Bristol Tourer G-AUCA

The first aircraft purchased by the newly-formed Civil Aviation Branch, this aircraft (c/n 6117) was imported from Britain and registered to the CAB on 28 June 1921. G-AUCA was among the first civil aircraft registrations issued in Australia (# 46) when the Australian civil Aircraft Register was officially established on 28 June 1921. It was also the first Australian aircraft to bear a 'personalised' registration (G-AUCA = Civil Aviation). Its type was listed as a "Bristol Tourer", powered by a 230hp Siddeley Puma water-cooled engine. It was the same type of biplane as used by West Australian Airways to establish Australia's first scheduled airline service from Geraldton to Derby in WA.

After being used by the Controller of Civil Aviation, Colonel Horace Brinsmead, to inspect over 9,000 miles of new air routes and survey landing grounds, G-AUCA suffered an accident at Bourke, NSW, on 16 March 1923 while en route from Longreach, Queensland, to Melbourne, Victoria, following the trial of the Vickers Vulcan for the fledgeling Q.A.N.T.A.S. The wreck was promptly purchased by West Australian Airways who used the wreck and a spare airframe to build up a new Tourer for their Western Australian services as G-AUDX or G-AUDZ.

(Photo: CAHS collection)

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