Aviation History - Books by AHSA Members

The AHSA supports and encourages the publication of books on Australian aviation history by its members. Below is a selection of these books. Details for purchasing the books are listed with the description of each book. The list below is by publication date, with the most recent releases at the top of the page.


Bindaloo Air cover image

Bindaloo Air

by Brian George
An illustrated children’s poem

Written and illustrated by AHSA member Brian George. One of a series about the small country town of Bindaloo, it describes aircraft construction and conversion from military to a commercial airliner. Details of airline services and maintenance are outlined as are the shortcomings of hiring a barnstormer as chief pilot.

The books are designed for children aged 8 to 11 or any adult keen to encourage reading. They also include a quiz at the end to test the reader’s attentiveness.

Priced at $15.00 each. Other titles include:
Bindaloo Gold
Bindaloo Rail
Bindaloo Ghost
Bindaloo River
Bindaloo School
Bindaloo Beach

Published 2014

To order a copy, contact the author by phone on (03) 9467 1534 or via email on chrisjogeorge@bigpond.com


Australia @ cover image

Australia @ War

by Peter Dunn
A digital publication supplied on a USB memory stick

The “Australia @ War” USB Memory Stick will amaze you with the amount of historical information and rare photographs regarding military activities in Australia during WWII.

Learn about your relative’s military role in Australia during WWII

Discover the unknown history of Allied Army, Navy and Air Force Units in Australia during WWII

You will be amazed at the number of military aircraft crashes in Australia during WWII

Find out about long forgotten places such as military airfields, camps, bunkers etc in Australia during WWII

Learn about events such as the Japanese bombing raids and submarine attacks in Australian waters

View numerous never-before-seen photographs from WWII - many of which are not available on the website

Click here to go to the “Australia @ War” website for details about how to order

Published in 2014


Ten Journeys to Camerons Farm cover image

Ten Journeys to Cameron’s Farm

by Cameron Hazlehurst
The crash of Hudson A16-97: An Australian tragedy

‘In the whole history of government in Australia, this was the most devastating tragedy.’

Three decades after what he called ‘a dreadful air crash, almost within sight of my windows’ Robert Menzies wrote ‘I shall never forget that terrible hour; I felt that for me the end of the world had come’

“Ten Journeys to Cameron’s Farm” tells the lives of the ten men who perished on Duncan Cameron’s Canberra property on 13 August 1940: three Cabinet ministers (Geoff Street, Jim Fairbairn, and Sir Harry Gullett), the Chief of the General Staff (Sir Brudenell White), two senior staff members, and the RAAF crew of four.

The inquiries into the accident, and the aftermath for the Air Force, government, and bereaved families are examined. Controversial allegations are probed: did the pilot F/Lt Bob Hitchcock cause the crash or was the Minister for Air Jim Fairbairn at the controls?

The book is based on over 30 years research in official archives, private papers, and interviews with surviving RAAF officers, family, friends, and colleagues of the victims. Pre-war and early wartime RAAF organisation, recruitment, pilot training, and accident prevention and investigation are examined. Previously unexplored personal histories and policy conflicts in the higher echelons of the Service add rich incidental detail to a compelling story.

Click here to go to the ANU e-Press website to download an eBook or PDF version (scroll down to the bottom of the page).

Click to go to the Co-Op Bookshop to order a printed copy.

Published November 2103

ISBN-13 978-1925021004 (print)

ISBN-13 978-1925021011 (eBook)


Australian Eagles cover image

Australian Eagles

by Kristen Alexander
Australian pilots in the Battle of Britain

“Australian Eagles” tells the stories of five Australian pilots and one adopted Australian who successfully defended Britain against the Luftwaffe onslaught. They rank among the nearly 3,000 men known as The Few. Heroes all who faced death daily;

Jack Kennedy of Sydney (Spitfire and Hurricane pilot of 238 Squadron)

Dick Glyde of Perth (Hurricane pilot of 87 Squadron)

Tasmanian Stuart Walch (Hurricane pilot of 238 Squadron)

Des Sheen of Canberra (Spitfire pilot of 72 Squadron)

John Crossman of Newcastle (Hurricane pilot of 46 Squadron), and

English-born James Coward who retired to Canberra (Spitfire pilot of 19 Squadron)

Three of the Australian Eagles were trained by the RAAF at Point Cook. One escaped death three times, one lost his leg, and four died.

