Rose Bay, Sydney today!

Any photos, plans, drawings, directions, helpful hints on visting places where flying boats have been operated from historically, or are being operated from today. I am always interested in receiving 'Then & Now' type photographs to assist current day visitors to these place. I'm trying to record the best places to visit before they disappear for ever.

Rose Bay, Sydney today!

Postby davidmgeer » Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:24 pm

Summary of Rose Bay, Sydney, Australia

http://www.flickr.com/photos/41039402@N ... 786420211/

and sets as follows

http://www.flickr.com/photos/41039402@N ... 786420211/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/41039402@N ... 911302168/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/41039402@N ... 911090712/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/41039402@N ... 786389125/


1. Original pontoon piers still in use for sea planes

2. RSL club celebrates Empires and Catalina’s with Empires display including a Hamilton Standard Propeller said to come from an Empire Boat
- their Catalina propeller is not now on display.

3. Lovely location reachable by ferry from Sydney’s Circular Quay, also buses or car.
4. 2 top notch restaurants and a couple of reasonable cafes in walking distance plus Rose Bay RSL
________________________________________

I was quite surprised to see that there was not a note on the Rose Bay “base” here so I set myself the task of writing one. In a visit today (July 31st., 2009) the first thing I learnt was that I had been mistaken about where the base was situated, probably as a result of something I read I think, but also due to the presence of a waterside restaurant called the Catalina. There is also a Sea Plane base here and the waterway-airfield is controlled by air traffic control based at Kingsford Smith, Sydney’s main commercial airport, itself jutting out into another bay; Botany Bay.

My first port of call was the Sydney Sea Plane office and here a friendly Canadian Chief Pilot told me that their offices are built on the piles put in to form the pontoon for the Empire Boats and therefore their own pontoon follows the original plan line. Further they have an old aerial photograph (as does the Rose Bay RSL) on the wall which shows the base and confirms the line of the pontoon and the stone wall with its kink. This clearly shows the base building was immediately behind the pontoon and the hangar once built plus attendant services were to the left of the pontoon, (all seen from the water), and it followed the shore line round to the RSL club and the tennis courts.

Whilst I was told today that the RSL was built adjacent to the main road rather than on the foreshore according to their website it seems to have been a take over of an old naval building used for servicemen provisioning and has subsequently been rebuilt. The hall however formed the rear left hand corner of the Qantas Empire Base, as their own aerial photograph shows. A Scout hut is still also in place and this was either part of the base building or already in place. Further a waterside building that appears to be council works or similar is still in place and was part of the base. The tennis courts at the rear are still there and they were the rear perimeter. As the base lasted until the end of services to Hamilton Island it is quite possible this photograph is later than QEA days, though the boat tied up looks like an Empire rather than a Sandringham. Unfortunately there is no copy on the web so it’s not in public domain here in Australia. Maybe next time I’ll photograph that!

A car park now uses some of the old base ground and the scenic mounds contain the old fuel tanks. A children’s play ground not photographed, is in the middle of the old hangar area and open grassed space takes up the rest.

The Restaurant is built on stilts on the water with a bridging stair case entrance but was not part of the QEA base, nor there at the time of the photograph either. The ferry wharf is still where it originally was in the 1930’s. The grass land to the right hand side (seen from the sea/harbour) is now Lyne Park and contains a car park, toilets and a shelter. It was rather full of cars, one suspects that quite a few belong to commuters who park there and catch a ferry to work as parking is an issue in Sydney these days.

As to whether the winch dates back to QEA days I am not sure but it seems the slipway was somewhere around the area now used by the Woollahra sailboat club for its own boats.

If visiting; Australians know how RSL’s work and indeed what RSL means – it’s The Returned and Services League and in some ways somewhat equivalent to the British Legion I suspect though it is more of a working mans club with a range of services which depend on where it is, but generally these are food and beverage venues with one arm bandits. Often there is entertainment and sometimes bingo. The Rose Bay one has fine billiard tables. They recruit local and other members but are open to anyone who lives I think more than 5 kilometres away simply by signing in as a guest.

