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  • 17 Feb 2020 9:42 PM | Ann Morris (Administrator)

    By Bill Anderson 

    Hello everyone, this summer edition comes at a time of wildfire and stormy weather.  I trust all of you have been safe and well during this hot and dry summer. Our thanks go to those volunteers from all services who have worked to keep our community safe.

    To briefly recap on some of the 2019 highlights and events.

    The AGM was held in October and the new committee members are listed on the website.  Malcolm Burns and Ann Morris elected not to re-nominate. I thank them for their time and input during 2018-19.  Welcome to Phil Priest and James Marshall, they bring to us individual skill sets that will be invaluable.

    Phil has considerable experience in accounting and is the key to a succession plan with our Treasurer Mark Peters.  James is employed with Centennial Coal and has been working with us for many months, his experience and contact list is huge.

    Very well done Treasurer Mark who has now completed all his Uni exams and passed with exceptional results and will move to full time employment early in 2020…watch this space!

    The new tooling is working well and saving us time with the volunteers able to process a lot of work on site.  A recent donation of a forklift (that is now up and running after some TLC) is a welcome addition and saving a lot of grunting and improvisation.  Donated by Gato Sales and Repairs of Maitland….thank you gentlemen.

    Base Tours are gaining momentum.  In calendar year 2019 we conducted 12 tours for 350 people.  My thanks to guide Barry Carr who has continually rearranged his personal diary to be available.  New member Ray Dodkins has put his hand up to share some of this work…thanks Ray.  For 2020 we now have 7 tours logged in the diary.  The work on the day is not huge but volunteers to assist in setting up and passing out meals from the servery is always needed…should you wish to contribute?

    Social events have been a little quiet…other work load priorities.  We had a very pleasant night at the Bowling Club on December 10 to celebrate the Centenary of the Vickers Vimy landing in Darwin to win the London to Darwin Air race in 1919.  Thirty members and our special guest Mr Bob Cameron, the former Chairman of Centennial Coal enjoyed the evening.

    Penny Furner and members Dianne Sykes and John Goldsborough have spent many months arranging a ‘Catalina Week’ in Canberra which was held at the Australian War Memorial over the week of Dec. 9th to 14th.  It was a very successful week culminating in laying a wreath at the Friday ‘Last Post’ ceremony and a dinner at the Mercure Hotel, attended by 150 guests which included a number of our members.   

    Finally a few words on Park Management Plan progress and US!  The Council process towards the Park Plan is extremely process driven, may I say frustratingly so.  We had an on-site (at the park) meeting on Dec 5th…2 senior staff and 3 Councillors attended (no West Ward councillors) and I am advised to ‘wait until early in the new year’ to see what recommendation(s) came from this meeting.  It was also suggested that whilst our case is logical/rational, a show of community support would be helpful….we have created an email address and you could, please, take the time to send an email to me this would assist the cause. Just use some straight forward words   eg   I / We John and Sue Smith, post code_____ wholly support the RCA committee’s endeavours to have the concept of a hangar to house our Catalina, included in the Rathmines Park Management Plan.

    Oh ! I have saved the best news for last. We received advice late in November that the RCA is now eligible to claim DGR status (DGR= Donor Gift Recipient).  In easier terms, donations to the RCA are banked separately and are eligible as tax deduction for the donor.

    I am always available to chat and answer questions    0418 770 400 or

    Best wishes and safe keeping         Bill

  • 23 Sep 2019 9:14 AM | Bill Anderson (Administrator)

    Good afternoon. I note that the June newsletter was drafted on a ‘cold wet day’… so again, cold southerlies today! No doubt we all feel for the folk affected by the current bushfires.

    Some very interesting activities over recent months and more to follow:

    Workplace safety. With a recent grant we are now the owners of a Defibrillator and several of the restoration team have attended a training session.

    The purchase of a laptop and projector will enable us to offer better visual presentations on the Catalina and Association matters, also allowing us to be mobile.

    Membership. I thank all of you for completing your annual renewal.

    Several new member applications have been received and accepted 

        Three of these are fellows with trade skills, specifically sheet metal experience which will bolster the restoration team.

        Another new member has come forward to offer her skills with website design and maintenance.  Frances is in the process of reviewing what we have set up and will make a submission to the committee shortly…a revamp is in the wind!

    Engaging with the local community:

    The June newsletter was printed up in booklet form and distributed to some of the retail outlets at Rathmines by one of our members. We will continue to do this, as I believe we need to engage more with the immediate community. This will be an  easier task when we are on site at the Park … more about this soon.

    Best wishes,
    Bill Anderson

  • 24 Jun 2019 8:03 PM | Bill Anderson (Administrator)

    On a cold grey morning, hello! The March newsletter does seem to have been ‘just the other day’, but in real time an awful lot of work and effort has been contributed by your committee and member / volunteers, across a range of matters. My sincere thanks to you all.

    Anzac Day

    Our Rathmines service was outstanding, the weather was perfect and amongst the large gathering were numerous families of veterans, with some travelling from Queensland and Victoria.

