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BPA Newsletter - Feb 2008
Friday, 01 February 2008


  • Roadworks
  • Swimmingly
  • Editorial
  • Recent Development Application
  • News Clips
  • Catalina A24-96 and Skipper Ron Harrigan



The AGM and the election of office bearers will take place prior to the general meeting.

Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting and join us for afternoon tea at its conclusion.

Please note: All other monthly general meetings are held on the last Tuesday of the month at the Community Centre Hall at 7.30 PM (no meeting in December)


"The repairs to Sir Bertram Stevens Drive are proceeding well with minimal disruption. However, the long straight section just past the top of Artillery Hill has been bi-passed, so we hope that this section is to be ripped up and completely re-sealed. It is the worst part of the road and many cars move to the other side of the road to avoid the rough surface."

This comment was in the February 2007 issue of the newsletter. Since that time, more sections of the road have been re-surfaced. Some parts have been done twice as the first attempts failed. The worst section mentioned in the paragraph above still has not been repaired.  On one occasion, a police car was seen to cross the double lines to avoid the rough section. The association has had numerous contacts with the RTA, drawing their attention to this bad section, all to no avail.


Bundeena's own 'Harold Holt Swim Club' has been granted $916 for an underwater camera. Images will provide education, interest & information to the community & marine authorities, about the marine environments health, life & vegetation.

This grant will help in community building, health & fitness, & environmental interest & awareness.

Bundeena Bowling Club generously co-operated with the Harold Holt Swim Club as sponsor for this application. It is a good example of joint community action. Sutherland Shire Council provided excellent guidance for the submission.

See http://bundeenainfo.com/ for HHSC details & all about Bundeena.

In recent correspondence to Alan Petersen, council wrote:

Congratulations on being successful for a small community grant to the value of $916 to purchase an underwater camera for the use of the Harold Holt swim club. There will be a formal presentation by the Mayor of your cheque on March 6th 3.00pm at Council Chambers.

A big thankyou to local Dr. Jilian Nichols, for providing a quality medical service for Bundeena and Maianbar. A most welcome service for our community.

Recent Development Application

The Development proposal for 42-44 Brighton St has been submitted to council for re-determination. Amendments have been made to address issues which were grounds for council's previous refusal.

Changes include:

  • provision for two mechanical car stackers
  • an easement over the adjoining property to allow room for vehicles to reverse out of the parking spaces. This will necessitate reversing across the shared pedestrian pathway which runs from the rear adjacent development to Brighton St.
  • floor levels have been lowered

Art of Living Festival 7th to 9th March

  • Art show all weekend at the Community Hall
  • Sunday_ workshops, music, market stalls
  • Planned for Saturday night, youth bands at Club Bundee

Get well wishes for Dorothea Dirks who has recently been in Sutherland Hospital for major surgery. She is now a slimmer model, but is recovering well and looking much brighter. Many good Bundeena friends and neighbours have rallied to assist her at home.
Clr Bob Spencer is steadily improving at Kareena Hospital after suffering a severe stroke while on holiday in England. He hopes to be home in Bundeena soon. We look forward to having Bob at our Progress Meetings again as soon as he is able to come.

Latest News.

Bob is home in Bundeena and is doing very well. There are professional people in Bundeena who can provide the services that he now needs. It is certainly a great place to live.

News Clips

Volunteers Needed on Tuesdays

Gunyah View Day Club meets at Bundeena RSL at 10AM - 2PM. On Tuesdays. Older residents enjoy lunch, entertainment, outings and friendship. Volunteers are welcome to assist with these activities on all or some Tuesdays. Enquiry's: 9527 5181

Our deepest sympathy to relatives and friends of Bundeena residents Ted Constable, Amanda Marks and Alan Sykes who recently passed away.

The dredge has gone from Port Hacking, but we are told that the channel which the ferry uses is still very narrow and no dredging was done near the Bundeena wharf. Dredging is an expensive operation and $250,000 does not go a long way. Perhaps next time......

