October 4th, 2021 

Good afternoon everyone,

It is a month today that we issued a media release covering the proposed move of ‘Our Girl’ to Williamtown. During this entire period we have continued with the Covid lockdown and this has stopped any face to face discussions.

Where we are now: We have an in principle agreement with Air Force to facilitate the move of our Catalina to RAAF Williamtown Aviation Heritage Centre (WAHC). This Centre is managed by the staff of Fighter World (FW). We need to establish a working relationship with them and plans are in place to meet with their President and senior staff as soon as face to face is available.

You may recall that in the media release we noted that the relocation will not happen for some time as there are pre existing unrelated projects underway to upgrade the WAHC site.

Ahead of us: Several matters are in play. WAHC are about to take delivery of two more display aircraft, an F-18 and a Canberra bomber. I hope you can understand where their focus lies at present.

The proposed upgrade at WAHC is part of a bigger matrix, with upgrades taking place at RAAF Townsville and Point Cook. We have a place on the totem pole, but not at the top!

I am having discussions with my Air Force contact about how we can best use this period...we are relocating to Government land and there will be some training and sign offs to be completed.

There has been limited discussion on the possibility of some form of interim facility at WAHC and we have supplied a dimensioned plan of what we would need to accommodate the fuselage and centre wing. A site visit is planned when able.

Our AGM is close, we are holding off waiting to receive the audited end of year accounts and as previously stated we would prefer a face to face AGM...date will be set asap.

Behind us: The recent weeks have seen several exchanges of correspondence with Council (Madam Mayor). It has remained courteous, no bridges have been burnt and we look forward to continue managing the Rathmines Anzac Service and running the Heritage Base Tours. I believe we are now on course and excess baggage is behind us.

More soon, stay safe, 

Bill

Saturday, September 4, 2021 

Today is significant for the RCA. Attached is a copy of our media release in today’s edition of the Newcastle Herald. 

A couple of salient facts to accompany this release: 

  • In 2019 RCA met with several senior council staff to discuss progression of our move to Rathmines. An emphasis at the meeting was a ‘must achieve timeline’, based on the increasing inadequacy of the current work site. At the time the RAAF 2021 centenary was also firmly in our sights – what a fantastic opportunity to announce a presence of a dedicated heritage centre at Rathmines. 
  • In October 2020, I addressed a scheduled Council meeting with the Councillors and advised that while Plan A (Rathmines) was our goal, due to little or no progress, we were investigating a Plan B. Plan B would facilitate the completion of the restoration at a suitable facility and permit the display of the RCAs important collection of memorabilia. 
  • Subsequent correspondence from Council confirmed our fear that Plan A – a Rathmines Catalina Heritage Centre housing the memorabilia and Catalina would not have Council support. 

As a result, Plan B - the relocation of the memorabilia and Catalina to the RAAF Williamtown Heritage Centre has now been activated. 

Shortly a newsletter will be issued providing more detail and over the weekend answers to expected questions will be posted in the Latest News section on our RCA website: https://www.rathmines-catalina.com

Bill Anderson - President, RCA 

Media Release:

  • The Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association (RCMPA) wish to announce that we have negotiated a new home for our Catalina under restoration, affectionately known as ‘Our Girl’. 
  • Negotiations to gain approval to site and house ‘Our Girl’ at Rathmines were not progressing at a pace, or direction that would meet RCMPA’s timeframe to complete the restoration and provide a suitable facility in which to display her. 
  • As a result, we intend to relocate ‘Our Girl’ from Kilaben Bay to the RAAF Williamtown Aviation Heritage Centre, where she will form part of the display. We wish to thank Air Force for their support in providing this outcome. 
  • The relocation will not happen for some time. There is a pre-existing unrelated project underway to upgrade the RAAF Williamtown Aviation Heritage Centre. Therefore, the ‘Our Girl’ move is planned to occur once the upgrading of existing facilities at the Williamtown centre are completed. 
  • The support of RCMPA members and the wider community for ‘Our Girl’ and associated memorabilia to be located in the Newcastle area is evident. There is a real desire for recognition of the significance of RAAF Base Rathmines and the debt owed to the personnel who served there throughout WW2. 
  • We are pleased that as a result of this agreement with Air Force, ‘Our Girl’ will remain in Newcastle. We consider this to be a wonderful outcome for the Association and the dedicated volunteers completing the restoration. 
  • The Association wishes to thank Mayor Fraser for her support and LMCC for their involvement in the project. 
  • RCMPA wish to sincerely thank its members, benefactors and the large number of supporters in the wider community for their ongoing support for this endeavour. Together we look forward to a bright and exciting future. 

Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association Incorporated is a non-profit organisation, trading as RATHMINES CATALINA Association
ADDRESS: PO Box 59, Toronto NSW 2283 AUSTRALIA

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