Airco DH.4 G-AUBZ/VH-UBZ - 1930s

The photo above shows Matthews Aviation Airco DH.4 G-AUBZ The Lachlan outside the Matthews hangar at Melbourne/Essendon, c.1928-30. This aircraft was built for the RAF as F2682. Probably acquired from disposals, it was exported to Australia and registered on 28 June 1921 to Ray Parer, later to become well-known as an operator in the New Guinea goldfields. G-AUBZ was given Certificate of Registration number 30.

The aircraft must have been in poor condition for the CAB never issued it a Certificate of Airworthiness, necessary for the aircraft to fly legally. In March 1922 Parer sold the aircraft to the fledgling Q.A.N.T.A.S. and a CofA was finally issued for the aircraft in October 1922. However, on 6 June 1923 the aircraft was badly damaged at Gilford Park, Qld., when pilot F.G. Huxley struck a telegraph line when landing. After an extended period of repairs in the Q.A.N.T.A.S. workshop at Longreach, lasting until well into 1924, the aircraft returned to the air. Empire Airways (Q.E.A. House Journal) later reported "On Saturday, February 7th [1925], the first official trip between Cloncurry and Camooweal was undertaken by pilot L.J. Brain and engineer F. McNally in a De Havilland 4 mail machine. The first passenger was Mr. C. Johnson, manager of "Alexandra" and freights consisted of ice and butter to Camooweal. Cloncurry was left at 6 a.m. and a fast run was made to Camooweal, which town was reached at 8.10 a.m. . . . . An enthusistic welcome was extended by the residents of Camooweal to the first mail 'plane to visit the town, and much interest was displayed in the consignment of ice and butter which was particularly acceptable."

In December 1927, Q.A.N.T.A.S. sold the aircraft to Matthews Aviation. On 27 March 1929, all aircraft owners with aircraft currently registered were notified by the CAB of the intention to change the existing G-AUxx prefix of their registration letters to VH-Uxx prefix. Each was sent a copy of a circular letter outlining the requirements, which included the advice that this had to take place within the next 12 months and that the change had to be advised immediately it was effected. Matthews Aviation was a recipient of this letter, for G-AUBZ. However, on 24 February 1930, the groundsman at Essendon aerodrome, A.A. Thurman, advised the CCA that the change had still not been implimented. Matthews must have realised that the CCA. would not be tolerant for much longer, and on 27 March advised that VH-UBZ was now painted on the DH.4. Seen below is the same aircraft, in company with the DH75 Hawk Moth VH-UNW, after its registration had been changed to VH-UBZ.

In October 1930 the aircraft's CofA lapsed and a year later Matthews sold it to Pioneer Aviation Services of Melbourne. They must have returned it to the air and it passed through several hands before being struck off the Register in November 1940.


(Photos: CAHS collection)

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