Kristen Alexander vividly describes their training, combat and victories. She sensitively explores the impact of their achievements and loss on those who loved them. She also covers how they are remembered, more than 70 years after their great aerial battles.

Click here to go to Kristen’s website for details about how to order.

ISBN-13 978-0987414229


Finished With Engines cover image

Finished With Engines

by Colin Lock
Qantas longhaul flight engineers 1941 – 2009

When Qantas’ last Boeing 747-338 VH-EBV departed Sydney on 20 January 2009 a 67-year association between Qantas and flight engineers departed with it. This book recalls the story of that sometimes difficult association and gives details of all the men who proudly wore the purple and gold epaulettes in those years.

Although primarily concerned with the rise and demise of the flight engineer’s position within Qantas, a substantial amount of Qantas history is covered in the book. Also included are short biographies on each of the 500 flight engineers who flew with Qantas.

The book has 360 A4 pages with 60 mainly B&W images, and includes an index.

To order a copy, contact the author via email on qffeo@yahoo.com.au or write to ‘Book’ PO Box 1, Cronulla, NSW, 2230. The book retails for A$25 plus P&H.

ISBN-10 0646581562

ISBN-13 978-0646581569


The Purple Stripe cover image

The Purple Stripe

by Brian L. Hill
A history of Flight Engineers in Australia

While the publication is essentially about FEOs, an enormous amount of material has been woven into the book to ensure that the Flight Engineer’s role is seen in the wider context of the Australian Airline Industry.

A brief history of each operator who used FEOs has been included, as well as the history of each type and why it was purchased. A brief technical description of the main FEO types is also provided. An extensive array of photographs, 3-view drawings, a large Glossary/Abbreviations section and a generous Index, complete a comprehensive history of not only Flight Engineers, but the Airline Industry in general.

The author takes the reader through the ‘warts and all’ aspects of the formation of the union and the fights that developed to keep the FEO as part of the crew. The historical Presidential Task Force in the US is covered as is the 1989 Pilot’s Dispute in Australia - the latter as seen by the AAFEA, who tried to bring the parties together.

At almost 900 pages and with more than 150 photographs, the Purple Stripe provides a valuable insight into many aspects of Australian aviation that have been either forgotten or misunderstood. While the role of the Flight Engineer is generally regarded as secondary to that of the pilot, they never-the-less performed a valuable role in an exemplary manner for more than 50 years. It is believed that this book will provide a valuable research source for those interested in Australian aviation.

Click here to go to the Southern Cross Publications website to order a copy.

ISBN-13 978-0987445506


Flyers of Time cover image

Flyers of Time

by Kevin O'Reilly
Winner of the Victorian Community History Awards 2013 award for Local History

This collection of aviation reportings, documents and photographs began as the result of Kevin’s interest in recording the story of the World War II RAAF Base at Nhill in western Victoria. This was the town of his youth and he recalls the drone of radial engines over his home, and like most of the young boys of the town, longed for the day he could fly to the clouds like the Air Force boys. Unfortunately, circumstances never came his way to indulge this dream and apart from completing his National Service in the RAAF, Kevin remained mostly on the ground, still dreaming and looking skywards.

In Kevin’s research, he became impressed by the enthusiastic reporting of Fred McKenzie of the “Nhill Free Press”, who faithfully recorded aircraft comings and goings from the first aeroplane visit in 1919 until his passing in 1943. As most researchers will agree, it is hard not to explore every line of enquiry to its end and Kevin trusts that readers will be forgiving for the number of times Nhill is mentioned in this publication. During the 1920s, there were few aeroplanes with a range that would enable them to fly between capital cities without stopping to refuel. On flights between Melbourne and Sydney the refuel point was usually Cootamundra, NSW. Between Melbourne and Adelaide, the town of Nhill was almost exactly half-way and almost on the lay line for ease of navigation, with a prominent wheat silo and rail line with relatively flat surroundings, it became a logical “perch” for aircraft. Local town fathers were quick to seize on this fact and embraced the possibilities of a potential new asset.

“Flyers of Time” concerns itself with aviation in country Victoria and the Riverina and largely excludes that from around Melbourne, Geelong and the RAAF. Inclusion of this material would have been at the expense of “bush” reports. Many of the black and white photographs included are regrettably of poor quality but better than nothing and are included for historical significance. In selecting a title for this book, Kevin’s mind kept returning to one of his favourite Victorian State histories, “Riders of Time” by Dame Mabel Brookes - Kevin is sure she would not have disapproved of him borrowing from it.

