Whilst this aeroplane was never owned by Adastra, there is an
The original print, which came via Paul Hockey, carries the following
notation on the reverse: "Captain Hammond's plane at the
lake". The Captain Hammond is doubtless H.T. (Bunny) Hammond,
who was one of the founders of Adastra in 1930. Paul believes
that the location is Lake Illawarra South as that area has always
been known by the locals as "The Lake". Unfortunately,
the photo does not yield enough detail to read the inscription
on the fuselage aft of the foot step but it is conceivable that
it says "Hammond Aerial Transport".
It is known that two DH.60X Moths were registered to Hammond Aerial
Transport, G-AUGL and G-AUFT (later VH-UFT).
DH.60X G-AUGL (msn 6) was destroyed by fire after a crash at Coonabarabran
on 22 August 1928, a mere four months after being sold new to
Bunny Hammond. This aeroplane never took up VH registration markings,
therefore it cannot be the aircraft in the photo as the letters
VH are clearly visible under the starboard wing. Unfortunately,
the registration under the port wing is indecipherable.
From this point, it is assumed that the aeroplane in the photo
This aeroplane was initially registered G-AUFT on 11 April 1927
to Sun Newspapers of Sydney. On 31 October 1929 it was registered
to Hammond Aerial Transport Ltd. of Sydney. After the introduction
of the VH registration markings (in 1928), G-AUFT became VH-UFT
and the aeroplane was wearing these markings by 31 August 1930.
Bunny Hammond sold VH-UFT to N.F. Porter of Sydney on 4 June 1930.
This predated the formation of Adastra Airways by approximately
three months. On 26 February 1931, VH-UFT was registered to de
Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd of Mascot. From this point the aeroplane
was destined for fame. In June 1931 it was sold to J.A. Mollison,
husband of Amy Johnson and an accomplished aviator in his own
right. Jim Mollison used the aeroplane for his record-breaking
(8 days 19 hours) flight from Australia to England in July-August
1931. Subsequently, the aeroplane was re-registered G-ABUB and
in November 1939 it was impressed into service by the Royal Air
Force with the serial X5029. It is reported that the aeroplane
was used as an airfield decoy, so presumably it was destroyed
during the performance of this role.
to Paul Hockey for providing the photograph and to Graham Orphan
for identifying the aeroplane. Additional information is drawn
from "The Historic Civil Aircraft Register of Australia"
compiled by Bert Cookson and published by AustAirData.