The Catalina Flying Memorial was originally founded by members of the Seaplane Pilots Association of Australia with the original intention of buying, restoring and operating a PBY Catalina aircraft for the benefit of the Catalina Association of NSW and the Catalina Aircrew Group and of course it is supported by the Sunderland Association and the RAAF Maritime Squadrons. 

old catalinaAs the first PBY Catalina, now VH-PBZ, had been taken over by the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society and operated from Albion Park (Wollongong) the Catalina Flying Memorial Ltd turned its attention to getting another Cat  for the heritage listed Rathmines Base in Lake Macquarie, in conjunction with the Lake Macquarie Historical Society and the Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Trust.

At this time  members of the Catalina Flying Memorial Ltd include Neville Kennard, Gaby Kennard, Philip Dulhunty, Richard Sims, Julian Dinsdale, Peter Stuart-Smith, Jim, Max and Geoff Hazelton, Sir Richard Kingsland, Don Lowe, John Daley, all of whom have contributed and committed themselves to acquiring, restoring and operating this Catalina as it was used in the 1939-1945 war.



The significance of this purchase cannot be underestimated, there were 168 Catalina’s used extensively in WW11 by the RAAF and it was to Australia what the SPITFIRE was to England. The Catalina’s wartime exploits were the stuff legends are made from, including finding the German ship Bismarck in the mid-Atlantic, and of course, the Coral Sea Battle.  It played a vital role when the enemy was at our doorstep and virtually ‘Saved Australia’. Sadly 320 Australian Catalina aircrew did not return from long range bombing missions, fighter strikes, mine laying, and air-sea rescue and reconnaissance missions.

catThe CATALINA is a symbol in Australia’s history. Our population today is more than twice our wartime numbers. Many are the grandchildren of our war heroes but they are to a large extent, migrants, refugees and their children from other countries.  They have little knowledge of Australia’s history and there is little effort to inform them.  It is our intention to maintain and operate this beautiful ‘Cat’ in its original configuration, to then house it at Rathmines at Lake Macquarie NSW. We not only want to honor all our war heroes, but also to educate and inform the general public, our present and future generations.

Catalina Flying Memorial is an initiative to acquire, bring to Australia and restore an example of this historic aircraft, designed in the 1930’s of which few examples still exist in the world. The particular aircraft we have acquired was found in Portugal, where it was last used as an aerial fire-fighting water bomber and is a 1945 model PBY6.

The Rathmines connection for the flying Catalina has special significance for the Lake Macquarie and Newcastle region, as this was the world’s largest flying boat base.


Here is another story about Australian PBY Catalina Operations in the S.W. Pacific.  The actual diary of 426636 WO Bob Maitland. It is typical of how the Catalina saved Australia and should be added to the sixty other stories told in “Black Cats”, “Cats at War” and “The Fabulous Catalina” . Bob Maitlands Diary


Director - Mick Boyce


+61 (0)427 920 565



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