Ansett Airways Ltd Inaugural Air Mail Service - 1936
33 Mc 'Lorenz' Radio Range antenna

This rather non-descript postcard was carried on the return leg of Ansett Airways Ltd's inaugural air mail service from Hamilton to Melbourne/Essendon, Vic, on 25 May 1936. The service had commenced with passengers and freight on 16 February, but not with air mail. The aircraft was Fokker 4 Universal VH-UTO (below) and the pilot V.V. Cerche.


The postcard carries 3d 'Amphitrite' and 1 1/2d 'Sturt' stamps. It was postmarked at Hamilton on 25 May 1936 and arrival-stamped at Melbourne (GPO) and GDB Elizabeth St (on the obverse) the same day. It is one of only 376 items of mail flown on this historic flight.

(Phil Vabre collection: original 140 x 90 mm)

click here to look insideclick here to look inside

This aircraft (c/n 422) had an interesting history, being built by Fokker Aircraft (USA) and originally based in Nairobi, Kenya, from November 1927 as NC3199 Miss Africa. It was re-registered as G-EBUT in 1928 and made a return flight to Croydon, England, that year.

In 1929 the aircraft returned to the United Kingdom and was operated there until sold and shipped to Australia. The photo below shows the Fokker at Mascot awaiting re-registration in Australia.



In June 1935 it was registered as VH-UTO to G.H. 'Harry' Purvis who named it Austral Star and used it for flying circus work, but it was damaged in a forced landing in sea water near Kempsey, NSW, in December.

Following repairs, it was sold to Reg Ansett for £1,000 in January 1936 and used on the early Ansett Airways services. The aircraft was destroyed in a hangar fire at Essendon in 1939 - click here to see some photos of the fire.

(Photos: CAHS collection)


Click here to see a photo of a 70th anniversary commemorative flight by DC-3 to Hamilton


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