BROCKLESBY will give this year’s Australia Day celebrations a flying start.
The township will host Greater Hume’s shire-wide ceremony and will display a newly-acquired Avro Anson engine to commemorate a famous piggyback landing by two interlocked RAAF planes in 1940.
A third reason for celebration will be the Brocklesby School of Arts hall centenary.
Len and Neil Schilg and Neil Drew are helping organise the day’s events from 8am.
Brocklesby people installed an historic marker in 1990 at the Anson landing site 6km from the hall but are keen to tell the story to visitors through an interpretive display near the hall.
Len Schilg, Neil Drew and Doug Canning have been looking for Avro Anson parts for years.
“People told me I was 10 to 20 years too late,” Mr Schilg said yesterday.
Finally the group bought an engine from a Wagga collector for $5000, with Greater Hume council’s help.
Later Mr Schilg found an aluminium propeller for another $1000.
Ansons were British-made twin-engine training planes that flew from RAAF Wagga during World War II.
Two (L9162 and N4876) locked together in flight near Brocklesby on September 29, 1940.
No one was seriously injured and the crew of the bottom plane, Jack Hewson and Hugh Fraser, bailed out along with the observer from the top plane, Ian Sinclair.
Pilot Leonard Fuller flew both planes about 8km until he belly-landed them in a paddock.
Mr Drew said it was a momentous event for Brocklesby.
“If this had happened in the US, they would have left the planes there,” he said.
One plane was repaired and flew again, while Fuller was killed later in the war when hit by a bus while riding a bicycle.
Brocklesby focus group president Neil Schilg said the hall was well-used by local groups such as the CWA, Red Cross, Landcare and the football club and hosted a New Year’s Eve dance.
He said the hall opened officially on August 21, 1907, an event that continued for three days.
“The hall has served the community well,” he said.
Australia Day will start with a free community breakfast at Brocklesby at 8am.
It will continue with citizen awards, music and displays of old cars and machines, arts and crafts.
Historian and Gallipoli tour leader Jonathon King will be the Australia Day ambassador to the shire.