Steve Tarrant

 

Where are you from and give us a little background about you and where you grew up?

I was born and bred in Maitland and completed my secondary school education at Maitland Boys High.   I married a Maitland lass and we relocated to Lake Mac in 1979.

What did you want to be when you grew up and what did you become?

I found I was very good at tennis and playing A grade at age 12… there was a plan to undertake serious training and consider becoming a professional.  My older brother was a very good swimmer and had plans with that skill.  Unfortunately the training costs were way outside the family budget and events turned to a job… I completed an apprenticeship, becoming a fitter / machinist. That lead to about 13 years working in the power stations.  I moved on to building mining machinery and later worked as a quality assurance technician.

How did you come to be involved in the Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association?

I have known Terry Woolard for many years and he encouraged me to join.

What role do you play in the RCMPA and what are the benefits of belonging to this   organisation?

Various jobs with mechanical restoration.  It is a worthwhile project and I enjoy making a contribution.

What do you do in your spare time and what are your hobbies?

There are a few…fishing, restoring and riding motorcycles and travel is on the list.  My wife and I and our dog have plans to set off in the camper van.

Where is your favourite place to visit, in both Australia and the World?

Thus far holiday travel has eluded us so there are no favourites…anywhere will do!

Matt Butler


  

Where are you from and give us a little background about you and where you grew up?

I was born in Ireland and grew up in the small town of Munney Gorey, in the County of Wexford.  Then went on to Carnew Technical College and some of my studies were based around science, English and languages / Spanish and Gaelic.  I also played Gaelic football.

What did you want to be when you grew up and what did you become?

As a young boy I always wanted to be a pilot, but eventually I joined the Irish Army and spent four years there on ‘special services’.  A posting to Europe was great for a young man and then I emigrated to Australia in 1973 (on my own).  I celebrated my 21st birthday shortly after arriving in Sydney.

How did you come to be involved in the Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association? 

I became involved with the RCMPA through an inquiry my wife made.  The interest in aviation has always remained with me and so I joined as a volunteer.

What role do you play in the RCMPA and what are the benefits of belonging to this organisation?

My role at present is helping to repair the centre wing section.  My passion for anything that flies means that I am getting great satisfaction from this volunteer work.

What do you do in your spare time and what are your hobbies?

My spare time is mostly involved in helping my children, but my greatest hobby would be my vegetable gardens.  I grow all sorts of veggies… potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers but not carrots!  There is time for an occasional game of golf.

Where is your favourite place to visit, in both Australia and the World?

We have an RV and in the course of our travels I would say that Tasmania is the favourite destination and of course Ireland when we can.

David Austin

      

Where are you from and give us a little background about you and where you grew up?

I grew up in Unanderra, a suburb of Wollongong. Went to Farmborough Road Primary and Dapto High School. Started work as a Fitter and Turner and furthered my education, completing a Certificate course in Mechanical Engineering. At 25yrs old we had a young family and moved to the Central Coast where my wife Sandy & I currently live. Our daughter and son are both married and we have six grandsons aged from 6 to 28 years.

What did you want to be when you grew up and what did you become?

I wanted to be a draughtsman with the then Department of Main Roads.  They were only taking 6th form students so I went with the Fitter and Turner option to Engineering, which lead me to become a draughtsman with an underground mining company.  From there I worked with four other mining companies, ending as Senior Design Engineer.  I then moved to a Structural Steel Fabrication and Erecting company as Estimating, Production and Project Manager.

How did you come to be involved in the Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association?

I went to the Rathmines Catalina Festival, there were some RCMPA people there whom I talked to, they were restoring a Catalina.  I've been retired for a couple of years and thought with my background and my love of flying I could help out.

What role do you play in the RCMPA and what are the benefits of belonging to this organisation?

 My role at the moment is helping a team of guys repairing the centre wing.  This involves the removal of the corroded aluminium airframe structure and sheeting then replacing with new components.  This process requires learning how to rivet.  Under advice from Steve, Hank and Crash I think we are getting the hang of it.  The benefits other than working with a great bunch of like-minded guys, are that we will end up with a beautiful looking Catalina to be displayed for all to see.