Click here to go to the Flyers of Time website for details about how to order.

ISBN-13 978-0-646-57767-8


From Controversy to Cutting Edge cover image

From Controversy to Cutting Edge

by Mark Lax
A history of the F-111 in Australian service

The F-111 is unique among the aircraft that the Royal Australian Air Force has operated throughout its history. Never before has one type had such a profound impact not only on the RAAF, but upon Australia’s strategic policy outlook.

From the moment it was ordered, however, the F-111 would be shrouded in controversy. Cost blow-outs, delivery delays, technical problems and an undeserved poor reputation meant that the aircraft’s place in the frontline of Australia’s defence would be continually challenged. Despite the barbs, the aircraft survived to fly in Australia for nearly 40 years—a clear testimony to the skill and dedication of the men and women who flew, maintained and supplied it.

Now, as this amazing aircraft departs from service, its story has finally been told with full access to the range of official records regarding its acquisition and operation. The politics spanning fifty years of air force history, the controversies, and that media drama, have all been faithfully and unflinchingly described.

Loved by the public, decried by armchair strategists, the F-111 has at last found its place in Australia’s rich military history.

Click here to go to the RAAF Air Power Development Centre for details about how to order or download a copy.

ISBN-13 978-1-920800-54-3


Jack Davenport Beaufighter Leader cover image

Jack Davenport Beaufighter Leader

by Kristen Alexander

Flying Hampdens and Beaufighters, Wing Commander Jack Davenport AC DSO DFC* GM served two tours with 455 Squadron RAAF.

Perceptive, sympathetic, and with Alexander’s hallmark blend of sound research and enlightening anecdote, “Jack Davenport, Beaufighter Leader” charts Jack’s development from his depression-era childhood, to the green pilot who had difficulties locating the target on his first Bomber Command operations, through to the superb pilot who led 455 Squadron on successful strikes against German shipping and the cool and resourceful planner of Coastal Command operations in the latter months of the war.

“Jack Davenport, Beaufighter Leader” recounts the life of an Australian hero. Jack saved the lives of his crew from a near-fatal spin and rescued a pilot from a blazing aircraft; he flew close to well-armed enemy vessels to drop his torpedoes; and led large formations in the narrow confines of the Norwegian fjords to successfully attack enemy shipping. But there is more to heroism than just courage and brave deeds; Jack’s career also encompassed the heroism of conviction, duty, responsibility and dedication to service.

Click here to go to Kristen’s website for details about how to order.

ISBN-10 1741757762

ISBN-13 978-1741757767


Australian Built Aircraft and The Industry Volume 1 Book 1 cover image

Australian Built Aircraft and the Industry Volume 1

by Keith Meggs
Covering the period 1884 - 1939

This is the first volume of an encyclopeadic four-volume work on every aircraft type proposed, designed or manufactured in Australia from 1884 to the mid-1980s.

Exhaustively researched over the past 40 years by the well-known aviation personality Keith Meggs, a man uniquely qualified to write on all aspects of Australian aviation from construction through to operational flight.

The four volumes in the series cover every known powered aircraft designed or built in Australia, from Lawrence Hargrave’s experiments in the 1880s through to ultra-light aircraft in the mid-1980s. The work lists over 540 aircraft types as well as detailed histories of the companies involved in their construction. Coverage is multi-faceted, being: technical, operational, historical, industrial, sociological, biographical and political.

Each volume contains the most comprehensive collection of photographs, technical drawings and diagrams yet assembled into the one reference work, many of which have never been seen outside the original source.

All volumes are superbly indexed and cross-referenced with the main text reinforced by extensive and detailed endnotes.

The fourteen chapters in Volume One cover the following activities:



The Commonwealth Prize

Early Experimenters


World War One activity

Australian Aircraft & Engineering Company

The 1924 Lightplane Competition

Larkin Aircraft Supply Company


West Australian Airways

RAAF Randwick Experimental Station

Individual Builders 1918–1939

Aircraft Manufacturing and Supply Company

Munitions Supply Board

Matthews Aviation

General Aircraft Co

Cockatoo Dockyard

Tugan Aircraft

Harkness & Hillier

de Havilland Australia (Part 1)

Industry Proposals and other snippets.

