Laverton Streets - History

Lohse Street is named after Councillor William Henry Lohse (19 April 1881 Bendigo – 18 May 1955 Werribee) farmer, who represented the East riding in the Werribee Shire Council.

William was the third youngest of four children to German immigrants Johann Lohse and Louisa Lena Fredericka Lohse (Kraemer). He married Lilias Georgina Gunn (1879-1966) in Melbourne on 26 April 1911. The couple originally lived in Elsternwick where they had they first two children, Douglas and Valentine. The family then moved to Swan Street Richmond in about 1913, and it was at this period that William became Secretary of the Richmond Football Club, a role he held until 1916.

By 1917 the family had moved again, this time to Laverton where William began farming and started his involvement within the affairs and organisations of the district. He was the inaugural President of the Werribee District Cricket Association (1921), Laverton School Board (1922), Laverton Progress Association (1923) and served on the Werribee Mechanics’ Hall committee. He and Lilias also added to their family with the birth of Ronald and twins Jean and Frederick.

William first ran for election to the East Riding on the Werribee Shire council in 1924 and then again in 1927 losing on both occasions. It was in 1928, on his third attempt, that he was successful gaining sufficient votes to replace Bernard Maher as the East Riding representative. William served on the council until his retirement, from council, in 1945 having served as Mayor from 1928 to 1939.

On May 18 1955, at his Geelong Road, Werribee home, William passed away suddenly leaving a wife and five adult children.

Research: Graeme Reilly (Altona Laverton Historical Society)

Bladin Street Laverton was named after Air Vice Marshal Francis Masson Bladin CB, CBE a Senior Commander in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Francis Bladin undertook pilot training at RAAF Point Cook, and was stationed, for a period of time, at RAAF Laverton.

Francis Bladin was born in Korumburra, Victoria, to engineer Frederick Bladin and his wife Ellen on 26 August 1898. He requested to join the IAF during World War I but his parents refused to give their permission. Not to be deterred he instead entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 1917. Graduating in 1920, Bladin served for the next two years in the Australian Army and on attachment with the British Army, before transferring to the RAAF as a Flying Officer in January 1923.

Bladin undertook pilot training at Point Cook, Victoria, being one of five former army Lieutenants on the inaugural RAAF flying course. Bladin was also in charge of running Citizens Air Force (reserve) pilots’ courses at No. 1 Flying Training School, Point Cook. Promoted Squadron Leader, Bladin took over as Commanding Officer of No. 1 Squadron from Squadron Leader Frank Lukis in April 1934. He found that the unit, flying Westland Wapitis and Hawker Demons out of RAAF Station Laverton in Victoria, “had not operated under field conditions away from its brick hangers and concrete tarmac since its inception some eight years previous”. Bladin proceeded to change this, transporting the squadron 300 miles away to Cootamundra in rural New South Wales for two weeks commencing late November 1935. On 12 March 1937, he was promoted Wing Commander.

Following the outbreak of World War II he was appointed as the Director of Operations and Intelligence at RAAF Headquarters, Melbourne (March 1940). Promoted Group Captain (June 1940), became Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Southern Area (August 1941) and was raised to acting Air Commodore (September 1941). Bladin served as Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations) in early 1942, before he took over as AOC North-Western Area (March 1942). Based in Darwin, his role was to conduct the air defence of Torres Strait, the Northern Territory, and north Western Australia. Bladin handed over North-Western Area to Air Vice Marshal Adrian Cole in July 1943, he was then posted to England as Senior Air Staff Officer of No. 38 Group RAF, Bladin was closely involved in training aircrew and planning airborne operations for Operation Overlord, the invasion of France. He flew a mission on D-Day, 6 June 1944, to deliver glider-borne troops to Normandy.

Such was his leadership that Bladin earned the distinction of being the first Australian decorated by the United States in the Pacific theatre of operations when he was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry. Following World War II, Baldin continued his career within the Air Force until he retired (October 1953), but before this he was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath in the King’s Birthday Honours announced in June 1950.

Bladin retired from the Air Force on 15 October 1953. He ran a grazing property, which he named Adastra, at Yass, just north of the Australian Capital Territory. Howver, he continued to undertake work supporting the Returned Sailors’, Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia, which became the Returned Services League in 1965.

