HomeWelcomeUpdatesCompanyAircraftPeopleProjectsEquipmentOperationsPhoto AlbumGuest BookSearchAdastrianaQuestions


by Max Garroway


It is widely accepted that Pat Gregory was the first (perhaps only) woman camera operator. Not so! On returning to Cairns from Lae in October '61 we were given a job to do in the Mareeba area. Crew was Hal McKinley, Wiley Hamblett and myself. Wiley had put in an application for a job with DCA and halfway through the survey he received a summons to go to Brisbane for the job interview. It was important to him so I agreed that he should go and we would 'cover up for him'. Unfortunately the weather became fine and the job beckoned, but we had no camera operator. Pam and the kids were in the hotel with us so we put the kids in a child-minding centre and Hal gave Pam a crash course on operating the Eagle IX. We carried out a successful survey over Mareeba in VH-AGS on 2nd November 1961 with the crew of Hal McKinley, Pam Garroway and myself. Later on when in Mascot I asked Frank Schneider (tongue in cheek) "How did that Mareeba job lay down Frank?" and he replied that it was quite good. So as not to dob Wiley in (he had not left at that stage) we kept Pam's effort a secret. She complained that she should at least have received what it cost to put the kids in the centre! Years later when Pat Gregory was getting some media attention as being the only woman Camera Op, Pam would shake her head and say "what about me ?" So Pam may not have been the only woman cam-op, BUT she was the FIRST!

Max Garroway
7th February 2003


If you wish to contribute your experiences, please contact Ron