Date: August 16th 2010

The Nhill Anson

A newsletter from the

Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre Inc.


    Highlights in this newsletter:

    ·        Community Consultation results

    ·        Membership 

1919-2019: Nhill’s Aviation Century 

Community Consultation

Thanks to all who participated in the combined Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre Inc (NAHC) and Shire of Hindmarsh Community Consultation on 17th May!

A brief overview of the evening:

Mayor Gawith welcomed all present, indicating the importance of the evening regarding:

·        the Shire’s vision for the Nhill Aerodrome,

·        NAHC’s plans for a community celebration of Nhill’s Aviation Century in 2019, and

·        an exchange of views, ideas and opinions to guide the Shire and NAHC in their future endeavours for the Aerodrome.

Rob Lynch, NAHC President, took us through some of the highlights in Nhill’s Aviation history from 1919, illustrated with magnificent pictures of historical aircraft, personalities and events, firstly at Nhill’s early landing strips and then at the Aerodrome.

Andrew Bainbridge, Director of Infrastructure Services, committed the Shire to a Master Plan for the Nhill Aerodrome and highlighted key elements in its development – stakeholders, current and potential uses of the ‘drome, and heritage preservation. He stated that the Master Plan should be developed by Council through existing community structures, with public/community comment on the final draft.

Guest Speaker David Mark, President of the Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum where a new hangar houses the Second World War Catalina aircraft, commended Nhill on the community involvement evident from the interest and support of such a large number of people – and of Shire Councillors and Officers. (There were 85 people present)

Eight thousand people visit Lake Boga each year: visitor surveys have established that the largest group of visitors are ‘grey nomads’. Trends in tourism are particularly important for NAHC to consider when the Avro Anson is housed in a new hangar at the ‘drome with other memorabilia.

Jean Roberts, Facilitator, emphasised the four components in the NAHC Project Plan for 2019: *the Community; *NAHC; *the Aerodrome as a local community/business asset; and *the Aerodrome as a Shire asset.

Objectives of NAHC Project Plan are to ensure that:

·        this Project strengthens the Nhill and surrounding communities,

·        the Aerodrome remains a community owned and irreplaceable asset,

·        our Community remains aware and respectful of the achievements and sacrifices made by former generations, especially by RAAF servicemen and women,

·        NAHC remains financially viable, and actively engaged in gaining financial support to sustain the Project through to – and after – 2019, and

·        activities and events are to be planned in two-year blocks – to ensure ongoing support and enthusiasm through the next decade.

An open, eager and energetic discussion followed, with many helpful comments and questions to the Panel of the Mayor and Officers of the Shire, Executive members of NAHC, and Guest Speaker David Mark.

Discussion included these points:

·        community linkages through current NAHC Association and Committee of Management members – together with other community groups – will advantage NAHC in assisting the Shire to develop the Master Plan,

·        present and future services at the West Wimmera Health Service are built around ongoing usage of the Nhill Aerodrome,

·        signage to the ‘drome is a priority issue – mention was made of the excellence of such signage in the Northern Territory,

·        provision of quality maps and information for a Heritage Walk – not just glossy brochures,

·        be sure to place tourist information in the Shire’s Visitor Information Centre,

·        encourage strong linkages with schools, and promote the teaching of local history,

·        the Shire is working on a Tourism Trail, but the Regional Tourism Strategy must be developed beforehand,

·        Nhill Aerodrome has a unique history, was planned to be a major facility with equipment only seen at capital city aerodromes,

·        Nhill Aerodrome can still land very large planes, and

·        the Radio Shack is the only one of its kind left intact in Australia: heritage equipment is stored in a warehouse at the Essendon Aerodrome – still in working order.

During the discussion, Andrew stated that he will meet soon with NAHC to plan the joint and community-based process of drafting the Master Plan.

At the close of the meeting, the Mayor and NAHC President expressed thanks to all – and look forward to ongoing discussion and development.

Next Actions:

Ø      NAHC welcomes new Association members. Membership year commences on 1st July, and a Membership Application form is attached. Our future plans through to 2019 are achievable, provided there is ongoing community commitment: becoming a member is one way of showing your commitment.

Ø      Shire Officers and NAHC Executive members have already met to commence planning the community-based process of drafting the Master Plan – more information soon!

Ø      NAHC is in the process of developing an accessible and informative website – more information soon!

Ø      NAHC has great ideas, contacts, connections and energy as a result of your presence and participation on 17th May. Be assured we’ll make good use of these. Our Annual General Meeting will be on 18th November – we hope to see you there.


Membership of the Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre Inc. 

The Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre is working towards strengthening Nhill and surrounding districts. 

The purposes for the establishment of the Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre Incorporated association are:

·         To highlight the significant role of aviation in the ongoing development of Nhill

·         To research and record the history of the RAAF Air School at Nhill from 1941-1946 within the broader context of Nhill’s aviation and aerodrome history

·         To collect Air School artefacts to display in secure premises, and

·         To acquire and restore an Avro Anson aeroplane: leaving it as a legacy to this and future generations. 

Remarkable progress has been made in achieving these aims - notably the acquisition and ongoing restoration of the Avro Anson aeroplane, and the conduct of a very successful Fly-In event at the Nhill Aerodrome in October 2009 with attendance in excess of 2000 people.

The Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre Association is recognized by the Hindmarsh Shire Council as a valuable community organization. The Shire and the Association are currently involved in the development of a Nhill Aerodrome Master Plan.

A broad cross section of the Community is participating in NAHC initiated consultation, thereby influencing the future direction of the Association.  

 You are invited to take part in the NAHC decision making process by joining the Association as a financial member.

A verifiable and diverse financial membership base is necessary to substantiate the NAHC claim to community support. This is particularly important when grant applications are made to Local, State and Federal funding sources. 

Membership means shared ownership in an exciting venture. (See Purposes above.)

A financial member:

# is encouraged to take an active role in the Association

# attends the Annual General Meeting and has full voting rights.

# is eligible to nominate for the twelve-person Management Committee.

# is covered by insurance when taking part in NAHC endorsed activities.

# receives communications from the Management Committee at least twice per year by email newsletter or post, or by attending functions organized for that purpose. 

Membership of this valuable community organization shows your support for projects aimed at preserving the heritage of aviation in Nhill and surrounding districts, and helping the Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre to achieve its goal of increasing the usage and value of the Nhill Aerodrome – a community owned and irreplaceable asset, and the future home of the restored Avro Anson aeroplane. Membership is $30 a year payable in July. 

Persons wishing to become members please open the attachment with this newsletter. 

Acknowledgement of Support

It is important to acknowledge the generous support we have received from many different sources. Gifts of parts, loans of manuals and drawings and advice of items for sale are all appreciated. A large number of people are interested in this project and we certainly welcome any help they can offer.

Any reader of this newsletter who is travelling through Nhill is welcome to contact the NAHC by email and we will endeavour to arrange an inspection of the Avro.

A message to our supporters

Support comes in many forms including phone numbers and email addresses, contact details of former WWII trainees, parts for the Avro Anson and general memorabilia, photos etc. as well as donations of cash and labour. Although it is our intention to recognise and acknowledge this assistance through the newsletter, specific details will not be published.

New email addresses are constantly being added to our list. If you do not wish to be part of our group then please contact and make your request known. 

Persons who wish to make comment about the Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre or any other related issue should also contact Such comments may be published in future newsletters if considered appropriate.

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