Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum

Lake Boga flying boatDuring my visit to Swan Hill, for the AAAA Spring Fly-in and AGM, I took the opportunity to visit the nearby Flying Boat Museum at Lake Boga, about 10 kilometres south of the town.

During World War II, Lake Boga was a major centre for military flying boat maintenance – it was outside the range of enemy aircraft and, long before the days of satellite surveillance, was well away from prying eyes. The facility serviced over 400 aircraft during its short 4-year life and about 1,000 RAAF and WAAF personnel were based there.

Catalina MuseumUntil recently, the main attraction – a complete but alas un-flyable Catalina flying boat – was parked outside, with other exhibits displayed in the underground communications bunker. However, in 2012, after many hours of work by the Lions Club of Swan Hill, the Catalina was restored and moved into a newly constructed hangar, which now also hosts a large collection of memorabilia and photos.

The communications bunker has also been restored to look as it did in the 40’s, using plans and photos from the time.

All the service hangars and personnel quarters have now disappeared, although the three main slipways, where the aircraft were towed out of and into the water still remain. The 3 miles long by 2 miles wide lake is tranquil and, on the day we visited, sunny and warm with families picnicking on the grass banks.

Well worth a visit if you’re in the area. The entry charge includes a 20-minute video about the base, from its origins in 1942 right up to the present day, as well as access to the communications bunker. At $10 a head or $20 for a family of 4 you can’t go wrong

Spring fly-in: Antique Aeroplane Association

AAAA Swan HillMy next planned trip is to the Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia (AAAA) spring fly-in at Swan Hill in Victoria. This is being held – as usual, weather willing – over the 3rd, 4th & 5th of October.

Here’s what the AAAA says on their website:

“This weekend is a long weekend in most states (except ironically in Victoria!) so should provide everyone a good opportunity to make it to this riverside town. It’s been quite a few years since the Antiquers visited Swan Hill and the local Council, Aero Club and community are keen to see us back in strength.

While in Swan Hill, why not visit the many tourist attractions including the Pioneer Settlement Village and Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum, home of the Catalina flying boat.  There will be a bus service to ensure people are able to get to and from Lake Boga. For full details about Swan Hill, visit their comprehensive tourism site at http://www.swanhillonline.com/
I’m aiming to take the Interstate Cadet on its first cross-country outing since completing flight trials at Tyabb.
Come along and say hello if you can!