Profile of RCMPA’s Patron:
Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, AC (Retired)
Mark retired from the Royal Australian Air Force after a 40-year career that culminated in him being Chief of the Defence Force. His flying career includes tours as a fighter pilot with the Royal Australian Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force and United States Air Force. He remains active in the aviation community.
His passion for the Catalina comes from his father, Don, who flew from Rathmines in a Catalina as a young Airforce cadet. Much later in life, Don subsequently flew on the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society’s Catalina as the Flight Engineer.
Mark feels strongly that the important role of Rathmines, the Catalina, and the men and women who served during the dark years of World War Two should never be lost in dusty archives. That story should be available for future generations of young Australians.
After retiring from 40 years in long haul flight as a pilot for Qantas, Bill and his wife moved to Kilaben Bay in 2016. Bill joined the Association later that year and served as the Vice President for a short period of time before assuming the role of President in 2017.
For Bill the Catalina project is a natural extension for his love of flying and he has been delighted to be involved with an energetic committee and motivated restoration team as RCMPA President.
Bill maintains the role of President – his skills in management, negotiation and organisation have been essential in moving the Catalina project forward.
Terry has been part of the restoration group from the very beginning and was part of the recovery team in Puerto Rico who dismantled Our Girl and shipped her to Australia. He has a love of aircraft and in particular Catalinas. Terry was nominated for the role of Vice President in 2019 and remains serving in that capacity and also as our Volunteer Coordinator.
Terry’s working life was largely in supervisory roles in heavy equipment and mining equipment maintenance. Terry’s diverse range of skills and knowledge have guided and trained volunteers as well as providing essential work on the aircraft. Terry and his wife Linda reside at Blackalls Park.
Mark has previously served as Treasurer of the Rathmines Catalina Association (2017-2020) and as a Committee Member for the last 12 months. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons I) (University and Faculty Medals) from the University of Newcastle. Mark is presently employed at Herbert Smith Freehills where he specialises in commercial litigation and revenue law. Prior to this he was employed as a judicial associate to a judge of the New South Wales Court of Appeal in Sydney, and whilst completing his university studies he was employed at Turnbull Hill Lawyers in Newcastle.
Mark’s interest in the Catalina story was sparked after being introduced to Penny and Bill and he is happy to be able to offer his skills to the Association, as the Committee and the Members strive to achieve a home for the restored Catalina.
Mark remains a member of the Committee and is now our Public Officer.
Laraine, a heritage consultant, lives at Belmont. Ten years living overseas in countries as diverse as the Sudan, Japan, Indonesia and Argentina has provided a deep understanding of the role history and heritage plays in building strong, connected communities.
Laraine’s heritage consulting experience covers a broad-spectrum including assessments of WW2 and defence sites, such as RAAF Base Amberley and more recently Wangi Gun Emplacement and the WW2 complex on Tomaree peninsular. Laraine considers the work of the RCA essential in ensuring RAAF Base Rathmines receives the recognition it deserves.
Having held the position of RCA Secretary since 2017, Laraine is stepping down from that role to concentrate on working with Penny in the cataloguing of the RCA memorabilia collection and assisting with the proposed Fortress Newcastle exhibition in 2022.
Terry was born in the Illawarra Region and served an Electrical Fitter/Mechanic apprenticeship with Australian Iron & Steel (Port Kembla) and further studies in Automotive Engineering (Electrical) and Management at TAFE. Work roles also include shift electrician in coal mines and as a licensed electrical contractor, production manager and national manager. Terry retired in 2016.
His introduction to the Catalina was via a friend who was a member of the RCA. He has grown to appreciate the incredible contribution that the Catalina aircraft and their crews achieved, defending Australia during WWII.
Terry has undertaken the role of Restoration Coordinator for the last three years and brings a wealth of knowledge and skill in electrical and mechanical operations.
Philip is a chartered accountant and lives in Turramurra. He retired from full time employment approximately 18 months ago and was looking for new things to do. His interest in the Catalina stems from his father having been a Catalina pilot during WW2. His father spent a large part of his time at Rathmines undertaking his training, and then as a pilot trainer.
Getting involved has given Philip the chance to explore further the amazing role the Black Cats played and appreciate even more the “mystique” of these remarkably versatile aircraft. The restoration of Our Girl is truly a marvellous venture – a labour of skill, love and dedication - and Philip is delighted to be able to play a part supporting the wonderful team of volunteers.
Philip has taken over the role of Treasurer from Mark Peters.
James Marshall is the Group Manager Stakeholder Engagement at Centennial Coal and provides support to the External Affairs department of the company. James has experience working in local government, the not-for-profit sector and recently as a private consultant in the fields of human services planning, social impact assessment, consultation and facilitation and mediation.
James has been instrumental in assisting the Association with consultation and space to house aircraft parts.
Penny and her husband Rob have been the constant driving force behind the Catalina restoration, the Rathmines Catalina Festival and the preservation of the heritage of the RAAF Base at Rathmines Park. Penny and Rob were instrumental in bringing Our Girl from Puerto Rico.
Penny’s knowledge of the Rathmines RAAF base stems from her early life living on the base when her father was CO, the history of the Catalina aircraft and her vision to create an interpretive centre continues to guide and drive the Committee. Penny is keen to begin formally cataloguing our extensive memorabilia collection.
Graham’s career commenced as a Trainee Mechanical Engineer at BHP Newcastle, he has performed multiple management and engineering roles across heavy industry over 45 years - the last 30 years at Tomago Aluminium. Graham fully retired in 2015, he is a member of the Rotary Club of Toronto Sunrise and a keen caravaner. Graham’s father served with the RAAF in New Guinea during WWII.
Graham has followed the restoration of ‘Our Girl’ and jumped at the opportunity to become part of the committee team. He commenced looking after our web site, became our Membership Officer and has now accepted the role of Secretary following Laraine’s decision to vacate the role and concentrate on the memorabilia.