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by Brian Lees


I came to Adastra in May 1972 as a qualified pilot and navigator at a time when the industry was still awash with crews following the mass Qantas retrenchments. I started off with Jock Head and Peter Shute as a camera operator in Cessna 206 VH-DGD, taking over as navigator when Peter left. Towards the end of that western NSW contract, or rather to complete it given the problems with DGD, Lionel and Johnny Messenger brought Hudson VH-AGX out to Broken Hill. Like everyone, I have a host of Lionel stories from that episode - not least of which was the swathe he cut through the young female population of Broken Hill!

In May 1973 Adastra chartered a Cessna 320 from Civil to complete the Western Australian contract. The bit south of Halls Creek and north of Giles still needed to be completed. With the 320 came Rodell and Lance Nicholls. I was the navigator. Towards the end of 1973 things were getting fraught and I left just before the AGX crash. They were great times. After I left Adastra I worked my way through the University of Sydney to a PhD. I'm now working, surprise, surprise, in the area of geographical information systems and satellite remote sensing at the Australian National University.

Dr Brian G Lees
25 May 2005

Reader in Geography
Editor (Asia-Pacific) International Journal of Geographical Information Science
School of Resources, Environment & Society
Faculty of Science
The Australian National University



If you wish to contribute your experiences, please contact Ron