    RAAF support was excellent with attendance by members of 11SQN, RAAF Edinburgh SA including Wing Commander Simon van der Wijngaart, Squadron Leader Justin Hill and Warrant Officers Luke Baade and Stewart Hassall

    In attendance also was Squadron Leader Darren Prior of 20SQN, RAAF Woomera.

    The words and service conducted by Chaplain - Wing Commander James Cox from RAAF Williamtown was appreciated, as was the presence of the Air Cadets from 316SQN, led by Wing Commander Paul Moro.

    Our thanks to Penny and Rob Furner for their part in making the day run smoothly.


    RCA Festival, Sunday, May 19th

    A wonderful day. The move from an October event to May worked well and the very large crowd were extremely positive in their feedback.

    Organisation of the Rathmines Catalina Festival requires enormous commitment and effort from a key group of members, our thanks go to them and in particular to our stalwart Terry Woolard. Similarly, the set up and pull down in the days before and after required many hours given willingly by members and volunteers.

    The unserviceability of ‘Felix’, the Black Cat was a disappointment, but the fly past by the two DC-3s from HARS was special indeed.

    In summary, positive and happy comments from the crowd confirmed our view that the entertainment, the variety of food stalls, car show and air display combined to make the day a huge success. A special feature, joy flights in the Grumman Mallard, proved a great success.

    Financially the Festival was a success with funds raised contributing to the restoration of the Catalina ‘Our Girl’. RCA is extremely grateful for the assistance provided by our sponsors including: Centennial Coal, Kennards Hire, Lake Macquarie City Council (LMCC), Origin Energy, Macquarie Manufacturing, Fly Pelican, Newcastle Machinery Sales, Pumps 2000 and Shannons.

    Rathmines Park and our relocation - an ongoing story

    To recap briefly: LMCC is the landholder of Rathmines Park, which in recognition of its wartime role, is listed on the NSW State Heritage Register. In 2019 a new Conservation Management Plan (CMP) was completed and forwarded to NSW Heritage Office for approval. That approval is imminent. Once approved the CMP will allow LMCC to start the process of developing an overall Management Plan for the park.

    We have been in frequent contact with Council staff on the matter and of late have expressed our frustration about the lack of progress. As a result, last week five senior Council staff met with RCA committee members. Following two hours of discussion we were confident that they understand our need to relocate and complete the restoration in time to participate in the proposed RAAF Centenary celebrations in 2021.

    I receive many comments along the lines of ‘why can’t they just is a no brainer’. I agree, but the Park is public land and the process has to be transparent and include input from all interested parties. We will work closely with council staff over the coming months to ensure a hangar is on the agenda for Rathmines Park.

    Linked to the RAAF 2021 Centenary celebrations is very strong support from the RAAF (Williamtown) and from our Patron, Retired Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin for the Rathmines Catalina project. On that note, in early July, we’ll be privileged to have our Patron, Mark Binskin meet with us at Rathmines.

    Other pertinent matters

    Due to significant commitments there will be no Festival in 2020. The next Festival is proposed for Sunday May 30th, 2021.

    Over the next couple of months, we have some of the committee away on personal matters and so the AGM will be a date to be set in October. I expect there will be a couple of vacancies and if you are interested in being involved or wish to talk about any of the newsletter content please call or email me.

    The RCA is in very good shape, both financially and in community engagement.

    Just a reminder it’s time to renew your Membership - notices have been sent out. On behalf of the committee I would like to express our gratitude for your membership and we look forward to your ongoing support.

    Regards, Bill

    Bill Anderson
    m: 0418770400

  • 22 Mar 2019 8:57 PM | Bill Anderson (Administrator)

    March 2019

    President’s report

    Hello to all. Summer has ended and we now appear to be heading towards some cooler weather.  The restoration team have put in a mighty effort during the summer months and endured some very hot days.  A few points to update you on our past and future activities.

           Our Rathmines Anzac Day Service will commence with a march to the Memorial at 1200 and the commemorative service will begin at 1230. I look forward to seeing you there on April 25th.

           The engine and tailplane were delivered to our storage site on Tuesday, March 12th.  Several of the restoration team gave their time to assist with the unloading and we have thanked the RAAF personnel and Centennial Coal staff for their support.

           Our Base Tours are gaining awareness and enquiry is continuing to grow. A group from Asquith Probus enjoyed a tour recently and they followed on with a visit to the aircraft.  In January, a group of 35 men and women from RAAF Williamtown booked in for a tour and also a visit to the aircraft.  This visit has been the trigger for ongoing discussions about our restoration, but has extended to the RAAF Centenary in 2021 and event / celebration planning. We are in discussion with Air Force staff and Council about the inclusion of Rathmines Park and the RCA in their ‘AF 2021’ event planning.

           Festival organisation is continuing and there are some exciting developments.  Since the December newsletter we have a new ‘Silver’ sponsor.  Macquarie Manufacturing made contact in January and are now a major sponsor for the 2019 Festival, based at Rathmines …we welcome their support.  In recent weeks agreement has been reached with the Paspaley Group (Paspaley Pearling Company) to have one of their Grumman Mallards fly from Darwin to Rathmines.  The flight to and from Darwin is a charter operation and all of the passenger seats are fully booked.  On Saturday May 18th and Sunday 19th, joy flights are still available to the public, with the seat cost is just $200.  A very unique opportunity to experience a brief sea plane flight, including a takeoff and landing on the lake.  More information will be posted on our website and social media.

