Air Force Association Victoria

Supporting Those Who Served And Who Are Serving

Catalina Branch Newsletter - Autumn 2017

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Allan Arvidson and Jennifer Newton represented the RAAFA Catalina Branch at the Remembrance Day Service in the grounds of the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital (Austin Health) on Friday 11 November 2016. More than 600 were in attendance, including children from Ivanhoe Primary School and the Austin Hospital crèche.

Also, there were nursing students and chaplains from hospitals around Victoria. Approximately 50 wreaths were laid and a plaque was unveiled for the 2/2nd Field Regiment along with the 2/23rd Battalion Shield. A Fromelles Mosaic was also presented. Three planes made three passes at 11:15 am following their flyover at the Shrine of Remembrance. As always, it was a great day and the sense of community was most evident. A light luncheon was a chance to meet up with many folks from multiple theatres of war, including the current generation.

Allan again laid our wreath with dignity and pride.

RAAFA Catalina Branch held our annual Christmas luncheon at ANZAC House, Collins Street Melbourne on Thursday 24 November 2016. President Mr Ken Scott welcomed 19 members, family and friends, to an afternoon of comradery and conversation. Member Michael Smith was our guest speaker. He has worked in the cinema exhibition space for 25 years and is the owner of the popular Sun Theatre in Yarraville. Michael is also the founder of the Non-Government Organisation Lorosa'e Cinema in East Timor. His Grandfather, Flight Sergeant Russell Wordley Smith, was a Wireless Operator Air Gunner (WOA) on Catalinas in 42 Squadron at Melville Bay in Northern Territory during WW2 and inspired his interest in Flying Boats. Michael was named Adventurer of the year in 2016 by Australian Geographic after he was the first person to circumnavigate the world in a flying boat. His presentation style was infectious and captivated his audience with a story of adventure, anxiety and trust, being alone in foreign lands.

Michael’s aircraft, Christened the Southern Star, was a Searey LSX-N473XP built in Florida in 2012, with an extended fuel range specifically for this flight. The journey took 7 months, through 25 countries and 80 cities. Flying at an average speed of 80 knots, Michael travelled 57,500 kilometres taking 82 flying days over 480 flying hours. 

Diary Dates for 2017

Monday 25 April - ANZAC Day March. “Step Off” place and time TBA

Thursday 25 May - Catalina Branch AGM at RAAFA Camberwell from 10:30 am, followed by - Committee Meeting and Branch Get Together.

Sunday 20 August - Shrine of Remembrance Wreath Laying and Pilgrimage Service at 2:00 pm.

October - Branch Get Together at RAAFA Camberwell from 10:30 am - TBA

Friday 11 November - Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital (Austin Health) Wreath Laying, time 11:00 am.

November - Catalina Branch Christmas Lunch - TBA.

Please flag in your diaries the 75th Anniversary of No 1 Flying Boat Repair Depot from 17 to 19 March 2017.

Ron Kirk

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