Originally the Hamilton Standard propeller was in the lobby but since it was lent to the museum of Sydney for a flying boat exhibition it is now mounted in the main hall area on a display wall with blow up photographs including one of Lady Mountbatten. I am no expert on propellers, nor really much else, but whilst I have always thought it an original Empire boat prop, I now have my doubts as Brian Cassidy’s research indicates de Havilland variable pitch propellers (airscrews) were fitted to all Empires?! (Sims says that the TEAL boats had modifications made to be able to use Hamilton Standard propellers, so perhaps that might have happened to one of the QEA boats or their successors). So whilst it’s nice to think it might have come from CORIOLANUS when it was scrapped in the harbour, there is no real evidence to that effect at least not in the way of a label on the display. I was told it was originally outside but due to weathering it was sent to Qantas for refurbishment which they did on the condition it was kept indoors in future! It looks the right type and size however and is certainly a constant speed or at least adjustable pitch unit so….doubtless someone, somewhere will set me right on this point.

Hope the photos are of interest, I’ll take some more some day hopefully from the sea – ferry!
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Re: Rose Bay, Sydney today!

Postby flyernzl » Sat Aug 29, 2009 10:28 pm

Very good coverage, thanks.
I have visited Rose Bay a few years ago and yes it is quite a historic place.
There are a number of photographs around of 'boats at the Bay, which indicate the location of various ammenities.
Here are a couple VH-BRF just ex NZ4108 on its arrival from NZ to Rose Bay in 1963 before passenger conversion:

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VH-BRE at Rose Bay in 1974

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Re: Rose Bay, Sydney today!

Postby crship » Mon Oct 26, 2009 2:53 pm

Good to see someone detailing this area of importance.
A couple of extra points from my experience - grew up in Sydney and "hung around" the base as a kid.
The restaurant - now Catalinas has been around from the mid 50's. It was originally known as Caprice, had no outside deck just picture windows looking straight out on the harbour. It was THE night spot in the late 50's and 60's . The place where the glitterati of Sydney and various overseas celebs could go and party on in to the wee hours!
Outside the restaurant the road coming up from the main bay area now ends. However when the base was in operation a road at right angles went from outside Caprice back up to the main road Old South Head Road,. This was the boundary of the base. The first hundred feet or so from the water was fenced off. Where the fencing finished the back side of the main hanger began. The hanger was made of corregated cement panels. By the mid to late 60's there were several small holes in some of the panels just big enough for you to look into and see what was going on with maintanance on the aircraft. where the hanger ended the fencing began again leading up to the council tennis courts and then Sydneys first fast food restaurant - Henry's hi-boy hot dogs. A franchise imported from the states in the early 60's. A Saturday afternoon treat for me when I was about 6 was Dad taking me down to Henry's for a " foot long hot dog" which we then ate outside Caprice looking at the Flying boats either in dock or at the moarings.
The Front of the Hanger was also at 90 degrees to the water. Infront of the doors a large hard standing allowed the aircraft to be turned to face the slipway and be towed down to the water.
I'm not to clear on the opposite side of the base and the boundaries with the Sailing club RSL etc.
Yes RSL is like the British Legion. The clubs were set up after the war as a focal point for returned servicemen and their families for rememberance and social gathering. Remember Sydney only had pubs for the working man and few really good restaurants. So these were a welcome addition to the landscape and sprung up all around the country. At the end of every day there was a moments silence for the fallen and a recital of the ode. " They shall not grow old as we are left grow old..etc etc."

Charles
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Re: Rose Bay, Sydney today!

Postby Philthy » Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:44 am

These drawings, from the collection of the Civil Aviation Historical Society http://www.airwaysmuseum.com, may be of interest:

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Drawing Y-443, 16-12-40 - proposed works. I don't believe the 'possible future jetty' was ever built. Other buildings were later erected where the rifle range is shown.

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Drawing Y-619 and a cropped view of the Base area showing mooring buoys and warping buoys, dated June 1944. Before 1938 Lyne Park was a reserve for recreational and sporting activities owned by the Navy. They had to give up the reserve so the Flying Boat Base could be built. The 'Shell pier' was where the refuelling launches tied up and replenished.
Aeradio Operator John G. 'Johnnie' Walker, Karumba Flying Boat Base, 1938.
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Re: Rose Bay, Sydney today!

Postby Philthy » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:08 am

Rose Bay FBB on 17 Aug 2013

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The current Sydney Seaplanes pontoon is pretty much were the old FBB jetty once stood and their building is where the Control Building was. The main apron was more or less where the big bushy tree in the background is.

Compare with this photo of the Rose Bay Control Building in mid-1939:

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(Civil Aviation Historical Society/Ivan Hodder collection)
Aeradio Operator John G. 'Johnnie' Walker, Karumba Flying Boat Base, 1938.
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