           The State election on Saturday March 23rd will see us outside Woolworths at Toronto running a sausage sizzle.  Should this newsletter reach you in time, please come along and say hello.

           Finally, an ongoing call for volunteers at the restoration and also the Festival. The Restoration has a meaningful spot for all manner of skills and feet on the ground at the Festival would be appreciated. Please contact me by phone (0418 770 400) or email to

    Best wishes, Bill Anderson

  • 6 Feb 2019 2:00 PM | Bill Anderson (Administrator)

    To book a scenic flight on the beautiful Grumman Mallard over the Festival weekend, please email JENNA BOLTON at

    Bookings will open on Monday 11 February!

    The cost will be $200 per seat for an amazing amphibious flight experience commencing at, and returning to the historic Rathmines hard stand via the WWII flying boat ramp.

    The flights will take place on Saturday and Sunday 18 and 19 May.

    Best regards,

    Bill Anderson 0418 770 400

  • 15 Dec 2018 11:53 AM | Bill Anderson (Administrator)


    Presidents Report
    December 2018

    Most important item for this newsletter is to wish all our members and followers a very Merry Christmas and an exciting 2019.  Your support is appreciated by myself, the RCA committee and restoration team.

    The end of the year is upon us and it is timely to look back at the highlights and achievements of 2018 and to look forward to 2019.

          A welcome to the new members who have signed on this year, many are keen to keep abreast of the restoration and several have pitched in to become hands-on at the aircraft.

          Our work days of Saturday, Monday and Wednesday are well attended and you are most welcome to pay us a visit. Please contact me first.  The boys will finish up on Wednesday the 19th and return January 7th. The restoration lunch table has become something of a culinary challenge…see the photos!

          Great progress has been made on the centre wing section and the fuselage, plenty more to do! Terry Fahey will report on progress at the aircraft.

          The AGM in July was well attended with the committee being re-elected and I thank them for all the time they offer to facilitate our goals.

          The memorial garden has had a re plant, looks lovely and should be a picture by next April. Some of you may not be aware that some plants were dug up and removed…what can I say. 

          Festival planning is in full swing. Response to our sponsorship requests was encouraging and the major sponsors for Festival 2019 are: Centennial Coal, LMCC, Kennards Hire, Origin Energy, Newcastle Machinery Sales, Fly Pelican and Pumps 2000. There is always a need for volunteers leading up to and at the Festival…please make contact if you can spare some time. There will be a VIP marquee for our sponsors, if any member has an RSA qualification I would like to hear from you.

          The dialogue with LMCC staff and Councillors continues and there have been numerous positive meetings as they work through the development of the Rathmines Park Management Plan.  It does seem like slow going at times but I know that Council staff want to get it right and we will support them in achieving a vibrant outcome.

          2019 will be an important year.  Records indicate that RAAF Rathmines was established in 1939….80 years next year! I would hope that 2019 will see the Park plan released and the future of ‘Our Girl’ secured within that plan.   

    Best regards,

    Bill Anderson

  • 15 Sep 2018 11:41 AM | Bill Anderson (Administrator)

    The RATHMINES CATALINA FESTIVAL Exhibitors' Expression of Interest form is now available for download HERE.

    Please note that this form is due in mid November!

    If you have any questions contact Warwick Fairweather on 0412 774 496 or email

    The Car Show application form is available HERE

  • 5 Sep 2018 7:00 PM | Bill Anderson (Administrator)

    Our Annual General Meeting was held at Rathmines Bowling Club on 21 August, and was very well attended. Apart from the business conducted, it was a great opportunity to meet fellow members and socialise. I would like to thank outgoing Committee Member Graeme Hooper for his service. Two new Committee Members were elected: I welcome Terry Woolard and Warwick Fairweather to the committee. Thanks also to all who attended the AGM.

    The Association recently lodged a submission in response to LMCC’s Draft Rathmines Park Conservation Managent Plan. We hope that the RCA suggestions will be incorporated into the final CMP report.

    Preparations for the 2019 Rathmines Catalina Festival are well underway. Please remind your friends and family that the next Festival will be held on 19 May 2019.

    Best Regards,

    Bill Anderson

  • 8 Jun 2018 10:02 AM | Bill Anderson (Administrator)

    Due to operational and planning requirements, the next Rathmines Catalina Festival will be held on 19 May 2019.

    This change from hot October to cooler May should also make for a more comfortable and enjoyable Festival.

    Watch out for new attractions at Rathmines at the Festival next year!

  • 31 May 2018 5:00 PM | Bill Anderson (Administrator)

    Anzac Day
    If you were able to attend, I expect you would share the view that it was an excellent service.  Penny and Rob Furner and several RCA volunteers put in a huge amount of time to make it so successful. Members of 11 Squadron were present both on the ground and in the air. Towards the close of the ceremony, the arrival overhead (at 300 feet) of an 11 squadron P8 was spectacular.

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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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