What do you do in your spare time and what are your hobbies?

Since my retirement, I enjoy lawn bowling, some painting, line dancing, Tai Chi, and star gazing with my 10” Dobsonian telescope.  My main hobby is flying on my home flight simulator and I fly online with a lot of different groups, mainly VFR, all over the world.  Enjoy going camping with the younger grand kids and family outings.

Where is your favourite place to visit, in both Australia and the World?

We enjoy going down to the Snowy to ski and staying at Bright.  Our 25yrs in the 4WD Club has taken us on some great off-road trips.  Overseas we've been to both sides and the canyons of the USA.  Both sides of Canada, travelled parts of Europe and the Mediterranean, but our favourite place would be cruising around the Hawaiian Islands.  Still have a lot on our bucket list to do.

Wayne Boyd

     

Where are you from and give us a little background about you and where you grew up?

I was originally from Kingsgrove, a suburb of Sydney.  We moved to Newcastle in 1965 when my father was posted there during is Army service.  We lived in the Grand Hotel for five years and then moved to Adamstown Heights. 

My secondary schooling was at St Pius X college, before joining the Army in 1972.

What did you want to be when you grew up and what did you become?

I had always wanted to follow in the footsteps of my Uncle and be a pilot with the RAAF.  Regrettably I did not have what was required and the Amy became my focus, joining the Royal Australian Engineers.  I served with them for 15 years before commencing employment with the Newcastle Council, spending 18 years with them.

  How did you come to be involved in the Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association?

My wife and I built a house at Rathmines and for many years a Black Catalina would be observed flying over head.  I thought I better investigate this!

What role do you play in the RCMPA and what are the benefits of belonging to this organisation?

At the beginning I was the rip tear bloke and also the cleaner.  More recently I am cataloguing parts 

What do you do in your spare time and what are your hobbies?

I really enjoy collecting and restoring fountain pens.

 Where is your favourite place to visit, in both Australia and the World?

We have been to most places in the world and I can say that Tasmania is brilliant

Dave Pickard

     

Where are you from and give us a little background about you and where you grew up?

I was born in March 1954 at our family home in Wythenshawe, Manchester UK.  I was the middle child of five boys and we spent a lot of time playing in the open fields and woods near home.  Manchester airport was about five miles away and I recall enjoying watching the aircraft flying overhead.

What did you want to be when you grew up and what did you become?

Woodwork was a favourite subject and I had an aptitude for it and elected to leave school at 16 to become an apprentice carpenter and joiner.  After three years I left and joined the RAF and was mustered as Aircraft Mechanic Electrical.   After 12 years service I resigned and emigrated to Australia commencing work with Kodak, staying with them for 26 years with my latter period as a Service Engineer on high production printers.

How did you come to be involved in the Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association?

I was having lunch at the Rathmines Bowling Club and while chatting with the staff I expressed some interest in the history of the Club…it was the former Officers Mess when the Base was active in WW11.

The staff put me in touch with Bill and an hour later we met at the Memorial.  I loved the idea of working on the Catalina restoration and joined up immediately.

What role do you play in the RCMPA and what are the benefits of belonging to this organisation?

As there are no electrical parts left in the aircraft, I have turned my hand to the airframe work.  Cleaning and grinding the original paint off the aircraft and many of the components are a major part of my work.  A great and interesting bunch of blokes and a strong feeling of doing something worthwhile keep me coming back for more.

What do you do in your spare time and what are your hobbies?

Spare time?  Who has spare time when you’re retired!  Besides ‘Our Girl’ I help out  with a land reclamation group at Morisset Park.  I travel to Penrith to see my grandkids, catch up with my theatre group and go to watch Western Sydney Wanderers.  I go fishing with my brother-in-law when I can and the rest of the time I carry out duties as apportioned to me by the House Leader.  Other than all that I just sit around and relax.

