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October, 2016

October, 2016 News

Annual General Meeting 2016

This will be held at the hangar on Saturday 19th November, 2016 at 11 am. Light refreshments will be served after the meeting. 

We need 10% of the membership to attend before we have a quorum. Proxies are accepted if you can’t attend in person. The Proxy Form must be filled in and returned by noon on Friday 18th November 2016. It is important that you carefully follow the instructions on the proxy form. Only forms with correct details can be counted. Completed forms can be downloaded here  and emailed to the Secretary at or they can be mailed to PO Box 156 Werribee 3030.  

Thank you for assisting in this matter.  

Executive and Committee of Management 2016  

As the number of nominations equalled the number of positions there will not be an election this year. Following are brief resumes of nominees so you can gain some idea of your representatives.  # denotes a sitting member:  


# Lyn Gorman (President) 

After serving two terms as President, I am standing for re-election 2016-17. During the past year restoration work on the B-24 Liberator has continued, and work on the Oxford has progressed well, benefitting from a donor who has given generously to this project. Preliminary plans have been drawn up for an internal construction to enhance the entrance, shop, museum display area for smaller items and tearoom, as well as providing good viewing for work in the hangar. In relation to achieving formal museum accreditation we are concentrating on some challenging areas where we need to make progress before aiming to submit documentation in 2017. We have continued to tidy up in and around the hangar, aiming to consolidate storage in containers in the rear, and security cameras have been fitted at strategic locations. We successfully hosted one Work for the Dole project and another has been approved by Committee to commence in October 2016. Committee is also considering how to boost membership of the Association. As I have stated previously, my personal commitment to the success of this memorial project remains strong because of my father’s wartime service as a Liberator pilot and because my own interest has developed over time through increasing involvement. Our Association continues to have challenging matters to negotiate. At the time of writing, matters remain unresolved about permitted development on the land provisionally granted to us, partly because the future of Hangar 1 has still not been decided. I seek your ongoing support as President at an important time for the project’s long-term future.  

# Ken Abbott (Vice President)  

My first interest in aviation came at age 5 after a joy flight with my grandfather. At 16 I started flying and finally ended up with a commercial pilot licence with aerobatics and formation endorsements.  

About 14 years ago I discovered the B-24 restoration through contact with my old cadet instructor, Ron Platt. At this time, as I was between jobs, working on the B-24 provided the push into a career move into aviation maintenance, first with Ansett then ultimately with Qantas. I am now an aircraft engineer licenced on the Boeing 737 and working experience on the 767 Airbus, the A330 and the A380.  

Current projects in the hangar are varied but the most prominent is sorting through the library to find the necessary manuals to help our restorers in achieving the goal of putting 176 back together.  

# Judith Gilbert (Secretary)  

In 2005 I was elected Secretary of this organisation and have served in the role ever since. I seek another term of office as I wish to be a part of the team working with Melbourne Water, Heritage and Places Victoria to successfully conclude the establishment of the museum precinct.  I have been a part of this group since negotiations first started and want to be there when we finally reach the end.  

As well as general secretarial duties I publish the newsletter, a role I thoroughly enjoy.  I also manage the Hangar Shop for Committee.   

I ask your support for serving again on the Executive.    

#Murray Spowart (Treasurer)  

I would like to nominate for the position of Treasurer again, a role I have been in since October 2015. For 40 years, until I retired from full time work in 2013, I was qualified as a Certified Practising Accountant and worked in accounting, administration and finance management roles throughout that time.  For the last 35 years I was employed by Blue Circle Southern Cement.  Since retirement I have enjoyed doing voluntary work in two organisations apart from the B-24 Liberator, and for the past 14 months have worked in a part-time paid role as Accounting and Administrative Officer at an aid agency in Geelong called Uniting Care.  

I therefore have several decades of experience in accounting and administration and in that regard am well suited to the role of Treasurer.  

I have enjoyed being Treasurer for the last year and have gained an appreciation of the excellent and enthusiastic work done by all the volunteers in our organisation.  I hope I will be elected to continue supporting them in their work.

Committee of Management  

# Jim Johnson  

I’m standing for Committee again this year: hard to believe how time has flown. I think the last couple of years have been productive with the shift of all the equipment and inventory from Sayers Rd and the implementation of a pro-active OH&S process. Further to this, the Work for the Dole programme has delivered a greater community commitment and involvement. Whilst financially it delivers a minimal amount, it has given us a new volunteer and some extra hands around the hangar. I have been pleased with the outcomes so far. I’m committed to improving our position both structurally and financially. I have raised our profile and fostered industry involvement.  Donations by way of pro-bono services have assisted us and will continue to assist as long as we recognise those contributions. As is probably known, my background was a TAFE/University teacher/trainer. Prior to that I was a student at University completing my degree. For many years before that I was involved in transport and shipping running my own business both here and in Indonesia. My very early years were spent in construction as a mechanical fitter.  These skills have been valuable in transference to my current commitment here at the B-24 Liberator.  I live locally in Altona and in my personal time I am a practicing musician.  

# Ken Hindle     

I began my involvement with the B-24 at the local Weerama Festival in 1997 so you could say I am a bit of a veteran. Nat Eichler was my first point of contact.   

