Rathmines Catalina Festival
In 2012-13 the RCA purchased a PBY-5A Catalina (Flying Boat) in Puerto Rico - the aircraft 'Our Girl' is now being restored at Kilaben Bay on privately owned land. The RCA’s primary goal has always been to see this aircraft restored to static display standards and put on permanent display, in a suitable building, at Rathmines.
Rathmines is located on the shores of Lake Macquarie, NSW and was the site of a WW11 Flying Boat Base…RAAF Rathmines.
Lake Macquarie City Council have been the owners of the Rathmines site since the early 1960’s. There have been many years of discussion with senior Council staff and Councillors about our goal and intent. In recent years it became apparent that Council support and vision for this project did not exist.
The RCA is charged with finding the best result for the aircraft, the volunteers who work on the aircraft and telling the story of those who served at the Base in WW11.
We have had and continue to have detailed discussions with RAAF History and Heritage Branch…the overarching body at Fighter World, RAAF Williamtown. In due course our Catalina will be relocated and displayed there and the story of the men and women of RAAF Rathmines will be told in that space.
As a group of volunteers our focus is the continued restoration and relocation and all that it involves. The Festival was one of the most popular and successful events in the region, and drew participants and spectators from around Australia and overseas. Attractions included a spectacular airshow, seaplanes, and lots of family friendly exhibits at the site of the former RAAF Rathmines Flying Boat Base. Sadly, it is unlikely that we will arrange and coordinate another ‘Catalina Festival’. To those members of the public who have attended and enjoyed earlier Festivals, we thank you for your support and trust you can understand our position.
The RCA Committee