Your Flight Path to Historic Warbirds
“The runs were pretty hairy because they had to come in at such a low level to drop their torpedo… and you were flying through the flack.”
– Neil Phelan, member of WWII RAAF 100 Squadron speaking about their torpedo bomber missions in a Beaufort around the islands of New Guinea.
We are a country more renowned for tearing down our history than preserving it, so the announcement in February that the RAAF was re-forming its No. 100 Squadron as the Air Force Heritage Squadron was astonishing and superb news.
Where? In two places. Point Cook in Victoria and Temora in the NSW Riverina, which just happens to be down the road from the gold winner of the Best Community Stay at this year’s Grey Nomad Awards. More on that in a minute…
The RAAF 100SQN has a proud history. Established in February 1942 at RAAF Base Richmond near Sydney, 100 Squadron was an Air Force bomber and maritime patrol squadron, trained on Australian-built Bristol Beaufort. The squadron conducted several successful missions during WWII, taking part in the famous Battle of the Bismarck Sea and eventually disbanding in New Guinea in August 1946. So, it is nothing less than magnificent that RAAF 100SQN has been reactivated after a 75-year absence. But why Temora?
That’s where the RAAF’s No. 10 Elementary Flying Training School was located during WWII. It was the biggest and longest lasting RAAF WWII training school. Pilots that defended our skies to the north cut their teeth over the wheat and canola fields of this inland beauty spot while sheep watched on. The training school closed after the war in February 1946, yet Temora has continued promoting the country’s aviation heritage. That is thanks to the Temora Aviation Museum’s iconic warplanes, especially the dual Spitfires – two of only three still flying in the country.
You can travel to Temora to see the RAAF 100SQN Historic Flight Collection, and about four times a year they are also in action at Temora Aviation Museum Aircraft Showcases^. Otherwise, the Temora Aviation Museum is open seven days a week 10 am to 4 pm with exhibitions and aircraft on display.
The RAAF 100 SQN Historic Flight Collection aircraft include the Supermarine Spitfires, CA-13 Boomerang, Cessna O-2A, Gloster Meteor, Lockheed Hudson, Wirraway, Tiger Moth, Ryan STM S2, and English Electric Canberra.
So where to stay? If your RV abides by the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia’s (CMCA) definition of a fully self-contained (FSC) vehicle, then the Temora RV Park is a great option.
It and the other eight RV Parks currently under the CMCA banner have been established in towns that benefit from having a heap more visitors but did not have an option for travellers in FSC vehicles looking for a low-cost option. They are right across Australia, everywhere from Humpty Doo in the NT to Geevestown in southern Tassie. And the one at Temora in the NSW Riverina took home one of our gold trophies.
These Parks recognise that mature travellers are not interested in staying in places with all the bells and whistles - tennis courts, children’s playgrounds and swanky guest lounges are not necessary. Rather, the Parks focus on the things that long-journey travellers without dependants (except furry ones) want, including cleanliness, good value, a warm welcome, easy booking, spacious sites and the chance to socialise and learn.
Each CMCA RV Park has a custodian as part of guaranteeing a friendly greeting. They also play host at the daily Happy Hour and keep the place looking swanky. All the CMCA parks are also within easy walking distance to shops, and offer potable water, dump point and a happy hour shelter to relax. For only $3 p/n for members or $15 p/n for non-members, you can stay up to 14 days.
And Temora has a reputation even among the CMCA RV Parks. “Loved staying at Temora and the hospitality of Nifty Nev.” That’s Nev the current custodian. Apparently, he’s quite the character.
Need any further excuses to head to Temora?
^ The next one of this Saturday, 20 November 2021. There will be flying demonstrations, commentary, music, static exhibitions, veteran interviews and Mess Hall meals. Bookings are essential!
(Neil Phelan information came from an Unsung Heroes interview conducted by the Temora Aviation Museum.)