The flying boat base at Rose Bay was Australia's first international airport. It was chosen 'primarily because it was a large bay with calm water located close to the city'. (Sydney Living Museums website).
|Rose Bay Flying Boat Base 1939|
The Minister for Defence and Civil Aviation, Mr Thorby, will speak, followed by the Post-Master General, Senator McLachlan who will hand to the Acting Governor-General, Lord Huntingfield, a special bag in which letters to the King, the British Prime Minister, and the British Post Master will be placed.
After a number of speeches Lord Huntingfield will hand the mail bag to the commander of the flying-boat, Camilla, Captain Lester J Brain. The Camilla will be moored as close inshore as weather conditions will permit and will be connected to the shore with a red, white, and blue ribbon, which will be severed by Lord Huntingfield.
When the Camilla takes off for Brisbane it will have an escort of planes from the Royal Aero Club of New South Wales. The flying-boat Camilla will depart from Rose Bay to-day about noon, instead of tomorrow at 7 am. The Camilla will carry two passengers for London, one for Singapore, one for Penang, one for Darwin, one for Groot Eylandt, and two for Brisbane. It will also take 150lb of freight, and some mails. The remainder of the British and foreign mails will be sent by air to Darwin, by way of Adelaide. The Camilla will not leave Darwin for Koepang until Sunday.
|View of Rose Bay base c1938. Note swimming pool on right.|
|Daily Commercial News and Shipping List 6 July 1938|
|Flying boats of Australia|
During the Second World War flights to and from England were suspended in 1942 and flying boats were requisitioned for service in the Australian Airforce.
It was not until 18 May 1946 that the passenger flying boat service to London resumed. In 1955 Qantas discontinued its flying boat service. Ansett Airways purchased the flying boats to fly passengers to Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island, a service that continued until 1974.
References and further information:
There is much of information online about the flying boats and the base at Rose Bay. Four websites are listed below.
Airways Museum - Rose Bay flying boat base - There is much useful information on this site but not easy to navigate
Australia Government - About Australia - Flying boats of Australia
Dictionary of Sydney - Rose Bay Airport
Sydney Living Museums - Flying boats: Sydney's Golden Age of Aviation