Friday, March 27, 2009

Last one for now - Short Sandringham at Rose Bay

This is one of those "things" that I would guess most Sydney-siders wouldn't know - that Rose Bay was once Australia's primary airport for international travel. For many decades the most comfortable - and the safest - way to fly across oceans was via these big boats, or ones much like them. QANTAS, TEAL, Imperial Airways, Pan American: you name it, they relied on big flying boats to do the really long haul flights across water.

This Ansett service was to Lord Howe Island, ending in late '74 when a 'conventional' runway came into service on the island. Apart from Rose Bay there was also a major RAAF flying boat base at Rathmines on Lake Macquarie, less than 100 nautical miles north. International flights in the flying boat era also regularly touched down at such exotic locales as the Clarence River at Grafton...

Short Sandringham at Rose Bay

Another shot of what looks like Islander, on the hard-standing at what was once Australia's primary International Airport - Rose Bay, Sydney.

Short Sandringham at Rose Bay, 1974

This is one of 2 ex-Ansett Sandringhams prior to handover to Antilles Airboats in late 1974.

There were just 2 of these 'boats left in the end, plying the well-worn path to Lord Howe Island:

(1) 'BRC had the rounded nose of a more 'pure' Sandringham (even though it was a converted Sunderland) and was called 'Beachcomber', becoming N158C with Antilles Airboats in 1974. 'BRC is now landlocked, at Southampton, UK.

(2) 'BRF, named 'Islander', was a 'near-converted' Sunderland with a blunter nose. It's now landlocked at Miami, Florida.

I may not have taken this shot - I took a lot, but so did my late friend James Davidson, who had access to the Rose Bay base via his flight engineer father. James got me hooked onto black and white photography in the first place.