HomeWelcomeUpdatesCompanyAircraftPeopleProjectsEquipmentOperationsPhoto AlbumGuest BookSearchAdastrianaQuestions


by Ron Cuskelly


Tuesday 9th December 2003 proved to be a very significant day for your Webmaster. Despite having been working on the Adastra website for nearly one year, I still had not met many of the Adastrians who have contributed so much to the site. Determined to rectify this omission before Christmas, I seized the opportunity of a business trip to Sydney to arrange a meeting with my Adastrian friends.

Having arrived at the Sydney domestic terminal with time to spare, I decided to go on a pilgrimage in search of that holiest of sacred sites, 41-45 Vickers Avenue. After some expenditure of energy, perspiration and shoe leather, I came to appreciate that Sydney Airport has changed significantly since I last roamed the site, camera in hand, in search of exotic aeroplanes. Nevertheless, I did eventually locate Vickers Avenue, but sadly where 41-45 should have been was a chain-link fence surrounding a big empty. The Adastra headquarters is gone! I was left to wonder if anyone saved those doors with the Adastra emblem etched into the glass? (Update 14th August 2004. Yes, someone did! Click here for details).

After this initial disappointment, I set off down Vickers Avenue in search of that other sacred site, Hangar 13. Although another chain-link fence prevented access, the hangar still stands, used no doubt for purposes considerably less interesting and less charismatic than pre 1974.

With my spare time gainfully expended, it was time for lunch and the short taxi ride to the Brighton Le Sands RSL Club where I was met by Kevin Pavlich who duly signed me in to what was, unbeknownst to me, another Adastra sacred site. With my further education completed, I was now aware that Adastra's former Purchasing Manager, Harry Morrel, had been on the committee of this very establishment, which was in its day, a favoured Adastra watering hole.

Having adjourned to the inner sanctum of this Adastra Temple, we were soon joined by Mike Wood, Maurie Miller, Alex Whitworth and Doug Morrison for a most enjoyable lunch and confirmation that just sometimes there is such a thing as a free lunch. (Thanks guys!) I think I hit it off with Mike Wood despite my having committed the unpardonable fashion faux pas of wearing the same shirt!

A "show and tell" session saw the presentation of several colour paintings of Hudson VH-AGS prepared by Peter Shute. Also on display was a genuine Adastra manual which could have been titled "The Big Book of How to Do Aerial Survey". Hitherto, the origins and authorship of this manual had been something of a mystery, but Mike Wood recognised it immediately as the original copy of a document he had penned in 1959! We are hoping to add the entire contents of this manual to the site in the near future.

As if all this wasn't enough for someone who believes that too much Adastra is never enough, the icing on the cake came in the form of a certificate (reproduced below) prepared by Kevin Pavlich to confirm that this former Adastra groupie is now officially adopted. The certificate was duly witnessed by those present at the luncheon. I was deeply touched by this gesture and the certificate will always be a treasured possession.

Larger Image

[Click for a larger image]

In closing this report on a very enjoyable day, I would like to wish all readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous 2004. As you enjoy your Christmas dinner leftovers on Boxing Day, spare a thought for Alex Whitworth who will be piloting the "Berrimilla" to Hobart on his annual pilgrimage. You can follow Alex's progress on the Sydney/Hobart Website. God speed Alex.

Ron Cuskelly
15th December 2003