Tough year due to lockdowns which cost us around 3 months lost time and a lot happening behind the scenes with finding as home for Our Girl
Restoration ticked over regardless and hull/fuselage sheet metalwork was due for completion except for the Bow Turret section this year
The starboard hull will go close to completion this year with the port hull and some small jobs on the fuselage completed within the first quarter of 2022
The Centre Wing Spar is making progress, it has severe corrosion everywhere and work is on three fronts, the spar itself which is very slow and methodical ensuring we keep the original alignment and strength of the spar, the underside sheets and the engine mounts.
In February this year we were made aware of an original Catalina Eyeball Turret possibly available foe sale in the US. Contact was made via Graeme Hore from the B24 Liberator group in Victoria and after many emails and delays we purchased the turret, it should be in our possession by Christmas. It should land in Sydney on Thursday and take a week to 10 days for fumigation and customs clearance.
Blisters and chine rail will commence in the second quarter and should be close to completion by the end of 2022
Coinciding with the completion of the hull/fuselage sheet metalwork, painting of the interior and exterior will be commenced and hopefully completed by this time next year as well.
Our Girl’s future has been essentially sealed with the move to RAAF History and Heritage Williamtown where Fighterworld stands today. This is a process that will see us move there in a temporary structure and complete the restoration on site. This will enable the Catalina and our memorabilia to be displayed alongside other historic aircraft from WWI, WWII and more recent years
To sum up, the restoration progress is good with around 12-15 volunteers turning up on Mondays and Wednesdays and in all forms of weather and happy to be there. For this we sincerely thank them for their tireless effort.
From an insider’s view, I would like to congratulate the committee, they are all accomplished individuals in their own right and we are lucky to have them advocating on our behalf.
I am looking forward to the next chapter in Our Girl’s life, it is an exciting prospect being involved with RAAF History and Heritage and the expertise they have available to help display the aircraft and our memorabilia in a professional and state of the art heritage centre.
Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association Incorporated is a non-profit organisation, trading as RATHMINES CATALINA Association ADDRESS: PO Box 59, Toronto NSW 2283 AUSTRALIA