He married Patricia Mary Magennis at Jeir Station, Yass, New South Wales, on 20 December 1927; the couple had a son and two daughters. Bladin died in Melbourne on 2 February 1978, survived by his three children. His wife, who was involved in the support of veterans’ families and other community work, had died earlier. Accorded an Air Force funeral at the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Deepdene, Francis Bladin was buried at Springvale, Victoria.

Research: Graeme Reilly (Altona Laverton Historical Society)

Named after Bernard Joseph Maher (born 1859 died 13 April 1937) who was not only a Laverton shopkeeper, but served as a councillor of Werribee Shire from 1914 to 1928, also serving as President in 1916-17.

Bernard Maher had moved to the Laverton area from Armadale, Melbourne around 1912 with his wife, Margaret Maher (nee Fox), they were married in 1882. They had ten children – Mary, Ellen Maher, Catherine Mary Maher (Grant), Ina Marguretta, John, Vincent, William Maher, Thomas Francis Maher, Elsie Maher (Williams), Florence Maher (Barden) and Bernard Maher.

Bernard Maher was elected to represent the East Riding, in the Shire of Werribee, in 1914 serving a councillor for about 16 years, during which time he occupied the position of president from 1916 to 1917 winning to vote to Presidency unanimously. He rise to the role of President was also unique in that he gained the confidence of his fellow councillors within his first term of office. He retired from council in 1929 and was replaced by William Lohse. It is believed that in 1935 Bernard Maher sought to ran against Cr Lohse as the representative for the East Riding but was unsuccessful.

Bernard Maher conducted a general store in the Laverton township for many years and also took a leading role in many activities around Laverton. The practical assistance that many district organisations received from him was greatly appreciated. He was an ardent worker for the Victorian Farmers’ Union and was instrumental in pioneering the organisation in Werribee, Little River and Truganina, as well as taking a keen interest in the establishment of the Union in Bacchus Marsh, Toolern Vale, Melton and Colmadal.

The Maher family also had links to the Truganina Explosives Reserve when Bernard and Margaret’s daughter Catherine (Kitty) married Alexander Grant, the eldest son of Donald Grant, the magazine keeper at the Explosives Reserve in 1914.

Bernard Joseph Maher passed away on 13 April 1937; he was pre-deceased by his wife and two daughters, and is buried at the Melbourne General Cemetery, Carlton.

Research: Graeme Reilly (Altona Laverton Historical Society)

A lot of the Streets and Roads in Laverton are named after members of the Australian Flying Corps, R.A.A.F. and Aviation who distinguished themselves, or are remembered for a specific reason, this is one of those stories.

Goble Street is named to acknowledge the achievements of Air Vice Marshall Stanley James Goble CBE, DSO, DSC. Stanley was born in Croydon, Victoria in 1891, one of four sons to an Australian father, George, and an English mother, Ann. He apparently received little schooling, and began his working life as a clerk with the Victorian Railways at the age of sixteen. By twenty-three he was, like his father, a stationmaster.

Stanley Goble was prevented from joining the Australian Imperial Force at the beginning of World War I after failing the stringent medical criteria. With his three brothers already on active service, he decided to travel to England at his own expense and enlist in the British armed forces. Goble was accepted for flying training with the Royal Naval Air Service in July 1915. After graduating as a flight sub-lieutenant on 20 October 1915, he became a test pilot and undertook anti-submarine patrols out of Dover. Goble commenced operations with only three hours solo flying experience. Towards the end of the year he was posted across the Channel to Dunkirk, flying Caudron reconnaissance-bombers and Sopwith Pup fighters.

Stanley was a founding member of No 8 Squadron RNAS in 1916, during the latter part of the Battle of Somme, where he flew both Pups and Nieuport fighters. He earned the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions on 24 September 1916 when he engaged two enemy fighters near Ghistelles in West Flanders, bringing one of them down on fire in a spiral nose-dive. This victory was the first confirmed “kill” achieved by an Allied pilot flying the Pup. Goble was promoted to flight lieutenant on 1 October, and won the French Croix de guerre later that month.

