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Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park visit

On Sunday 18th April 2021 we paid a visit to the site where volunteer members of the Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association Inc (RCMPA) are undertaking the restoration of a WWII era PBY Catalina flying boat.

The aim of the group is to restore their Catalina for static display, which is quite a monumental task. The restoration work is being done at Kilaben Bay, which is not too far from Rathmines, where the RAAF Base was established in September 1939. Being on the shores of Lake Macquarie the site was ideal for the deployment of the Catalinas.

The plane being restored was located in Puerto Rico in 2013 after members had spent seven years conducting a world wide search for a suitable plane. After a year of very hard work by volunteers the plane was prepared and transported back to Australia by April 2014, after which restoration work began.

We arrived at the restoration site about 10.00am and after a short introduction by the RCMPA President we enjoyed a lovely morning tea before undertaking a tour of the site. Many questions were asked about the project and many of our members were heard commenting on what a massive task it was. Obviously those that have restored old cars would appreciate the amount of work to be done.

From the restoration site we headed to Rathmines where we had lunch at the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club - 'Club Catalina' which is the former Officer's Mess. We then took a short walk to the site of the Memorial Park which is located on the headland not far from the Club.

It was then time to make our respective way home. A great day, thanks to Jeff and Kay for organising.

We had 11veterans attend along with about 34 people.


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