HOME OF THE LADY DENMAN - Local history isn't always about the big story - the everyday story of life in the early development of the region can be a fascinating, entertaining and educational journey.

6 July 2017

On this day – 6th July 1935

Nowra Aerodrome Opens.
As far back as 1929 a resolution was put to the Shoalhaven Chamber of Commerce by Mr.H. Ranch  in regard to establishing and aerodrome at or near Nowra. He spoke about the great developments expected in aeronautics in the near future and wanted the town and district to be prepared for such.


6 years after Mr. H. Ranch spoke to council, thousands of people gathered on the hills behind Nowra for the  official opening of the Nowra aerodrome on the 6th of July 1935.  The day marked the opening of the first licenced aerodrome on the south coast.  Building the aerodrome cost council 1700 pounds with ongoing expenditure for the future.  It was regarded as the best so far established in NSW.  

The aerodrome was established on land bought by the Nowra Council from Mr Muller for 700 pounds in 1934. There was already an air service running between Sydney and Bega with Nowra being the biggest town in between, It was hoped the inclusion of the Nowra aerodrome within that service would greatly benefit the town and district. Especially since the extension of the railway past Nowra looked likely never to happen in the near future. The council also pressed for the aerodrome to be used for defence purposes, especially being in close proximity to Jervis Bay and the Royal Australian Navy.

The Hon.E.S.Spooner. Minister for Local Government performed the official opening.  Planes were sent from the Aeroclub with the Federal Aero Board sending a trio of the highest class of planes in Australia to add to the function.

An interesting air programme was arranged, 30 planes were in attendance including six Air Force machines, including three Hawker Demons. and the programme included a fly past and a 20-mile handicap aerial derby. The young airman who recently broke the round- Australia record, Mr H.F. Broardbent was also an official guest. The day was beautifully fine with people from all over the district and beyond in attendance.

hawker demons

Hawker Demon.

The establishment of the aerodrome was looked on as a great benefit to aviation in NSW.  Long distances could now be covered with ease and comfort.  Local commerce could be carried on in a manner unimagined just a few years earlier, aviation was seen as no less than a revolution in transport.

The aerodrome was unofficially operational in 1934, before the official opening Captain Follett, of Adastra Airways Ltd., at the time running a regular sevice between Sydney and Bega conducted a test landing in November of that year.
He arrived at the aerodrome after flying from Sydney against a stiff westerly with an average air speed of 98 miles per hour, using 41/2 gallons of fuel. This was the first distant flight in his new British Klemm Eagle, low winged monoplane.

The purpose of the flight was to test the new aerodrome, Captain Follett expressed delight at the improvements made. On his arrival, he taxied over the drome and the plane hardly rocked. He arrived at 10.42am and left at 12.20 noon.



Tuesday the 17th of August 1937 -  Two men escaped serious injury when their Moth plane apparently stalled at 600 ft above the aerodrome requiring a crash landing.  If it wasn't for the coolness and skilful piloting the consequences would have been much more serious.
The pilot was Leslie Byrnes of Ashfield who escaped with a lacerated wound on his forehead and passenger Mr Ray Gardner of Kirribilli, abrasions and shock.

The port wing struck first and as the machine slewed around the propellor snagged the earth.
the plane then sumersaulted twice in a distance of about 80 feet, the engine was torn off at the first impact with the ground and trown 60ft away from the fusilage, while the two men were pinned in the cockpit.  The plane was severely damaged and all who saw it marvelled at the men's escape.


No comments :

Post a Comment