Airshow marks 75 years

The Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes dazzled the crowd with their amazing aerobatics displays at the Lake Boga Flying Depot 75th Anniversary on Saturday. Picture: JADE BATE

The Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes dazzled the crowd with their amazing aerobatics displays at the Lake Boga Flying Depot 75th Anniversary on Saturday. Picture: JADE BATE

The Lake Boga community enjoyed a weekend filled with celebrations for the 75th Anniversary of the Lake Boga Flying Boat Depot, with aerobatic displays and a community market attracting more than 8000 people. 

Although the "Black Cat" Catalina was unable to fly to the event due to heavy rain in western NSW, spectators were still treated to an array of incredible aerobatic displays by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Roulettes and the Sky Aces aerobatic team.

Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum manager Daryl Allen said the news that the Catalina wouldn't be able to make it to Lake Boga only reached event organisers hours before it was due to arrive.

"We got a text Friday night telling us that things weren't looking good, which had been the case for a few days due to the weather," Mr Allen said.

"It's a four-hour flight from where the plane is stationed south of Sydney and a decision was made on Saturday morning that it was just too unsafe to fly it over.

"The plane is about 75 years old, and so is the pilot, so it was just too unsafe.

"It was very disappointing since it was to be one of the major drawcards for the day, but we just had to accept it."

Mr Allen said the event was still enjoyed by spectators. 

"We'll wait and see after we crunch all the numbers but it seemed to be a very successful day overall," he said.

"But this event was never about making money, it was always about celebrating the Catalinas and the Flying Depot.

"Everyone seemed to really enjoy it and that was what it was all about."

Royal Australian Air Force chief Air Marshall Leo Davies was presented with a copy of Brett Freeman's book about the inside story of the secret RAAF inland flying boat unit in World War Two. Picture: PAMELA BLACKMAN

Royal Australian Air Force chief Air Marshall Leo Davies was presented with a copy of Brett Freeman's book about the inside story of the secret RAAF inland flying boat unit in World War Two. Picture: PAMELA BLACKMAN

There was also live music by the Pacific Belles, a vintage car show and children's activities to keep the crowd entertained. 

Local community groups such as Country Fire Authority (CFA) District 18, Swan Hill Sunrise Rotary Club, Lake Boga Primary School and Lake Boga Football Netball Club each had stalls at the event to raise money for their respective groups.

Mr Allen said most of the money made through ticket sales would go towards covering costs, while anything left over would go to the Lake Boga Lions Club to build a new workshop at the museum.

"Anything left after that will go straight back into the Lake Boga community," he said. 

The event saw thousands come from all over the Victoria, NSW and SA, but it was 10 war veterans who were based at Lake Boga who were the true guests of honour.

One of the veterans in attendance was Dick Udy who flew in the Catalinas during the World War Two.

As a wireless operator for the 43rd Squadron based in Darwin, Mr Udy spoke to the crowd about his first visit to Lake Boga in 1944.

"We were always very thankful for the hard work that came from the people of this community," Mr Udy said.

To read more about this story, grab a copy of Monday's Guardian (March 20).

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop