misses. One involved a speedboat driven by a poser trying to impress his bikini-clad, terror-ridden girlfriends as he attempted to play chicken with a landing Sandringham. It was only through the superb airmanship of Capt. Ron Gillies, assisted by Ray Daw, that tragedy was narrowly avoided with the boat passing straight under the hull! There was only another story involving one of the Ansett boats taking off from Lake Eucumbene and leaving a “V” cut into a tree on the banks of the lake at the end of the take-off run. Boy, oh boy!

The talk was followed by some light refreshments and a private viewing of the exhibition. The event left me feeling extremely grateful to Mathew Holle for making the exhibition possible. I have fond memories of the old Flying Boat Base at Rose Bay, so I was delighted to see a series of “then and now” photos, alternating between shots taken of the base (or part thereof) when it existed, and the same view taken today. This provided a powerful illustration of the total obliteration of the old place. It was both interesting and sad. Unlike Rathmines, where a number of features of the old base remain (slipway, hardstand, some buildings etc), absolutely no trace of Sydney’s first international airport remains. At least we have this collection of photos to help provide a link to the past.
RAAF Catalinas also feature in the exhibition, including the moving story about the nine Cats that were used to repatriate Prisoners of War to Australia at the end of WW2, their long journey from their place of incarceration ending at Rose Bay.
To close, I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to Mathew Holle for his efforts – a job well done. The exhibition continues until 14 September, so if you can get there, don’t miss out!
Museum of Sydney
Cnr Phillip and Bridge Streets,
Sydney NSW

Duigan First Flight Centenary Celebration 2010  

Very few would know that on July 16, 1910, brothers John and Reg Duigan managed the first flight of an Australian-built aircraft at Mia Mia in central Victoria, recording the grand distance of seven metres.

Preparations are now underway for the celebration of the centenary of this momentous event in 2010 and Bernie Campbell, President of the Mia Mia Mechanics Institute is asking if we could help spread the word. Bernie states that the Mia Mia community wants as many people as possible in the aviation industry to know that “big things are happening” in the tiny farming town.

If you wish to know more, or even better, if you’re willing to help out, you can contact Bernie by phone ((03) 5425 5501) or e-mail (

PS: Now, I hear you asking: “What’s this got to do with Catalinas?” Well, as it happens, the same Duigan family that gave us Reg and John also produced Terry, or should I say Flight Lieutenant Terrance (Terry) Lawless Duigan, DFC, a well-known RAAF Catalina captain. Terry served with 11 Squadron RAAF.  In fact Terry got a mention in our January newsletter. Some of Terry’s wartime exploits are captured by A.E (Bill) Minty’s excellent book Black Cats, in the chapter headed Old Faithful A24-14 (commencing on page 56). A24-14 was the aircraft skippered by Terry, the chapter penned by one of Terry’s WAGs, Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Watson. 


July 21st 2008

Volume 2 Issue 6

Newsletter Spotlight

  • Membership Renewals
  • New Engines Purchased
  • In the Steps of the Black Cat – progress report
  • Flying Boats Exhibition
  • Duigan First Flight Centenary Celebration 2010

pete and trish

Pete and Trish Stuart-Smith with their homebuilt SeaRey amphibian


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