This nose compartment door was removed from Hudson VH-AGP when it was restored to military configuration in the late seventies. Although similar in appearance to the type of door fitted as standard to the Lockheed 14 Super Electra and the Lodestar, this door was evidently scratch-built by Curtis Madsen Aircrafts Pty Ltd at Bankstown when they converted the aeroplane to an airliner as VH-BKY in 1949. The following year, the Hudson was sold to East-West Airlines and re-registered VH-EWB. During much of its service with East-West, the aircraft carried the name "Cathedral City" in honour of the city of Armidale, NSW. In 1958, the Hudson was converted for aerial survey and re-registered VH-EWS. At this time, the aircraft was also renamed "George Vincent" in honour of the Surveyor General of NSW. This name was applied to the forward fuselage aft of the nose door. During these aerial survey modifications, a small square window was added to the door and a folding navigator's table was fixed to the inside of the door. The aircraft retained this door for the remainder of its aerial survey career as VH-SMO and VH-AGP. When Malcolm Long bought VH-AGP from Adastra, he converted the aircraft back to military configuration. So significant were the aerial survey modifications to the nose compartment that a complete new nose section was grafted on forward of the windshield. Although the old survey nose was scrapped, the door was saved and eventually found its way into the possession of Ron Cuskelly. At this time the door was still painted dark green from when VH-AGP was cosmetically returned to military appearance. When this paint was stripped, it was discovered that the door still showed traces of the East-West emblem and the name "Cathedral City" etched into the metal. This presented something of a conservation dilemma! Almost certainly at no time during its East-West service did the window and the name "Cathedral City" co-exist on the door. Consequently, an authentic restoration of the door would entail either the removal of the window or the obliteration of all traces of the name "Cathedral City". Removal of the window would require the complete re-skinning of the door, hardly good conservation practice! As the writer is a firm believer in the fine tradition of naming airliners, obliteration of the name was not an option either. Accordingly, it was decided that like many things in aviation, the solution lay in a compromise. Therefore, the restored door now commemorates both phases of the aeroplane's East-West service, as an airliner and as a survey aircraft. The Hudson from which the door was removed is now displayed as A16-105 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Photo: Ron Cuskelly