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
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.
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.
15th December 2003