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October, 2017

October, 2017 News

AGM 2017  

This will be held at the restoration hangar on Saturday 18th November at 11 am.

To ensure we have a quorum we have included with this newsletter the Proxy Form.  If you want to use your proxy please print, then fill it out carefully and return to PO Box 156 Werribee 3030 or email to by noon on Friday 17th November 2017.  All necessary details are on this form. In addition, this year we are presenting a motion to the meeting to make amendments to our Constitution.  You will be asked to vote on this motion.

Changes to the Constitution Page 1:  add “Updated June 2017” Page 3:  to NAME add “not-for-profit”.

“The       name    of            the         not-for-profit    incorporated association……..”

Page 14:  Section 16 Management of Funds:  add a new paragraph numbered i.  

The assets and income of the organisation shall be applied solely to further its objects and no portion shall be distributed directly or indirectly to the members of the organisation except as genuine compensation for services rendered or expenses incurred on behalf of the organisation.

The other paragraphs in Section 16 shall be numbered consecutively after this.  


It was moved by Lyn Gorman, seconded by Judith Gilbert:

That the amendments to the Constitution of B-24 Liberator Memorial Australia be accepted.  

Light refreshments will be served after the meeting.


Committee 2018  

 As the number of candidates equals the number of vacancies there will not be an election for the 2018 Executive and Committee of Management.  Following are brief resumes of those standing:   


# Lyn Gorman (President)

After serving three terms as President, I am standing for re-election for 2017-18.  We are pleased with continuing progress on our ‘core business’, restoring the B-24 Liberator and building the Airspeed Oxford. However, it has been a frustrating year insofar as delays, personnel changes and revised plans among other stakeholders have prevented finalisation of arrangements regarding the fate of Hangar 1 and the land allocated to us for long-term museum precinct development. We shall continue to work toward resolution of these matters in 2017-18. Meanwhile, we have continued to benefit from generous donors and from strong visitor numbers to the hangar, particularly by tour groups. We are reviewing what ‘membership’ of our association now means, especially for younger people who access information via social media (to which we are now regular contributors). The formation of a RAAFA branch based here is delivering welcome support in various forms. Our work toward formal museum accreditation has continued (with documentation due in December 2017 and the Museums Australia (Victoria) panel visit in February 2018).  We are pleased that upgrading of hangar security has paid off, especially after collaboration with Victoria Police after two recent break-ins.  I ask for your ongoing support as President and would hope that several ‘pending’ issues will be resolved during the coming year.


# 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 in 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 and

Heritage 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 also ensure communication between Committee, the hangar  group and those important to the restoration who can’t attend the hangar regularly.

I ask your support for serving again on the Executive.  


# Murray Spowart (Treasurer)

I would like to nominate for the position of treasurer, a position I have held for the past two years. 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. 

In the 4 years since retirement I have enjoyed doing voluntary work in two organisations apart from the B24 Liberator, and for the past 2 years have worked in a half-time paid role as Accounting and Administration 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 I am well suited to the role of treasurer. 

I have enjoyed being treasurer for the past two years and have gained an appreciation of the excellent and enthusiastic work done by all the volunteers in our organisation. I also have a strong interest in history, particularly World War Two history because my father served in the infantry in New Guinea. So it is always an inspiration for me when I visit the hangar and see reminders of what our people did during the war.


Committee of Management


Tony Muller

I am nominating to re-join the B-24 Liberator Committee of Management as I feel I can once again contribute meaningfully to the progress of the restoration.

Since late 1999 I have been involved with the project in many ways; first as a hangar volunteer through to other roles including guest speaking, arranging outside displays, engine runs, community and other museum liaison and assisting my wife Margot with catering for visiting groups and hangar functions.   Working regularly in the hangar I am aware of the needs of the various work groups and understand the volunteer’s wishes to have their views brought to the committee.

Over the years and with other volunteers I have learned the skills to refurbish and to bring into operation many of the units that are currently on display or under restoration and can use that knowledge to advise Committee members of future targets and finances involved in completing the B-24 and bringing other projects to finalisation.


Bob Rose

I joined the B-24 Restoration Group shortly after I retired from the Public Service at RAAF Base Laverton in 2010. I had previously retired from the RAAF in 1989 as F/SGT ‘Bugs’ Rose Radtech A after 31 years’ service. 

I have rebuilt various electrical control boxes and have assisted Ted Carpenter in the construction and fitting of the wiring looms for the engines. I am now attempting to restore the nose turret to almost full (no guns) operating condition.

I have accepted the position of Treasurer for the newly formed B-24 Liberator Branch of the Airforce Association and will remain an active member of the Restoration Group until I am no longer active.


# 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 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.

I seek a further term on Committee to further develop these roles.


# 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.  In 2015 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.

These are now at 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. 


# Graham Collis

I am requesting election for another year in the role of general committee member for 2018.  I wish to continue as membership secretary, as well as contributing to marketing and security. We have seen great advancements since my first involvement in the 90's when we only had a wing. The hanger is still the same, but now containing a recognisable B24, Oxford, Boomerang, museum and shop. We need more space, and we seem to be in a holding pattern with Hanger H1 relocation, going around in circles. But I think the circles are getting smaller, the developers are keen to unlock the potential of the land around Hangar 1; so time is on our side. I feel privileged to be involved with the B24 project and have an involvement in future upgrades at this exciting time. 


  This is Dan O’Connell. 

Dan is cross with me (Secretary) because I never put him in the newsletter so…….everyone:  meet Dan, stirrer supreme!!!


Liberator Report:  

By Dave Miller    

Glass beads have been employed to remove corrosion from the wing structure and fuel tank bays.  This will be an extended time task over the next few months. Work continues on the starboard engine nacelle sheet metal area.  The locally manufactured bomb release mechanism details are almost complete and should be fitted within the month.  Restoration and function checking of several gun sights is in progress to cover the turret and bench demonstration requirements.  Progress continues on the restoration and testing of hydraulic and pneumatic piping destined for fuselage installation.  Nose turret No 1 is undergoing assembly after minor modifications and repairs.

  Bomb racks with mechanisms manufactured by Graham Hore in place.


Oxford Report: 

Port wing is nearly complete, trailing edges have been completed: the fuselage is not started due to lack of room:  3 ailerons are completed but only 2 are needed.  We may be able to trade/sell one.  A safe area is needed where work on the fabric/doping work can be done.  Ken H will talk to Ken A to see if an area between containers can be used for this purpose once the containers are moved.

In Memory

Ronald Sawyer, a long-time member of the Liberator group passed away in June this year.  His daughter, Jan, has sent this excerpt from his eulogy:   


Ron was born and lived in Sydney all of his life up until needing full time care when he moved north in 2015  to be with family. He died  in Townsville 22/06/2017 aged  96 years. He remained a member of the B-24     Liberator Memorial group up until his death. In earlier days of the restoration he used to travel to Werribee once or twice a year from Sydney and stay for a week to assist with the physical work that needed doing. He always enjoyed these visits.  

Unfortunately, medical conditions in later years prevented this. However, he still endeavoured to read the B-24 Newsletter from cover to cover.  An electrical fitter by trade, Ron was a member of 23rd Squadron. He joined 1the RAAF on 5/07/1941. He was discharged on 08/02/1946 at the rank of Sergeant. Whilst stationed at Wagga Wagga in southern NSW he met Jean O’Connor a WAAF and they married in 1943. They celebrated 51 years of marriage before Jean’s passing.  

Thanks Jan for sharing these memories.  Our sympathy to you and your family.