Where is your favourite place to visit, in both Australia and the World?

I like the odd trip to Canberra to visit the War Memorial and Museum.  Having only moved to Lake Macquarie two years ago I am still enjoying finding new spots around the Lake.

In the world at large I look forward to trips back to Manchester to catch up with family.  But the best way to see the world is off the back deck of a cruise ship and my wife and I have enjoyed a couple of cruises to New Zealand and a few Pacific Islands
Steve Wenban


Where are you from and give us a little background about you and where you grew up?

I grew up in the western Sydney suburb of Chester Hill and attended the Chester Hill high school.

What did you want to be when you grew up and what did you become?

All I ever wanted to be was someone who worked on aeroplanes. I spent many hours around Bankstown Airport and other smaller airports. I completed appropriate trade courses to became a qualified aircraft sheet metal worker and have worked at Hawker De Havilland and Boeing.

How did you come to be involved in the Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association?

My wife saw and article in the newspaper about the Catalina restoration.  We live close by, I was retired and had previous experience in this sort of work.  My trade skills were a natural fit so I joined up. 

What role do you play in the RCMPA and what are the benefits of belonging to this organisation?

The volunteer group have many and varied skills, but only a few of us have sheet metal experience.  My main task is cutting out corrosion and replacing the areas with new sheets of aluminium.  I also offer advice on the best repair options.

It is great getting together each week to work on the aircraft, keep my skill sets active and I enjoy the company of like minded fellows, particularly two ex defence guys.  Chris, Paul and I work on the fuselage primarily, we make up a great team. 

What do you do in your spare time and what are your hobbies?

Since the age of nine, I have been a keen aero modeller and that continues to be the case, building flying models from three view drawings.

Another interest is the annual organising of a flying event at Mount Borah (near Manilla, NSW).  The event has been running for 12 years and has competitors from overseas as well as local folk.

Where is your favourite place to visit, in both Australia and the World?

Basically I am still a country boy and really enjoy the Mount Borah trips.  Overseas it is a hard choice between Wales (UK) and California (USA).

Chris Carroll


Where are you from and give us a little background about yourself and where you grew up?

I grew up in Brisbane, attended the Kelvin Grove High School. I joined the Army at the age of 20 and retired after 30 years of active service.  This period included deployments to East Timor as an S4 (Senior Maintenance Manager), Afghanistan with the rank of ASM (Artificer Sargeant Major responsible for maintenance of a huge range of equipment), and also the Middle East where I acted in a liaison capacity between the military suppliers and Coalition partners for anything from general maintenance items to specialist equipment including tyres for the Bushmaster fleet in the theatre of operation.

Apart from the above, most of my life has been spent on the eastern side of Australia.

What did you want to be when you grew up and what did you become?

I do not recall any real ambitions as a child, but did complete a panel beating apprenticeship before joining the Army.  When I retired I held the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1.

How did you come to be involved in the Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association?

A good friend told me about the project.

What role do you play in the RCMPA and what are the benefits of belonging to this organisation?

Mainly as an aircraft metal worker…I benefited from considerable training in this area during my Army service.   I enjoy the work as it keeps me thinking.

What do you do in your spare time and what are your hobbies?

Fishing and home renovations. Also, we have just purchased a 28foot cruiser and are looking forward to exploring the lake and surrounds this summer.

Where is your favourite place to visit, in both Australia and the World?

I do enjoy travel, but do not have any real favourites.

Brett Ley


Where are you from and give us a little background about you and where you grew up?

Originally a Westy from Sydney…then North Rocks, amongst poultry farms, tennis courts, with extended family, big backyards and speedway tracks.

What did you want to be when you grew up and what did you become?

A trade background was always on the cards, ended up 40 years with NSW Railways-electrical background and postings at Redfern, Enfield, Goulburn, Albury, Hamilton and Morisset.

How did you come to be involved in the Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association?

Listening to locals like Vernon Hiles and Pat Henry tell stories of the Catalina Base at Rathmines and realising how many have a connection with the Base. It was an easy choice to join the RCMPA.

