De Havilland DH82a Tiger Moth VH-CAH
After the war this aircraft was acquired by DCA from RAAF stock for £400 and converted for civil use. Intended for use in the Department's Papua & New Guinea Region, this was the only DCA Tiger Moth not to receive an enclosed canopy. It was, however, modified with a raked-forward undercarriage which permitted the use of a tailwheel in place of the usual skid. .
The aircraft was registered to DCA as VH-AZM on 20 October 1949. A few months later, on 8 February 1950, VH-AZM was re-registered in DCAs block as VH-CAH. The photo above shows the aircraft at Melbourne/Essendon, probably early in its civil career
The wrecked vessel is the former Japanese passenger steamship Tenyo Maru. During the Second World War the Tenyo Maru was converted as a mine-layer and used by the Japanese Navy. On 10 March 1942 the Tenyo Maru was extensively damaged by US Navy SBD aircraft and was subsequently beached on the reef off Lae. This prominent 'landmark' survived for thirty years until an earthquake in the 1970s caused the visible part of the wreck to slip off the reef into deeper water, where it remains to this day.
VH-CAH was written off not long after this photo was taken when it crashed at Malahing, near Lae, on 25 September 1962.
(Photos: Top-CAHS collection ; Bottom-Daryl Mackenzie collection)