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CHRONOLOGY 1950 - 1959

Other Decades


Lockheed 10 VH-UZO was demonstrated to Adastra at Essendon. Adastra were considering purchasing the aircraft from Ansett Airways but a sale did not eventuate. G. Goodall
Hudson VH-AGG change of ownership to Adastra Airways. G. Goodall
Frank Follett died. Various
Hammond to DCA Mascot: Advising that Mr Eric Haynes, formerly Chief Engineer, has been appointed Works Manager. The position of Chief Engineer has been taken over by Mr Jack McDonald. Chief Field Engineer is now Mr T.W. Carpenter. NAA C4281/17
(1A, 4A, 41A) 127/1/76
Adastra Airways -
Approved Firm
Dragonfly VH-AAD disposed. A. Arbon
Haynes to RDNSW: Acknowledges letter of 31st January re Workshop Approval No. 145. Makes formal application to have Workshop Approval extended to cover Lockheed Hudson. "Our workshop facilities have been increased to carry out all the necessary overhaul and testing of equipment and component parts in accordance with Departmental requirements."
Also submits a revised list of Company officers:

General Manager Captain H.T. Hammond, O.B.E.
Company Secretary Miss M. Morrell
Works Manager Mr. E.G. Haynes
Chief Engineer Mr. J. McDonald
NAA C4281/17
(1A, 4A, 41A) 127/1/76
Adastra Airways -
Approved Firm
Anson VH-AGO withdrawn from service. G. Goodall
Anson VH-BKZ crashed at Moorabbin. G. Goodall
Anson VH-BNS acquired by Adastra Airways. G. Goodall
Anson VH-BNS crashed at Moorabbin. G. Goodall
Hudson VH-AGO registered to Adastra Airways. G. Goodall
Aircraft Surveyor to Senior Aircraft Surveyor, NSW Region: Internal DCA memo detailing an investigation into Adastra's maintenance: (Quoted verbatim)

"The Company is at present operating two (2) Hudson aircraft VH-AGG & VH-AGO, and one (1) Anson aircraft VH-UVT (sic). These aircraft are operating away from base and carry engineers licensed in categories "C" & "D". Base operations at Mascot which consist mainly of major servicing and overhaul of company aircraft is carried out by the following engineers -

Works Manager & Chief Inspector . E. Haynes
Chief Engineer. J. McDonald
C. Nosworthy A & C Wood & Composite types
G. Charlwood C Hudson
K. Stone A, C & D Metal aircraft. P&W and Cyclone engines.
E. Murphy (Aircrew) C & D Hudson and Cyclone
E. Adams (Aircrew) C & D Hudson and Cyclone
M. Sasin (Aircrew) B, C & D Anson and Cheetah
Three (3) Apprentices..
Stores Purchasing Officer . H. Morrell
One (1) Junior..
Machine Shop - 1 tool maker...
Cleaners - One. ..

These are contained in Hangar 15, and considered inadequate for the amount of work being undertaken at present.

The following workshops and offices are contained in the hangar -
Works Manager's office, Chief Engineer's office, Stores office, Aircrew office, main store, bulk store, quarantine store, woodworking shop, machine shop, welding shop, engine shop and hydraulic shop. At present two (2) Lockheed Hudson aircraft are in the hangar for overhaul and conversion. With these 2 aircraft in a partially stripped down condition, it is impossible for any other aircraft to be serviced in the hangar. The main store and stores records are maintained in good condition; the bulk store is quite adequate for requirements; the quarantine store is totally inadequate due to the fact that the Company have acquired large stocks of Hudson components and Cyclone engines, with the result that aircraft components and engines in various stages of dismantling are situated throughout the hangar without any apparent stores control. The Company's method of engine overhaul at present is to send the power section of a Cyclone engine to A.N.A. Essendon; the rear section and cylinders to Q.E.A. Mascot; the final assembly being carried out by the company after which the engine is sent to Q.E.A. Mascot for test.

There is no separate inspection organisation, the work being certified by engineers licensed in the appropriate categories. These certifications are made in the work sheets and log books and come under the direct supervision of the Chief Engineer, who also maintains all records, drawings and Technical Publications, etc.

The maintenance of the Company's Hudson and Anson is carried out to approved manuals, the majority of the work being carried out away from base by company engineers licensed for the type of aircraft with which they are flying. Upon each occasion when the aircraft have returned to Mascot they have been inspected and found in good condition after lengthy periods of operation in various States. Log books are maintained by the engineers with the aircraft and have been found correct.

In conclusion, it is considered that the maintenance of Adastra Airways Pty. Ltd. aircraft is quite satisfactory, but the condition of the quarantine store and hangar is deplorable. This has been brought to the attention of the management who advised that this condition will be rectified with the allotment of another building, believed to ne that previously occupied by Shell & Vacuum Oil Company."

