July 1 2013 UPDATE – See this PDF for latest news – Newsletter 2

June 1 2013 – UPDATE -Two members of the Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Trust Catalina recovery team have returned to San Juan, to proceed with further work to recover their recently purchased Catalina PBY 5A , proposed for static display at the Heritage listed WW2 Rathmines RAAF Sea Plane base at Lake Macquarie, NSW. Weather conditions at present are not very helpful, but it is hoped that a hangar will be made available on site in San Juan soon, so as work can be carried out regardless. A third member will also fly across this week to assist. A bee hive had made its home in the tail plane assembly, causing quite a bit of angst, and delay, but this has now been removed, and work should be able to proceed without further anxiety. It is hoped that all preparation work for crating and eventual shipping to Australia will be completed within the next 6-8 weeks, weather and labour permitting.Contact has been made with local shipping providers for advice, quotations and arrangements to transport to Australia as deck cargo. This has been done with valuable support & assistance from agents here in Australia.


25th April, 2013

A former RAAF WW2 base i have traveled to and visited 2 times, located north of Sydney, is now in the early stages of becoming a state and world wide tourist attraction, with the first stage underway of making a museum on the site now swinging into action.

I am humbled and proud to release to warbird and aviation enthusiast around the world, an exclusive press release, detailing the efforts of a group of hard volunteers who are achieving results in seeking to preserve important RAAF WW2 history on the NSW Central Coast.

The Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Trust have purchased a static PBY-5a Catalina for the future museum / hangar which will be built at the former RAAF Rathmines base. This aircraft will hopefully also complement the Catalina Flying Memorial Limited aircraft which will be based on site. Currently the CFML aircraft is  undergoing repairs back to flight status at Bankstown Airport, Sydney.

Please read press release and photos shown below.

Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Trust

Patron Mr. Gregory Piper MP

ABN: 23 400 220 598


Mr. Robert Furner

Mr. William Mitchell

Mr. John Richard


Mrs. Penny Furner (nee Wearne)

3 Whitelock St, Carey Bay

NSW 2283

Ph: (02) 49 504030  

Mob: 0438 1946 11

Email: pennyfurner@gmail.com


A long-held dream to have an historic Catalina Flying Boat permanently displayed on the site of the World War II air base at Rathmines is a step closer to fruition following the purchase of a disused aircraft by the Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Trust. The Trust sourced the rare Catalina PBY-5A aircraft in Puerto Rico after a seven-year search. The purchase was confirmed this week and the aircraft is expected to arrive later this year, after being dismantled and shipped to Australia. The Catalina will become one of the key attractions of a hangar-style museum planned for the heritage-listed lakeside memorial park at Rathmines.

It is intended to be the museum’s centrepiece static exhibit, complementing the operational Catalina VH-CAT. VH-CAT, a PBY-6A Catalina brought to Australia from Portugal in 2008, is owned by a private consortium, Catalina Flying Memorial Ltd, and is currently being restored to flying condition in Sydney. Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Trust Registrar Penny Furner said the purchase of the Catalina PBY-5A was a real coup. “This is very exciting – Catalinas are very hard to come by and this is one of the models that flew out of Rathmines during the war,” she said. “It will make a marvellous static display for our proposed museum and will boost our efforts to secure government support for the project. We want to build a fitting home for VH-CAT and the PBY-5A so anyone interested in wartime history or aviation can come and see these wonderful old aircraft first-hand.” The PBY-5A Catalina was paid for with money raised by the Trust through donations and community events such as the annual Rathmines Catalina Festival. The former RAAF site at Rathmines has a colourful history. It was the largest seaplane base in the southern hemisphere during World War II and was of vital strategic importance to the Allied war effort. Two representative’s are currently in Puerto Rico arranging the preparation of the Flying Boat for transport to Australia.

For more information, contact Penny Furner on 0438 194 611 or at pennyfurner@gmail.com

Shown below are photos of the Catalina in Puerto Rico as it is currently prior to being shipped to Australia.


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