The Australian Aviation Hall of Fame’s (AAHOF) is seeking pubic help in its quest to find descendants of former long serving Department of Civil Aviation head Sir Donald Anderson.
Sir Donald was announced as one of the six newest inductees to the AAHOF during a function at Parliament House in Sydney on Wednesday night.
The class of 2015 to be admitted to the Hall of Fame at the official ceremony in Wagga Wagga on September 19 comprises Sir Donald, John Macknight, Henry Millicer, Harry Schneider, Sir Patrick Gordon Taylor and Charles Ulm.
AAHOF chairman Steve Padgett says relatives and descendants of all but Sir Donald have been located.
“Unfortunately we are struggling to find a relative for Sir Donald,” Padgett told guests at NSW Parliament House on Wednesday.
“So if anyone knows of the whereabouts of any relatives we would love to hear from you.”
A former RAAF pilot, Sir Donald served as the Director-General of Aviation Safety from 1956 to 1973. He then became a Qantas board member after stepping down as Director-General.
Among the other inductees, Millicer was the Polish-Austalian aircraft designer and pilot responsible for the Victa Airtourer, while Schneider and his father Edmund were behind the Kookaburra gliders of the 1950s and 1960s.
Sir Patrick was a prolific aviation author, penning eight books and was with Sir Charles Kingsford Smith on a King George V jubilee airmail flight in 1953 which struck trouble on the way to New Zealand. Sir Patrick saved the day by collecting oil from a damaged engine and transferring the oil to the other engine to ensure the flight could return safely to Sydney.
Ulm was a WWI veteran who was Sir Charles’ copilot when the pair crossed the Pacific Ocean in 1928. A Qantas Airbus A380 (VH-OQG) has been named in his honour.
And Macknight was awarded a medal of the order of Australia for his service to the aviation industry and the community in 2011, having founded his own airline in 1970 and made a significant contribution to rural aviation in Wagga Wagga and beyond as a founding member of the Regional Aviation Association of Australia.
“The awards represent those who have not only achieved incredible feats personally, but have also made outstanding contributions to the development of aviation and the fabric of Australian life,” Padgett said.
Meanwhile, the AAHOF also announced its Southern Cross award for an institution would go to the Temora Aviation Museum in 2015.
Wagga Wagga mayor Rod Kendall said he was hopeful the Hall of Fame would soon move beyond its virtual presence via the aahof.com.au website and come to life at the city’s local airport.
Kendall said the council’s plans for a physical display as part of its submission to upgrade the airport had reached the final stage of consideration under the regional tourism and infrastructure fund.
The submission calls for an electronic display wall so that the Hall of Fame “can start to have a real and ongoing physical presence”.
“The display will include an electric and static display for inductees and other pieces of significance that AAHOF wish to display,” Kendall said.
Kendall said the council was working with AAHOF to display a full-sized replica of the first Australian designed and flown aircraft, which was built and flown by John Duigan, within the airport terminal.
The replica was expected to be finished in time for the 2015 AAHOF induction dinner in September.
There were also plans for a larger terminal and improvements to taxiways to improve the operation of the airport.
Anyone who can help get in touch with Sir Donald’s descendants is asked to contact the AAHOF via its website.