Latest News:

  • 9 Aug 2020 9:43 PM | Ann Morris (Administrator)

    Hello to you all and thank you for renewing your membership.

    In a limited way restoration recommenced on May 18th and the work has gathered pace with several new volunteers. Terry Fahey’s May Restoration report is now on the web and is already dated, as now the starboard wheel well has been painted and the undercarriage assembly is being installed - it looks very smart!

    July is significant with the planned reopening of the Rathmines Theatre (Community Hall) and the final (3rd) community consultation by survey for the Rathmines Park Plan of Management by Lake Macquaire City Council (LMCC). The Plan of Management is front of mind for us as we await LMCCs response to a Catalina hangar.

    Do you agree the draft Plan of Management/ and Master Plan reflects community sentiment?

    In our view, sadly, it does not. There was overwhelming community support for the Catalina hangar (81% of respondents), with the hangar (14%) highest on the list of community priorities. That information is not included in the main documents, it was found through sleuthing through supporting documents. Please let LMCC know that the hangar is important!

    If you have any questions, please give me a call (see below).

    An RCA team has worked diligently to produce the Catalina Heritage Interpretation Centre Feasibility Assessment and Business Plan (June 2020). A draft is currently under external review and has been submitted to LMCC for review and comment. The Plan, backed by a rigorous financial assessment, provides a vision for a Centre that promotes heritage significance, encourages community engagement and provides a stand-out tourist destination for the Lake.

    As time runs out at the Catalina’s present home a decision has been made to commence a DA. LMCC, is the land owner and we have applied for consent for the DA . We are very grateful for the expertise and assistance of Jason Waziak (J.W. Planning) as we work through the process.

    The next few months will define the future of RCA – we thank you for your support and will keep you updated as we progress.

    On other matters:

    • The Base Tours are still on hold.
    • Several restoration volunteers spent a day at the Rathmines Memorial, enhancing the garden and the watering system. Penny and Rob led the day.
    • The AGM will be held later in the year, our end of year accounts has been signed off, but I would hope the AGM can incorporate a clear pathway for the road ahead.
    • Our Anzac Service was subdued but encouraging to see the number of passers-by and private wreathes.
    • A recent grant will allow us to complete some additional registered training courses. Five of our restoration team will complete a First Aid Course, two members will complete a Forklift Course and remaining funds used to purchase of extra PPE (personal protection equipment).

    If you have followed the Dabster story, you will recall that this Catalina was thought to have crashed at sea in the Philippines, but associated items were found on a mountain top near Manila. A further search planned for earlier this year and cancelled due to the COVID Virus has been rescheduled for early 2021. We will let you know how it progresses.

    Our new DGR status has been recognised with donations received from several sources and I thank them for their generosity and support.

    Over the last few months, nine new members have become part of the RCA and several of them are very active at the aircraft - well done.

    A plug for our website shop … we have several new books in our inventory, all Catalina related, please take time to log in and investigate. A great gift for someone!

    Committee member, Philip Priest, became a first-time grandfather last week. Congratulations Phil on the arrival of Maxwell Whitlam Priest and so the RCA succession planning is underway.

    Take care and best wishes.

    Bill Anderson 


  • 26 Jun 2020 4:56 PM | Ann Morris (Administrator)

    Enhanced opportunities for sport and recreation – including a new skate park and outdoor gym equipment – will be central to a draft Rathmines Park Master Plan now on public exhibition.

    The draft Master Plan and separate Plan of Management set out the future of the historically significant site, which was a key seaplane base during World War II.

    Lake Macquarie City Council Manager Assets Management Brendan Callander said the aim was to increase the park’s attraction and broaden its use, without compromising its heritage value.

    “The two draft plans will enhance the community’s opportunities for sport and recreation,” he said.

    “But the measures they recommend also celebrate and commemorate this unique site’s important history.”

    Catalina long-range patrol bombers, along with other aircraft, flew from Rathmines during World War II, conducting coastal patrols in search of enemy raiders.

    The base closed in 1956, but many of its key features remain, including part of the north-east hangar, the former Sergeants Mess, the former Officers Mess and the base hospital.

    Lake Macquarie Mayor Cr Kay Fraser said Council had undertaken extensive community consultation to produce the draft documents.

    “We will continue to listen to the community throughout this exhibition period,” Cr Fraser said.

    “The result is set to be a suitably impressive public space that respects the past and embraces the future. This is one of Lake Mac’s landmark sites and we want to treat it accordingly.”

    A new Rathmines Park youth hub already funded by Council will include a skate park and pump/BMX track, an upgraded children’s playground, outdoor gym equipment and interpretive signs recognising the site’s history.

    Footpaths will be upgraded and extended throughout the park, connecting to upgraded amenities.

    The Rathmines Park Plan of Management proposes changing some existing land categories within the park. 

    Mr Callander said that included re-categorising some areas from ‘Park” to ‘Natural Area Foreshore’ to reflect environmental objectives.

    “Given the site is now listed in the NSW State Heritage Register and its heritage significance is managed in accordance with the Rathmines Park Conservation Management Plan, it is also proposed to remove the ‘Cultural Significance’ category,” Mr Callander said.

    An independently-chaired public hearing to seek community feedback on the re-categorisation of areas within the park will be held online on 23 July. 

    The draft plans are on public exhibition until Friday 7 August 2020 at

  • 17 May 2020 8:09 PM | Ann Morris (Administrator)

    Hi, did you know its National Volunteers Week?  So many organisations rely on the work of volunteers.  Rathmines Catalina Association is no different.  Our Committee are all volunteers, as are those who conduct the base tours, plan and run the Catalina Festival, and of course spend endless hours restoring Our Girl.  Thanks everyone!

    Meet our volunteers here.

  • 5 May 2020 12:55 PM | Ann Morris (Administrator)

    It was wonderful to see so many individuals and families commemorating ANZAC Day from their homes.  Even with social distancing and the cancellation of services we are able to come together to remember such significant times and those who fell in our name and continue to serve.  

    The memorial at Rathmines was not forgotten with some wreaths laid and individuals visiting to pay their respects.  

    This poignant photo of quiet reflection needs no comment. 

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

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