Copies of Volume One (including Book 1 and Book 2) are still available. Click here to go to the Australian Built Aircraft website for details about how to order. You can also contact Echelon Starboard Publishing by emailing contact@australianbuiltaircraft.com.au.

ISBN-13 978-1920892777


In Just Five Years cover image

In Just Five Years

by Kevin O'Reilly
The RAAF & NHILL in World War II (1941 - 1946)

With Europe descending again into the depths of war in 1939, Australia was again called upon to play its part in the defence of the Empire. The RAAF mobilised and training bases were built in all parts of the country, trainee aircrew were enlisted under the EATS (Empire Air Training Scheme), initially to defend Britain, but with the Japanese invasion of Asia, a new urgency dictated that additional airmen be now concerned with the defence of Australia itself.

The Base at Nhill was to train Observers (Navigators) initially and this proceeded for more than two years before RAAF restructure saw it change late in 1943 to train in Air Armament Weaponry which included gunnery, bombing and chemical warfare. More than 10,000 personnel either taught or were trained at RAAF – Nhill, from its beginning in 1941 to its closure as a training base in 1945 and we know that many would pay the ultimate price in the defence of our country. The airmen and airwomen were closely involved in town sport, social and Church activities. The Base had its own entertainment unit and raised money throughout the Wimmera region by putting on concerts and revues in various town venues and by running fortnightly dances at the Base. It was widely known as a happy Base and many lifelong friendships were made with the local citizens who did their utmost to assist and entertain the personnel in difficult times.

This is a collection of articles, documents, reminiscences and photographs which should be kept accessible for historical purposes.

Click here to go to the Flyers of Time website for details about how to order.

ISBN-13 978-0646512983


Clive Caldwell Air Ace cover image

Clive Caldwell Air Ace

by Kristen Alexander

Clive Caldwell was officially attributed with 27½ victories and became Australia’s highest scoring fighter pilot in World War II. In addition, he became an Ace in both the Middle East and Pacific theatres - the only Australian pilot to attain this status.

He served with 250 Squadron RAF, 112 Squadron RAF and 1 Fighter Wing RAAF and scored with all of these formations. He commanded 80 Fighter Wing but was not able to increase his score.

Alexander has had unrivalled access to Caldwell’s personal papers as well as official and privately held records. She vividly brings to life Caldwell’s aerial exploits and presents a man driven to carry out his duty.

Originally considered an individualist, Caldwell became a fine fighter pilot and a dedicated leader, much loved by those he commanded. He did not wear the restrictions of the RAAF well and, despite his achievements, endured public inquiry over liquor trading and the so-called Morotai Mutiny. Even so, he continued to be well-regarded and respected by the public.

This well-researched biography is a celebration of Caldwell’s military achievements. It details his rise from a green fighter pilot to Wing leader and includes striking details of his air battles. It also includes unprecedented discussion of the Barry Inquiry and Caldwell’s court-martial.

Click here to go to Kristen’s website for details about how to order.

ISBN-13 978-1741147056


Airmen I Have Met cover image

Airmen I Have Met

by Derrick Rolland

A fascinating collection of sixteen biographies of airmen known to the author.

Twelve of them served in World War II, others saw service in the Korean war, the Malaysian emergency, the Vietnam war and in the Antarctic. One was a prisonor of the Japanese, another of the Germans.

The book is 190 pages and illustrated with 99 photographs (12 in colour) and includes various indexes and a bibliography.

Copies can be ordered from the author – Derrick Rolland, 6 Alpine View Avenue, Bright, VIC 3741 for A$30 posted in Australia. Contact the author on email at drolland@netc.net.au for more details.

ISBN-10 0957751206


Aerial Agriculture in Australia cover image

Aerial Agriculture in Australia

by Derrick Rolland
A history of the use of aircraft in Agriculture and Forestry in Australia

Written in conjunction with the Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia, “Aerial Agriculture in Australia” is a rich description of the role that aircraft have played in agriculture over a period of more than sixty years.

Rolland describes the development of aerial agriculture, providing details on the companies involved in the industry, the many personalities involved and the different types of aircraft used.

The book is 230 pages and illustrated with 179 photographs (34 in colour) and includes various indexes and a bibliography.

Copies can be ordered from the author – Derrick Rolland, 6 Alpine View Avenue, Bright, VIC 3741 for A$30 posted in Australia. Contact the author on email at drolland@netc.net.au for more details.

ISBN-13 978-0646248400