Aviation Heritage at Rathmines

QANTAS turns 100 and the Catalina flying boat was there!

The Catalina aircraft played its part in the history of QANTAS.

The Double Sunrise service was formed in 1943 to re-establish the Australia–England air link that had been cut due to the fall of Singapore in 1942. The service initially operated from its base in Nedlands, Western Australia near Perth, to the Royal Air Force base at Lake Koggala near Galle in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). It was later extended to Karachi in India (now part of Pakistan), which was the terminus for the BOAC service from England. The name of the service was derived from the crew and passengers observing two sunrises on each flight.

From June 1943, Qantas operated the only regular air service to Australia across the Indian Ocean between Ceylon and Perth. Catalina flying boats crossed 5,600 kilometres non-stop with flying times of between 28 and 33 hours. Passengers were awarded a certificate of membership to ‘The Rare and Secret Order of the Double Sunrise’. Liberator aircraft took over in 1945 and passengers received ‘The Elevated Order of the Longest Hop.’ Qantas Liberators were the first to carry the flying kangaroo symbol.

We are involved in a wide range of community-based activities:

Preserving the history of RAAF Rathmines and the Catalina flying boat

  • Catalina flying boat restoration - Restoring a PBY-5A Catalina flying boat ('Our Girl')More.
  • Community centre and museum - Partnering with Lake Macquarie City Council and other organisations to develop an interpretive community centre at Rathmines to preserve the history of the RAAF base and its servicemen and women.
  • Catalina Festival - Organising the biennial Rathmines Catalina Festival. 
  • Heritage tours - Conducting tours of the former Air Force Base, NSW heritage-listed. More
Remembering our servicemen
  • Anzac Day Service - Facilitating the Rathmines Anzac Day Service.
  • Memorial walls - Administering the Memorial Walls at Rathmines Memorial Park. More
  • Working alongside other organisations - Working with government bodies and other organisations to honour the service of RAAF personnel engaged in flying boat operations during WWII

The Catalina Festival
Members and Supporters

Will you join us as a member?

A warm welcome awaits you!

We are actively looking for enthusiastic people who are interested in preserving the history of the Rathmines RAAF base and honouring the servicemen and women who gave so much.

If you are interested to find out more about being a member, what we do and where your skills and experience could fit in, please contact the President Bill Anderson for a chat.

Click here to join 

Can you help support this important Catalina restoration project?

Donations are what makes it possible.

Rathmines Catalina Association is registered as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Organisation.  Donations of $2.00 or more in cash or products may be tax deductible.  

A DGR receipt will be provided for your taxation records.  For more information contact info@rathmines-catalina.com

Our volunteers raise funds in as many ways as we can - running tours of the RAAF base, the biennial Catalina Festival, and so on - and we have wonderful support from a number of local businesses and other organisations. 

We give our time freely, but restoring an old aircraft requires all sorts of parts, services and equipment!

Please consider becoming a supporter and donating to this important local project of national historical significance. Our President Bill Anderson will be happy to discuss this with you.

Donations page 

Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association Incorporated is a non-profit organisation, trading as RATHMINES CATALINA Association
ADDRESS: PO Box 59, Toronto NSW 2283, AUSTRALIA
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software