Rose Bay Flying Boat Base - 1938
Rose Bay terminal buildingShort S.23 G-AETV CoriolanusShort S.23 G-AEUB Camillaservicing apronswimming bathsjettyslipway under constructionfuture QEA hangar site

This photo shows the official opening of the Rose Bay Flying Boat Base on 4 August 1938. The opening was performed by Lord Huntingfield, acting Governor-General of Australia. Following the cutting of a ribbon linking the aircraft to the shore, Empire Flying Boat G-AEUB Camilla (the upper aircraft in the photo above), under command of Qantas Empire Airways (QEA) Captain Lester Brain, departed for the UK carrying eight passengers, 265 pounds of freight and 207 pounds of mail.

G-AEUB Camilla (c/n S0844) was launched on 10 September 1937 and was operated by Imperial Airways and QEA on an interchange basis. In February 1942 the air route to England was cut by the Japanese and Camilla was stranded at the Australian end of the route. On 12 August 1942 it was re-registered to QEA as VH-ADU, but crashed in the sea and was destroyed off Port Moresby, New Guinea, on 22 April 1943.

The other aircraft is Short S.23 Empire Flying Boat G-AETV Coriolanus (c/n S0838). Coriolanus operated the first of the trice-weekly Australia-England services under the new Empire Air Mail Scheme on 9 August 1938 (5 days after the photo on this page was taken) - click here to see an air mail cover flown on this flight.

The photo below shows the Rose Bay terminal area in enlargement. The crowd thronging the waterfront can be clearly seen. A public swimming enlosure was situated immediately to the right of the jetty in front of the terminal. To the left, the slipway is still under construction, as is the maintenance apron behind it. The cars parked behind the terminal are on the site of a large maintenance hangar constructed for QEA in the following year.


Short S.23 G-AEUB CamillaRose Bay terminal buildingservicing apronswimming bathsjettyslipway under constructionfuture QEA hangar site

(Photo: Milton Kent/CAHS collection)

Click here to see a photo of the terminal building c.1939

Click here to see photos of Short S23 Empire Flying Boat G-AETX at Rose Bay in 1939

Click here to see an aerial photo of the Rose Bay flying boat base, c.1942-43

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