NAA C273/210
Adastra Airways P/L

DGCA to RDNSW: Internal memo states that Adastra's aerial work licence is under review and it is intended to specify a minimum crew requirement for Hudson IFR operations. It emerged that the CofA for Adastra's Mk III Hudsons specifies one pilot whereas the CofA for the Mk IV specifies two pilots. DGCA requests an examination of Adastra's Mk III aircraft to determine:
(a) Can the Mk III be operated satisfactorily by one pilot, particularly with regard to the operation of the u/c emergency extension system?
(b) Are the Mk IIIs equipped with dual controls?
(c) Are the Mk IIIs operated under IFR and, if so, what crew complement do Adastra actually use?
(d) Apart from the power units, what difference is there between the Mk III and the Mk IV types?
(e) Do you consider that the minimum crew of 1 pilot only specified in the CofA for the Mk III is adequate?

NAA C273/210
Adastra Airways P/L
(a) Yes. The pilot is always accompanied by two camera operators, and the emergency system operation, which is the only service not readily available to the pilot can be easily manipulated by a camera operator.
(b) No.
(c) Operations are all VFR.
(d) Power plant is the only difference.
(e) Yes
Adastra advise that they are not interested in IFR operations at all because of crew and equipment requirements.
NAA C273/210
Adastra Airways P/L
The Port Moresby Aero Club was licensed. Honorary instructors included Bob Gordon of Adastra and Frank Minjoy of World Wide Helicopters (previously Adastra). "Balus" Vol 1 pp. 175-6 by James Sinclair
Hudson VH-AGX registered to Adastra Airways. G. Goodall
Adastra Hunting Geophysics Pty Ltd was incorporated in Sydney, NSW under Certificate of Incorporation No. 491661. C. O'Neill
Hudson VH-AGS registered to Adastra Airways. G. Goodall
H.T. Hammond to RDNSW: "We refer to your letter to us, 026/8/36, No. 13064, of the 26th September, 1953, at which time we had offered to us, several Mosquito type aircraft, for use on aerial photographic survey. This offer was rejected following receipt of your letter, which stated that the policy of the Department was that no C of A would be issued for any type of ex-service aircraft, except at that time temporary approval was granted Mr. Oates who flew a Mosquito in the London to Christchurch race. We would like to know whether this policy still stands." (Signed H.T. Hammond, general Manager and Director). NAA C273/210
Adastra Airways P/L
RDNSW to Adastra: "The Director General has ruled that he is not prepared to accept Mosquito Aircraft on to the civil register for ordinary Charter purposes. Applications for the certification of Mosquitoes will only be considered for very specialised purposes for which the Mosquito may have unique possibilities, e.g. high altitude aerial survey." NAA C273/210
Adastra Airways P/L
DGCA to Adastra: "Referring to your letter (not in the file - Ed) regarding Mosquito aircraft the following information is given in reply to your request for specific advice on the points covered:

(i) To begin with we would not agree to a crew member being locked into the bomb bay.
(ii) It would be necessary to obtain a Civil Certificate of Airworthiness. However, we would not demand that the aircraft be brought into line with our full airworthiness requirements. Broadly speaking we would accept a serviceable aircraft which is fully modified to R.A.A.F. standards.
(iii) Yes, we would want an Operations Manual.

Regarding oxygen, there appears to be some misunderstanding. Up to date we have not published any requirements regarding the carriage of oxygen for high altitude aerial survey work. All we have done in the past is to ensure ourselves that where oxygen apparatus is installed, it is a sound engineering job. As to quantities, durations, etc., this has been left to the operator. You have two systems in your Hudsons and in both cases they were approved entirely on an engineering basis without any operational or quantity requirements being specified by the Department. However, in this case because of the greater altitudes involved, it would mean that a "pressure demand" type regulator would be necessary and possibly high pressure storage bottles would be required. An adequate oxygen system was designed for use in the photo-reconnaissance version, so there should be no difficulty in meeting the demand.

I would like to make the point that we will make the task of getting a Certificate of Airworthiness, and of maintaining the aircraft as simple as possible but we would confine the aircrafts use to specialist high level photographic purposes only and would also place a time limit on our approval, such as one year.