When he heard about my experience he put me straight to work after I’d filled out the paperwork. I was the co-ordinator of the B-24 until work started on the Oxford. I now hold the position of the Oxford Co-ordinator. I have a small but dedicated crew working with me.  

I was a Committee member for several years representing the Liberator: I wish to remain a Committee member now representing the Oxford.  

# John Keevins  

I have served two terms on Committee and wish to renominate. I am in charge of the sub-committee engaged in preparing our organisation for museum accreditation. Work is proceeding well in this area and we should meet our 2017 deadline.  

In the hangar I am supporting the restoration of the oxygen system. I am also collating hydraulic fittings in order to salvage anything serviceable. I am currently working part time as an English tutor.   

Previously I taught communication skills at Victoria University. I am also a journalist and have worked as a storeman and Administrative Assistant. I am also a musician and have done artwork for band posters, logos and websites.  

#Graham Collis  

I have been associated with the B-24 since 1995 and was part of the group that recovered the fuselage and set it up in the hangar.   

If successful at this election this will be my second year in the role and I’m feeling a little older and a little wiser. I have learnt much about the inner workings of the B-24 office side of things and I have contributed in the following areas:  

•       Membership Secretary, keeping the membership register up to date and sending out cards, receipts, etc. with the help of Judy, Murray and the shop staff.  

•       Sub-committee for marketing. I have identified areas for promotion externally and I’m also making plans for a new shop and museum building internally.  

•       Security. I initiated and installed the security cameras around the exterior of the hangar and it’s been a success: no burglaries but some Pokemon hunters. Its recording facility will aid police in the case of a theft.  A generous member contributed money towards this installation.  

•       Pigeons have been ejected from the hangar at last! Together with others on the Committee we hatched a plan and, happy to say, it’s been largely successful.  

I am enjoying this aspect of the B-24 and feel I have more to contribute.  

# Tony Maher  

I have served on Committee for several years and enjoy the role.  

I am Hangar Manager responsible for opening and closing the site for the workers. I am in charge of general security and co-ordinate with the security firm that looks after the hangar interior. 

By trade I am a spray painter and often use that skill around the restoration.  

I work with the team doing engine restoration and putting on engine runs. I am also a tour guide and have the responsibility of training new guides. I also assist with outside displays.  As well I am the building and safety supervisor responsible for ground support equipment. Last year the hangar crew presented me with the Ken Bullen Award given to a member who has given dedicated service.  

I look forward to another year on Committee.  

Paul Rourke  

I have been a member of the Fund since 1995 after retiring from the RAAF after 22 years’ service. I became involved with the initial rebuilding of the outer wing panels as often as other commitments allowed. Soon full time work got in the way of pleasure and I was unable to continue working in the hangar. I remained a financial supporter.  In 2014 I retired from full time employment and since 2015 have been a full time member of the hangar crew working with the bomb bay crew to re-work and install the bomb bay doors and operating cables bringing them to operational status, albeit manual. This crew has also re-fitted the wing life raft saddle.  

I will continue to be a member of the hangar crew for as long as I am able hopefully seeing the project to completion.  


Committee wishes to thank Joe Sammartino who is retiring after serving on the 2016 Committee.  


B-24 Restoration 

Lyn (President) and Judy (Secretary) had a great experience. The “bomb bay boys” allowed them to stand on the walkway in the bomb bay while the doors were closed!  It was great to watch this area being closed off by the completed doors. The work has been intensive as many problems were encountered along the way but the finished product is worth the wait. To be in the closed bay gives a much better picture of how large and impressive the Liberator was.

      The “bomb bay boys”, from the back….Elwyn, Roger and Paul

     Lyn testing the strength.  And it held!

     All closed up and beautiful.


Oxford Update  

Currently progress is very satisfying.  The port wing top surface is finished so it’s been taken off the bench and upended in a new position:  sitting in suitable supports, on its leading edge, ready to prepare the lower surface for covering.  

Installation of ribbing on the cockpit floor is progressing well.  

A complete flap for the port wing is complete ready to be installed.  

Oh!  If only we had the room……..

    Looking good boys…..the wing’s not too bad either. 


Hangar Visitor  

On 28th August Mr Jim Truesdale, his wife and daughter visited us. Jim had been a pilot with 102 Squadron but had never spoken to his family about his wartime experiences and certainly did not want to visit the restoration. However, as we have seen before, something special happened once Jim touched 176 and then went into the bomb bay. He began to talk and told his family many things about his wartime experience. In the course of this he said he’d been one of the pilots who’d flown to Japan after the war to bring home ex POWs. He showed his family and some hangar crew members how the prisoners had been packed into the bomb bay….”but not one complained.”  

Jim was presented with a copy of the book we prepared a couple of years ago about the repatriation of POWs.  


Numbers have fallen drastically so we’re looking for ways to attract new members. We wrote to RMIT and Deakin University asking if any students would be interested in working at the hangar; thus giving us a new audience. The first of 7 student volunteers from RMIT will make a start next Tuesday.  

We’re also looking at an associate membership for young people up to the age of 18, $15 if contact is by email.  

If you know an interested person tell them please to get in touch.