Catalina Branch - Winter 2017
The weekend of March 17 - 19 saw the 75th Anniversary Celebration of the Lake Boga No 1 Flying Boat Repair Depot (1941 – 1947). Member Jennifer Newton attended and presented this report.
Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum with a static display of Catalina A24-30 inside. The event was conducted most admirably by the Lions Club of Lake Boga who have proudly taken this entire project as their responsibility. They are to be congratulated for their continued resolve towards creating what is now a complete visitor experience in their area, and to be highly recommended. It was a fully involved community event, with multiple food stalls provided by amongst others the local school, Rotary and CFA. Many other organisations were proudly representing their projects.
It was most unfortunate that the weather in the NSW area precluded the departure of our only flying Catalina to arrive at the event. The flying program for the day included a visit by the PC-3 Orion from Edinburgh SA, the Roulettes who did an amazing aerobatics display, a T-28 Trojan Grumman Avenger, Wolf Pitts and a local aerobatic display from a group of 3 Pitts specials, which was spectacular.
Local boating groups also provided displays on the water of speed, speed skiing and air chairs. The official programme included an address by Air Vice Marshall Davies and presentations by WW2 ExServicemen.
Entertainment was provided by the Pacific Belles (singing and dressed as WW2 wartime entertainers), and others
(whom I did not see).
The evening programme at the Dinner was a theatre restaurant featuring “FLAK’ by Michael Veitch. He portrayed a small collection of stories from interviews of WW2 veterans which he had conducted; including their accents in his presentation. There was hardly a dry eye in the audience! Amazingly, one story he told included one veteran who was present in the audience.
The highlight for me was meeting our Veteran Member Keith Farrell LAC, who had been taken there from Tasmania by his family. He informed me that not only was he one of our two members from Tasmania; but he was the only Indigenous Member of all the Catalina service.
In 2015 Mr Farrell was recognised for his Cultural Heritage together with his Service to Australia with a presentation by the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison in Canberra.
The medallion shows the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags flying under the Rising Sun of the Defence Force.
ANZAC Day, although wet for the most part, cleared for our Catalina Branch Veterans, members, family and friends to march from Flinders Street to the Shrine. This year RAAFA managed the allocation, carrying and return of the banners. Step off was led by our Patron, Group Captain Annette Holian and our President Mr Ken Scott. Two Air Cadets presented the Catalina banner followed by our party of students from Wesley College St Kilda Road Campus accompanied by Mr Rohan Chiu. It is pleasing to report that this year all our Veterans were allocated vehicles and that the convoy travelled with us to the Shrine. Veteran Mr Allan Arvidson, together with Wesley students Charlotte Howard and Christopher Rigopoulos laid a Wreath on the plaques at the Catalina Tree.