Friday, 12 June 2015

Joy Flights

When World War One pilots returned from the war they were faced with the challenge of what they would do now. What does a skilled pilot do, when peace once more rules the skies? They had been used to evading German shells and snipers, giving them valuable flying skills and experience. The challenge was how they could use what they had gained in the war now that they were back home.

For some pilots, the answer was to travel the countryside, offering joy flights to townsfolk. This happened in Campbelltown in the 1920s.

Below are two photographs that show planes landing at Campbelltown locations. The first one is of a light plane that has landed on the flats near "Hollylea" at Leumeah. The one below is another one landed between the railway line and Queen Street shops in 1923. Apparently the pilot offered joy flights at 30 shillings (3 dollars) a time.

Crowds of onlookers would crowd around these aircraft. Imagine the excitement and curiosity of the locals. They mightn't have been able to afford the flight but the thrill of watching one in action was probably enough!

In the 1970s Marjorie Triglone was interviewed about her childhood memories. She spoke about a plane landing over the other side of the railway. "Everybody was frightened to go. They offered two of the pupils, one girl and one boy, a free flight if they would go up. They wouldn't tell them if they had to loop or what they were going to do. My brother was always the adventurous type and he was chosen. Everyone was out looking at this plane. My mother was out looking, little knowing that her dear little Harry was in it!"


Joy flight aircraft in a paddock adjoining "Hollylea House" (Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society)


Another aircraft between the railway line and Queen Street in 1923 (Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society)

Source:

History Corner by Verlie Fowler, April 13, 1983




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