Anonymous donation brings $90,000 to Uiver restoration project

WORK IN PROGRESS: Volunteers meet twice a week to restore the Uiver DC2. "It's very encouraging to have people come in and say 'Oh gee, it looks like progress is being made,' so that's really good,"  Trust chairman Pieter Mol says.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Volunteers meet twice a week to restore the Uiver DC2. "It's very encouraging to have people come in and say 'Oh gee, it looks like progress is being made,' so that's really good," Trust chairman Pieter Mol says.

An anonymous, unexpected donation of $90,000 has helped plans to restore the Border’s most famous aircraft.

The Uiver Community Trust received the early Christmas present without any warning more than a week ago.

Chairman Pieter Mol thanked the unknown benefactor, saying the gift was a huge boost to the ongoing restoration of the Uiver DC2 aeroplane.

“I received a letter in the mail, opened the letter and the cheque fell out,” he said.

“An anonymous donor only wishes to be identified in the letter as a friend of Albury-Wodonga. I have some suspicions, but I don’t know.”

The donor stipulated the money was to be used for the restoration work and materials. It will enable the trust to finish some jobs that had been put off owing to lack of funds.

“We will now be able to proceed with engine nacelle repairs and restoration, the restoration of the undercarriage systems and purchasing of materials and tooling required to carry out this work,” Mr Mol said. “It will allow us now to plan the project out for next year with certainly sufficient funds to continue right along.”

The Uiver DC2 commemorates the Albury community’s role in rescuing the original Dutch aeroplane that became lost during the 1934 London to Melbourne air race. Volunteers work on the aircraft every Wednesday and Saturday at the Smartair hangar at Albury airport as part of the five-year plan.

“Only last Saturday we had five Dutchmen walk into the hangar,” Mr Mol said. 

“They were in Australia for other reasons but they knew of the project and they just came past to have a look and see how it was going, so there is obviously interest beyond Albury-Wodonga for this project. (One) said the progress had been quite remarkable, because the last time he saw it, the aeroplane was still sitting out in the paddock.”

Two years into the project, the chairman said the amount of repair work needed was much more than had been originally anticipated.

“I think we’re going to need another four years probably to complete this project, but certainly with these sort of donations, in three years’ time we’ll definitely have something that is very close to the mark,” Mr Mol said.