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PIX MAGAZINE VISITS ADASTRA
ON WEDNESDAY 2ND MARCH 1960

 

 

 

The State Library of New South Wales holds a remarkable collection of photographs taken by Victor Johnston for PIX Magazine in 1960. We know the exact date in 1960 that these photos were taken because one of them shows the calendar! It is assumed that all the photos were taken on the same day. There are 36 images in all but with some duplication of subject. It is not known if any of these images actually appeared in PIX Magazine but what is known is that several of the images were used in an Adastra promotional brochure titled How Adastra can serve you.

 


[Click on the image to read the brochure]

 

The main image on the front cover is clearly intended to portray an Adastra navigator on oxygen in his office at 25,000 feet. This very image appears in the PIX collection and it is immediately apparent that the photo was taken in a more terrestrial office!


Most likely this photograph was taken at Vickers Avenue Mascot. Note the office door in the background plus the fact that the oxygen mask is not connected! The identity of the Navigator is unknown and it's even possible that he was not aircrew but an actor recruited from the office staff. (17)

 

The pilot of Hudson VH-AGS, possibly Ken Rowlands, seemingly on oxygen during a survey at 25,000 feet. Closer examination of the instruments reveals that the aeroplane is actually on the ground with both engines shut down! (10)

 

To the right of the pilot is the crawlway to the nose compartment showing the Camera Operator and Navigator seemingly hard at work. This view well illustrates Adastra's preference for grouping the crew in close proximity to improve communication and co-ordination. Indeed there were recorded incidents where crew in the nose compartment assisted the pilot with the rudder pedals! (05)

 

The Camera Operator and Navigator seemingly hard at work in the nose compartment of a Hudson. The configuration of the nose perspex confirms that the aircraft can only be VH-AGS, the only Adastra Hudson to retain the standard nose glazing. (01)

 

The Camera Operator and Navigator in the nose compartment of Hudson VH-AGS. (02)

 

The Camera Operator in the nose compartment of Hudson VH-AGS. The camera is a Wild RC9 Super Wide Angle Camera, most likely with a Super-Aviogon or Super-Infragon f5.6 lens. Wild historian Jürg Dedual estimates from the serial number 380 that the camera would have been delivered around 1958. (08)

 

The magnetometer stinger in the tail of Canso (Catalina) VH-AGB with Adastra's Hangar 13 in the background. (24)

 

The magnetometer instrument rack in Canso VH-AGB as used for the 1959-1960 aeromagnetic survey in Queensland which was awarded to Aero Service Corp by Union Oil Corp where Adastra were subcontracted to do the flying. The pen recorder is the Photographic Survey Corporation recorder used for the EM loop system or possibly removed from the Prince VH-AGF. The recorder ink trace in the photograph is definitely aeromagnetic data. The console to the right (not clearly shown) is a Gulf Mark III magnetometer (possibly now in the collection of the National Museum of Australia). The operator is believed to be Kevin Pavlich. Caption contributed by Doug Morrison. (21)

 

The magnetometer instrument rack in Canso VH-AGB as used for the 1959-1960 aeromagnetic survey in Queensland which was awarded to Aero Service Corp by Union Oil Corp where Adastra were subcontracted to do the flying. The pen recorder is the Photographic Survey Corporation recorder used for the EM loop system or possibly removed from the Prince VH-AGF. The recorder ink trace in the photograph is definitely aeromagnetic data. The console to the right (not clearly shown) is a Gulf Mark III magnetometer (possibly now in the collection of the National Museum of Australia). The operator is believed to be Kevin Pavlich. Caption contributed by Doug Morrison. (22)

 

The Photographic Room showing the process camera on rails with vacuum frame and copy lights. Stacks of 9 x 9 inch contact prints are under heavy weights to stop the prints curling. (13)

 

The Photographic Room with aerial film being given a final wash before going into the film dryer. (15)

 

The Photographic Room showing final film washing and photo trimming. (16)

 

Jack Townsend at work in the Adastra Reprographic Section at Vickers Avenue, Mascot. (26)

 

The Photogrammetry Section at Vickers Avenue, Mascot. (27)

 

Warren Ide at the A7 stereo-plotter (background) and Brian Jelfs at the co-ordinatograph table (foreground) at the Adastra head office at Vickers Avenue, Mascot. (29)

 

Inside the Adastra head office at Vickers Avenue, Mascot. (left to right) Ken Seaman, Kevin Murray and John McCarthy. (32)

 

Frank Schneider working on a layout of aerial photographs at the Adastra head office at Vickers Avenue, Mascot. The silhouetted figure in the doorway is believed to be Lou Pares. (34)

 

A crew member, believed to be pilot Ken Rowlands, wearing an Adastra flight suit in the Adastra head office at Vickers Avenue, Mascot. The noticeboard in the background mentions engineer Jim Hilferty and suggests that Anson VH-BLF and Hudson VH-SMM are at home base Mascot at the time. (36)

 

 

Issue
Date
Remarks
2
04JAN22
The captions to images 29 and 32 have been updated thanks to Warren Ide (who appears in image 29).
1
14DEC21
Original issue. Thanks to Doug Morrison, Jürg Dedual and Frank Wondrach for the captions.