Bill the Bike Man has moved on from repairing push bikes to greater heights. He is making magpies, cockatoos and flying pigs. These are meticulously crafted, as is only to be expected from Bill, who is the ultimate perfectionist. All have revolving wings and swing round with the wind. For more info or to purchase one, ring Bill on 9523 8577

There will be a fund raiser for  Medical Centre equipment on Sunday 2 March, 9AM in the Catholic Church grounds. Donations of saleable goods may be left at  the Doctor's surgery.

If nature is kind there will be an abundance of freshly picked, organically grown, unsprayed Jonathon Apples on sale. Be early!

Catalina A24-96 and Skipper Ron Harrigan

I received the email below last week from a National Service friend of mine. It brought back many memories of Rathmines Flying Boat Base and of those who flew Catalinas during WW11

"A NSW based organisation called Catalina Flying Memorial has acquired an ex. Portugal PBY-6A, and is now registered VH-CAT. This a/c has made 2 test flights, but is having both engines replaced, before the ferry flight to OZ. It will be based at Rathmines, and will operate from the lake. An application has been made for a hangar to house same."

I was stationed at Rathmines for the first part of my national service in 1956

During WW11 Rathmines was the largest wartime flying boat base in Australia, commissioned in 1939 and finally sold in 1962. Parts of it still remain and are heritage listed.

Kath Harrigan's husband, Ron, was the skipper of Catalina A24- 96. He was one of the brave aircrew who were taking the fight to the enemy in the Asia-Pacific theatre in WW11. The Cat's incredibly long range made it the ideal aircraft for dangerous missions way behind enemy lines. The Cat was slow and vulnerable and flew these forays at night.

The story of one of Skipper Ron Harrigan's missions is recorded in the book, CATs AT WAR. This was a mission where the Cat did not return. Thankfully, the crew did.

"The 14th January 1945, and Catalina A24-96 en route to Surabaya ploughs across the water, struggling to become airborne under a full load of aerial mines, fuel. and a crew of 9: that is (if you disregard the 2000lb overload) par for the course! Two minutes, two minutes thirty, two minutes thirty five,???..... "Power off Herb" "We'll never make it", from skipper Ron Harrigan to second pilot Herb Hough - "We'll have to go round again. These motors are gutless".

And go round again they did, this time on a slightly semi-circular course to lengthen the take off run for the Cat to finally stagger into the air, on this, the sixth mine-laying mission to Surabaya."

The weather was atrocious and the Cat was waddling along at 400ft near the island of Soemba, when the starboard engine failed. Ron frantically dumped mines and fuel and made a highly dangerous forced landing in the sea. The Cat survived the crash landing in the rough sea, but the radio transmitter was knocked out of action. Some hours later, with great relief, the radio operator reported that it was serviceable again and the SOS had been picked up by RAAF Fenton in the NT. All night the Cat wallowed and bumped. The crew had nothing to do but wait and hope-that the aircraft would stay afloat, the Japs stayed at home, the calculated position was accurate and the seas permitted a Catalina to land and take them off. Their hopes were fulfilled.

Catalina A24-60 found them, landed in the seas and successfully transferred all of the crew. Cat 96 was then machine gunned and the aircraft blew up. It could not be allowed to fall into enemy hands.

"She'll take no more to fight the war

To ditch in darkest pitch

We left her 'light and sinking fast

She's had it - Ninety Six"

"The crew of "96" celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of that forced landing, at Rathmines on 14th

January 1995, so far as this was possible. Ron Harrigan, to whom we owed so much for his brilliant airmanship on that night, had died in December 1987"

Neil deNett

CATs at War
By Coral Gaunt and Robert Cleworth
Grateful thanks to Kath Harrigan

 Note: Material distributed together with this newsletter is not endorsed by Bundeena Progress Association unless so stated

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