GREAT CHARLEVILLE ANSON RECOVERY
THE UNQUALIFIED, HAVE BEEN DOING THE IMPROBABLE FOR SO LONG,
WITH SO LITTLE, THAT WE NOW ATTEMPT THE IMPOSSIBLE WITH
REV. MICHAEL STEVENSON
Ken, Mike and Dave departed Brisbane in the borrowed Dyna
at 9.40am arriving at "Dundee" station at 2.30p.m. the following
day. They travelled 426 miles at an average speed of 29.7
Set up camp and retired, having been on the road for 16
hours 20 minutes.
Organized camp and checked out bore water supply. All loose
components were collected from the ground under the aeroplane.
The bomb bay doors and the port wing root fairing were removed.
Dismantling continued with the removal of all metal and.
associated woodwork from port engine. The remaining tailplane
components were also removed.
For safety reasons, the aircraft was supported under the
main spar. All plywood formers were removed from the fuselage,
photographed and packed. Three noisy visitors (Bill, Greg
and Cliff) arrived at 7.00p.m.
Greg, Cliff and Bill removed all panels from the starboard
engine while Dave, Mike and Ken continued removal and photographing
of fuselage formers which were packed for transport.. The
aircraft was jacked from the prop hubs and spars. Highlight
of the expedition was the discovery of a hot artesian bore
some five miles from the camp site. This bore boasted the
luxury of a bath tub! For all you artesian bore enthusiasts,
the bore was sunk in 1910 when it was capable of delivering
one million gallons per day. (Editor's note: The official
log from which this is being compiled indicates that day
6 climaxed with a group wash at the bore. This should not
necessarily be construed as the inaugural ablutions.) Long
distance ablutions are boring.
The oil coolers and various underfloor components were removed.
After lunch, lowering of the aircraft began by alternately
jacking and propping the mainspar and engines with logs
cut from local trees (dead trees - conservationists please
The lowering of the aircraft was completed. After lunch,
the undercarriage operating chains were removed from the
front face of the mainspar. The badly decayed spars were
cut and the fuselage moved clear. The hired semi-trailer
with Noel, Geoff and Michael arrived in company with Al
Gerber's tow-truck at 7.00p.m. In fact the tow-truck had
travelled most of the distance ON the semi.
Using an extension jib on the tow-truck, the fuselage was
loaded on the semi together with the engines. After lunch,
Al and Michael left. Remaining components were loaded on
the semi which left Dundee at 6.00p.m. with Noel, Geoff
and Cliff. On arrival at Morven it was discovered that one
of the cowlings had fallen off the truck. Fortunately, Geoff
was friendly with the local constabulary who assisted in
the apprehension of the escaped cowl.
Mike, Bill, Greg, Dave and Ken broke camp and lett Dundee
at 2.45p.m.. The Dyna broke down 7 miles from Morven necessitating
an overnight stay. The semi arrived at the wool store at
12.15p.m. to be unloaded by several other volunteers. The
event was recorded by Channel Seven. Surprise visitor was
Mr. Max Bushell who owned Dundee station when the Anson
was flown in. Mr. Bushell had kindly relinquished any claim
to the aircraft which facilitated its donation to QAM by
the current owners of Dundee, the Bell Brothers. (For the
record, the Anson was flown from Archerfield to Dundee on
20th January 1959. Pilots were Bob Carswell and Keith Virtue.
This information is confirmed by Keith Virtue's logbook
although, curiously, the registration is shown as "VH-BIZ?".
Mr. Bushell was under the impression that the aircraft was
VH-BIE although photographs recently supplied by Mr. Bushell
indicate that the Anson was VH-BIF. This is where the plot
thickens as BIE, BIF and BIZ were all Ansons owned by Bob
Carswell and BIE and BIF were thought to have been laid
to rest elsewhere. Although the airframe has yet to yield
its identity, available photos clearly show the aircraft
The Dyna was repaired and Mike, Dave and Ken left Morven
at 1.45p.m. Greg and Bill camped in Miles overnight. Mike,
Ken and Dave spent the night with Dave's parents in Taroom.
En route they picked up a piece of roadside wreckage which
looked. suspiciously like part of an Anson.
Mike and Ken left Taroom at 6.00a.m. and met up with Bill
and Greg in Miles at 8.30a.m. They left Miles at 10.30a.m.
and arrived in Brisbane at 4.30p.m. bringing to a close
a very successful operation.
Charleville Anson, together with the Ansons from Al Gerber's
are now safely stored in the wool shed. Our corner has been
fenced off with wire, the purchase of which was organized
by Brian O'Brien.
this recovery was a team effort, special mention must be
made of the contributions of several non-members who came
forward when they were needed most. Particular thanks are
due to Noel Finlay for driving the semi and to Al Gerber
for making his truck available. Of course we must not forget
the Bell Brothers for donating the aeroplane in the first
place. Recent news reports that Charleville is flood-bound
serve to indicate the level of careful planning which made
this expedition an unqualified success. Well done everyone!