Should you desire to proceed with the idea of using Mosquito type aircraft would you please advise whether you would want to operate the aircraft under IFR conditions, or strictly VFR; proposed crewing and instrumentation; and radio navigation and radio communication equipment you propose to be fitted."
NAA C273/210
Adastra Airways P/L
Dragon VH-AGC registered to Adastra Airways. A. Arbon
Catalina (Canso) VH-AGB registered to Adastra Hunting Geophysics. G. Goodall
Anson VH-AVT re-registered VH-AGA. G. Goodall
The New Guinea Aero Club at Lae was officially opened with an air pageant. An Adastra aircraft participated in the flypast.
The aircraft was Hudson VH-AGS. (Source: Log Book No. 2 VH-AGS)
"Balus" Vol I p.179 by James Sinclair
DCA Report: Senior Pilot is Captain Joseph Linfoot who has been with Adastra since the end of WW2. Assistant General Manager is L. Pares. G. Goodall
Prince VH-AGF registered to Adastra Hunting Geophysics. G. Goodall
Hudson VH-AGO crashed at Horn Island. Various
Aircraft Surveyor to Senior Aircraft Surveyor DCA NSW: "It is advised that Adastra have now completed a changeover in their activities to new premises on Sydney Airport. The firm now occupy the original Hangar No. 13, which has been relocated to a new site on the Airport and raised in height approximately 3 feet. The Hangar has a floor area of 100' x 130' with workshops built across the rear wall and also in an adjoining brick annexe. The sizes of the various workshops are as follows:-

Woodwork Shop 16' x 14'
Hydraulics Shop 16' x 9.5'
Engine build-up Shop 16' x 18.5'
Store 16' x 36'
Machine Shop 18' x 18'
Electrical Shop 30' x 12'

A quarantine and an unserviceable store are contained within the hangar whose sizes are 13' x 6' and 13' x 19' respectively.
The sheet metal section is arranged along one side of the hangar being divided off by benches.
There has been no change in the scope of the firm's activities and it is therefore recommended that the existing Terms of Approval, together with subsequent amendments remain current.
However, it is to be noted that, owing to the re-naming of Lord's Road, the firm address should now read -
41-43 Vickers Avenue, Mascot.
NAA C4281/17
(1A, 4A, 41A) 127/1/76
Adastra Airways -
Approved Firm
DGCA to RDNSW: "Arising from the accident to VH-AOG*, it is evident that there is a general lack of knowledge and efficiency amongst pilots flying heavy aircraft on private aerial work and charter operations. As you are aware, we do not require in these categories a proficiency flight check as a condition of licence renewal as we do in the case of airline pilots. In addition, the investigation of this accident revealed that very little attention is paid to weight control requirements and it is thought that this attitude could well be typical of other organizations." The memo includes a list of three operators in NSW Region "who should be examined" - Adastra, Sepal and Marshall Airways. The memo states that Adastra operate three Hudsons and Adastra Hunting Geophysics operate a Catalina and a Prince. (Sepal operate one Hudson). The Director-General requests a list of pilots and licence type.
*(Butler DC-3 crashed near Bourke on 15DEC55)
NAA C273/210
Adastra Airways P/L
RDNSW to DGCA: "Adastra Airways Pty Ltd. This Company employs eight (8) pilots who operate the Catalina and Percival Prince in addition to the Lockheed Hudsons. Their names and licences are set out below:-

W. Garroway CL.3316
J. Howard CL.2524
R. Love CL.3460
A. McKenzie CL.3175
A. Mottram CL.3434
R. Reid SCL.220
B. Sellick CL.2082
L. Taylor CL.2973

None of these pilots holds an Instrument Rating." The memo also states that "Sepal went out of existence several months ago, when they were absorbed by Adastra."

NAA C273/210
Adastra Airways P/L
Hudson VH-AGG crashed at Lae. Various
Letter to DCA from Adastra Hunting Geophysics Pty Ltd: "This company carries out survey operations with electronic equipment designed to investigate the physical properties of the ground over which the aircraft flies. Generally this equipment is satisfactorily effective at heights of 500-600 feet at which the aircraft have in the past operated. Later trends in these methods of investigation however indicate that it would be more effective to operate at lower heights with our present equipment." Request approval to operate at 200 feet AGL. DCA approve the request but add a proviso that the Crown Solicitor warns that the company will be liable for any legal action that might be taken by persons on the ground. NAA via Goodall
Dragon VH-AGC sold. A. Arbon
Anson VH-AGA change of ownership to Sepal Pty Ltd, 41-43 Vickers Ave, Mascot. G. Goodall
Prince VH-AGF struck off the register. A. Arbon
Hudson VH-AGS arrived at Perth in Westralian Aerial Surveys titles to commence operations for Adastra's W.A. subsidiary. "The West Australian" 30MAY59 front page.
DC-3 VH-AGU registered to Adastra Airways. A. Arbon



References prefixed "NAA" were sourced from the National Archives of Australia by Chris O'Neill, specifically for the Adastra website project.



Civil Aviation Board
Controller of Civil Aviation
CL Commercial Licence
Department of Civil Aviation
Director-General of Civil Aviation
NAA National Archives of Australia
Regional Director (DCA) New South Wales
SCL Senior Commercial Licence