Aerobatics for anniversary

THRILLING: The RAAF Roulettes aerobatic team delighted the crowd with their heroics.

THRILLING: The RAAF Roulettes aerobatic team delighted the crowd with their heroics.

AERIAL wizardry enthralled and delighted a crowd of around 8000 at Lake Boga during the weekend.

Missing from the 75th anniversary celebrations of the establishment of the wartime Lake Boga Flying Boat Depot was an equally historic "Black Cat" Catalina aircraft, but other aerial manoeuvres over the lake kept the crowd satisfied.

Lake Boga was an integral part of allied defence during World War Two with more than 400 amphibious aircraft repaired and serviced at the No.1 depot.

Following the Japanese attacks on Broome in 1942, resulting in the loss of 16 flying boats, the establishment of a safe haven for flying boats and amphibians was deemed "essential to the defence of Australia" and the search was then on for a southern inland location.

Lake Boga and Kangaroo Lake were inspected. Lake Boga was the preferred site as it was an ideal stretch of water for the flying boats and amphibious aircraft because it was almost circular and free of obstructions.

Heavy rain in New South Wales prevented the proposed flight of the "Black Cat", but the Royal Australian Air Force aerobatic Roulettes team presented a thrilling display of formation flying capabilities.

Museum manager, Daryl Allen said that weather conditions meant that it was too unsafe for the "Black Cat" to fly to Lake Boga.

"The plane is about 75 years old and so is the pilot, so it was just too unsafe," he said.

A small group of elderly former veterans were special guests at the celebrations.

It was also a home-coming of sorts for the RAAF chief, Air Marshall Leo Davies, AO, CSC, who was born at Kerang.

The idea of building a memorial to the service men and women who had been stationed at the No.1 Flying Boat Repair Depot at Lake Boga was first discussed by a few local Lions Club of Lake Boga members over a few beers at the local pub in 1983.

It is now one of the most popular attractions in the district.

A major feature is a restored Catalina PBY5, which is housed in a modern hangar.

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