What role do you play in the RCMPA and what are the benefits of belonging to this organisation?

From infrastructure maintenance and restoration site improvements. Then Catalina panel fabrication and installation. A great volunteer team to be part of, with a common goal to present a restored Catalina to the public at a Rathmines museum.


Peter March


Where are you from and give us a little background about you and where you grew up?

Born in Cessnock and went to school there until age 16, then moved to Singleton for the next 15 years and finally moved to Morisset Park in 1982. 

What did you want to be when you grew up and what did you become?

After leaving school I started working in the coal mines as an apprentice Fitter and Turner, then progressed to Mechanical Engineer.

How did you come to be involved in the Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association?

I knew someone already involved in the Catalina and offered to help on the project, to see it completed.

Where is your favourite place to visit, in both Australia and the World?

My favourite places to visit are anywhere in Australia and overseas, Europe, UK, Canada, Alaska and the Pacific Islands.

What do you do in your spare time and what are your hobbies?

We like caravanning, fishing and I like to surf. We have our own caravan and enjoy trips around coastal NSW and Victoria…somewhat curtailed at present!

What role do you play in the RCMPA and what are the benefits of belonging to this organisation?

Mainly work on a range of mechanical projects, but I have also been involved with setting up the aircraft walkway access and weather protection covers.  More recently I have helped in removing a range of internal components for cleaning and refurbishment.  In 2019 I was part of a small team that removed the undercarriage assemblies.  These have now been cleaned and painted and we are now ready to reinstall them.

I enjoy the company of the other volunteers and giving time to a worthwhile project.

Terry Woolard


Terry Woolard with Our Girl in Puerto Rico

What role do you play in the RCMPA and what are the benefits of belonging to this organisation?

My involvement with the RCMPA has continued to the present and I’m now very busy as the Volunteer Co Ordinator for 2-3 days a week. Without doubt, a standout period in my life was time spent in Puerto Rico helping in the recovery of our PBY-5A. I try to impart my passion for this project onto the other volunteers, this project in particular. It has never ceased to amaze me about the remarkable people and places aviation has introduced me to. I think the RCMPA volunteers are gradually finding that also.

What do you do in your spare time and what are your hobbies?

Strangely enough, my spare time seems to have diminished since I retired. I’m also well involved with the local Men’s Shed which takes up another major part of my week. I still try to find time for reading a good book, the occasional trip away with my wife Linda and am thinking about taking up ten pin bowling again.

Where are you from and give us a little background about you and where you grew up?

I’m originally from near Blayney in the Central Tablelands of NSW, my parents and other family members owned several orchards in the area. My two sisters and myself attended a one teacher primary school at Moorilda, about four kilometres from our property then secondary school as boarders at Orange. It’s true what everyone says about the winters in the tablelands, they are absolutely freezing. We didn’t seem to notice, probably thought it was normal until we moved somewhere else. Life was much simpler then, when not at school, I often disappeared for the day with my .22 rifle and blue heeler dog and my parents didn’t seem to worry. I still recall my passion for reading from an early age, anything to do with flying or Australian history really interested me and that has continued all my life.

What did you want to be when you grew up and what did you become?

As I grew up, aviation continued to interest me but so did all things mechanical. My parents sold their property when I was in my early teens and bought a service station in the same area. This is where I was exposed to road transport and heavy equipment. This led to an apprenticeship with a transport company in Sydney where I lived for about six years. Until I retired several years ago, my entire working life involved heavy equipment and mining machinery maintenance. However, my interest in aviation was always there.

How did you become involved in the Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association?

A job transfer led to a move to Toronto in 1975, by this stage I was married with two young children. My new job plus a young family kept me very busy for quite a few years until I eventually had time to research the local area, Rathmines in particular. It was also about this time that I actively engaged in learning to fly, firstly in gliders which is a fabulous experience and then light aircraft at a local flying school. My first solo in VH-UGG, a Cessna 152 is still a great memory. All this gradually took me to Rathmines where the Catalina Festival was in it’s infancy and I became a member of the organising committee. It was through the Festival that I learnt about the RCMPA, back then it was still the RCMPT.

