Eulogy for Lindsay Wise

Spoken by Maurice Austin representing the Civil Aviation Historical Society (CAHS) & Airways Museum, Essendon Airport, at the Cordell Chapel, Fawkner Memorial Park, 6 July 2010.


Left: Lindsay Wise at the Airways Museum, 20 September 2005.

I have worked with Lindsay for about eight years as a volunteer at the Museum.

There were two 'Wise's' at the Museum. No relation. Electrical Brian and Mechanical Lindsay, and it was with Lindsay that I shared many of my interests in aviation particularly the mechanical aspects of engines and airframes.

We discussed/argued! About technical points. He won most!

More often than not Lindsay would notice on arrival at the Airport each Tuesday that a new aircraft type was in evidence in the parking areas and to my annoyance he was the one who often saw them first and mostly had correctly identified them! Modern Biz-jets all tend to look the same to me!

One of his greatest joys as a young man was the bringing to life, on a test truck, a freshly overhauled Pratt and Whitney R2800 18 cylinder radial aircraft engine: the type used in the Douglas DC-6B and Convair series aircraft. I can see the distant gleam in his eyes as recounted pressing of the start button.

Re things mechanical, in the early years he had a 1938 Morris 8 Tourer; so did my family. He had a Triumph 3T motorcycle, a less common model; so did I.

Lindsay sometimes borrowed from me technical books to take home and read. This showed an abiding interest in aero engines long after any requirement to bother. Such was our interest in such things.

His business card collection revealed a real 'who's who' in the world of aviation.

Lindsay, up until recently, occasionally would remove the wheels from his car to check the brake linings in spite of having the car serviced regularly. And very recently, the correct charging of the battery on his powered 4-wheel scooter seemed of extremely great importance! A very methodical man, a trait that probably drove some to distraction!

Lindsay had two important roles at our Museum. Scrap-booking all aviation related articles that appeared in the press. There are many volumes of these documents that will be a valuable resource into the future. This was a job he willingly took over from the late Peter Barnett, another of our members at the Museum. Lindsay was also always ready to help prepare the light lunches that were on offer when one of our Wednesday bi-monthly 'Talks' took place. A photo of him in the kitchen slicing the tomatoes is so typical.

In recent times, when his hearing had deteriorated, the multiple cross conversations in a typical lunch room would exclude his involvement. A knowing glance between the both of us would occur and removal to a quieter place would ensue!

I feel privileged to have been 'let in' to some aspects of Lindsay's life and to have shared in his travels in aviation-related matters.

There is a great deal more to the man which has/will be revealed today. Already emails from overseas and across Australia have been received expressing sadness and offering condolence to the families. Almost the last words I heard him say less than two weeks ago were. "We must keep our peckers up" and that "The family must be looked after."

I'm sure with the support evident here today that a certain immortality will survive in our collective memories of Lindsay Wise, our good mate.

Thank you.


(Photo: Phil Vabre/CAHS collection)

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