Where is your favourite place to visit, in both Australia and the World?

Linda and I have probably ticked most of our travelling boxes, we have had a great time doing it. We both would like some more time in Tasmania, I also found rural England really beautiful and the WW1 battle fields in France and Belgium a very sobering experience.

Paul  (Crash)  Barrett

Where are you from and give us a little background about you and where you grew up?

I was born in the small country town of Beaudesert in South East Queensland, about 60km south of Brisbane. The eldest of eight boys and a girl (a twin). I had part time jobs in my father’s sport/hardware store, a local soft drink factory and barman work in Brisbane. After school at 17 and a half, I joined the Air Force. Then initial military training at Adelaide, it was off to Wagga for aircraft trade training. I graduated as an Airframe Fitter and sent to Williamtown (NSW). Over the next 25 years, I was trained and worked on numerous aircraft (Macchi, Winjeel, Iroquois helicopter, Mirage F111 and FA18 Hornet) and had postings to Williamtown, Butterworth Malaysia, Amberley, Middle East (Peace Keeping operations) and Townsville (ARMY support). I left the Air Force in 1999 having achieved the rank of Flight Sergeant and had roles of logistic and engineering management, aircraft component workshop manager, technical and personnel section head, training coordinator, unit driving instructor and aircraft maintenance coordinator. Upon retirement in 2017, I had been a driving instructor for a few years and worked as an aircraft logistical and technical engineering officer for the FA18 Hornet engine and airframe components. I also stayed with defence in the Reserves until 2020. I got the nickname “Crash” after an end-of-season Rugby trip to Cobar.


What did you want to be when you grew up and what did you become?

My air force career took to places I had never dreamed of and went with the flow. Met a lot of different and interesting people on the way and enjoyed every minute. Now settled in Newcastle with wife, Robyn, two boys, one granddaughter and one on the way.

How did you come to be involved in the Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association?

My father was in the Air Force during the Second World War. Initially trained as an engine fitter, he later retrained and become a Flight Engineer flying on the B24 Liberators, Catalinas, Mariners and Sunderlands. I have most of Dad’s service history, log books and personal military documents. My brother, who was in the Air Force at the time contacted me to put together a background piece of our father’s WWII history for an ANZAC Day presentation he was involved in. Weirdly enough, at the same time while doing this research, my wife (Robyn) saw a post on Face Book about the Catalina restoration project. I had recently finished restoring a vintage 1953 Norton and then got an opportunity to help with the Catalina and having my father’s connection with the Catalina and Rathmines, it seemed to fit.

What role do you play in the RCMPA and what are the benefits of belonging to this organisation?

I am currently helping with the replacement of corroded airframe structures. I’m not a metal worker by trade but am getting expert advise and repair techniques from Steve and Chris. Being actively involved in the restoration and seeing the progress gives me a sense of immense job satisfaction, and the smoko / lunchtime chats with the other volunteers are always interesting and sometimes quite comical.

What do you do in your spare time and what are your hobbies?

My spare time is taken up with the Catalina, golf, home brewing, motorcycle rides, grandkid/s, home upkeep, catching up with my old air force and rugby mates, watching my son play for a local Rugby team and short holiday trips with the family.

Where is your favourite place to visit, in both Australia and the World?

During my Air Force career I travelled to numerous places, both with work and privately with our travelling friends, mainly South East Asia (New Guinea, Thailand, Borneo, Philipines, Malaysia, Singapore, Loas, Cambodia,Vietnam), India, Sri Lanka, western USA, Egypt, Israel and a couple of trips to Europe. Favourite international destination is south east asia – not too far to travel, food, people, culture, ancient architecture and history, and value for money. Would really like to go back to Egypt some day and also see Turkey and Jordan. Favourite Australian place is Forster. Still a quiet and laid back area with beaches and golf courses.

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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