On 17 February 1917, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for his “conspicuous bravery and skill” in three separate actions while operating with No. 8 Squadron: on 7 November 1916 when he forced a hostile fighter down in a field, where it crashed attempting to land; on 27 November when he engaged four enemy aircraft, destroying one; and on 4 December when, in repeated combats while escorting Allied bombers, he helped drive off attacking fighters and shot down one of them. The same month that he was awarded the DSO, Goble was posted to No 5 Squadron RNAS at Petite-Synthe near the Franco-Belgian border.

Goble was promoted twice in 1917, to flight commander in June, then squadron commander in December. He led No. 5 Squadron for the latter part of the year and into 1918. His unit supported the British 5th Army as it bore the brunt of the German Spring Offensive, and he had to evacuate his airfield when it was shelled by advancing enemy artillery. Relocating twice to other landing grounds, he kept his squadron on the attack, and was subsequently recognised by a commendation circulated to all RNAS combat units. When the RNAS merged with the British Army’s Royal Flying Corps on 1 April 1918, Goble became a Major in the newly formed Royal Air Force. He finished the war an ace, with ten victories. Although himself forced to crash land on two occasions, he had avoided any injury during his active service.

Returning to Australia, Goble assisted in the formation of the RAAF as an independent branch of the Australian armed forces. On an exchange posting to Britain in the 1930s, he led No 2 (Bomber) Group RAF. As Chief of the Air Staff at the onset of World War II, Goble clashed with the Federal Government over implementation of the Empire Air Training Scheme, which he believed would be detrimental to the defence of Australia. He stepped down as leader of the RAAF in early 1940, and spent the rest of the war as Air Liaison Officer to Canada. Goble died in 1948 at the age of fifty-six, two years after retiring from the military.

When a temporary Air Board was set up to examine the feasibility of an Australian Air Force (AAF), Goble was assigned as a Navy representative, with Lieutenant Colonel Richard Williams, acting as an Army spokesman. The permanent Australian Air Board was established on 9 November 1920, and recommended creation of the AAF as an independent branch of the armed services. The AAF came into being on 31 March 1921—the ‘Royal’ prefix being granted five months later—and Goble resigned his commission in the RAF the same day to transfer to the new service as a wing commander.

One feat that Stanley is recognised for is the flight he and Flying Officer Ivor McIntyre made in 1924 when they became the first men to circumnavigate Australia by air, in a single-engined FAirey IIID floatplane. Goble and McIntyre took off from Point Cook, Victoria, on 6 April 1924 and flew 8,450 miles (13,600 km) in 44 days, in often arduous conditions. Though well-prepared with fuel stocks and spare parts pre-positioned along the intended route, they had to contend with illness and tropical storms, as well as mid-air engine trouble and fuel leaks. Their journey took them anticlockwise around the continent, along the Eastern Australian coast through Sydney, Southport, Townsville and Thursday Island, crossing the Gulf of Carpentaria to Darwin, and then continuing along the coast through Broome, Carnarvon, Pert, Albany and Port Lincoln, before arriving back in Victoria.As they flew above Point Cook, twelve RAAF aircraft took to the air to escort them to their landing place at St Kilda beach, where they were welcomed by a crowd of 10,000 people.

Goble suffered from hypertensive cerebrovascular disease and died in Heidelberg, Victoria, on 24 July 1948. He was cremated, leaving his wife Kathleen, and three sons. His son John (born 1923) joined the Royal Australian Navy and qualified as a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm, rising to the rank of Commodore and commanding 817 Squadron, the naval air station HMAS Albatross, and the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne.

References:

  • H. A. Jones, The War in the Air, vol 2 (np, 1924), vol 4 (np, 1934)
  • D. Gillison, Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942 (Canb, 1962)
  • J. McCarthy, Australia and Imperial Defence (Brisb, 1976)
  • British Australasian, 5 Aug 1915, 2 Nov 1916
  • Table Talk, 12 Apr 1928
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 27 Sept 1921, 1, 7 Apr, 21 May, 3 June 1924, 10 Feb, 23 July 1925, 30 June 1926, 24 Feb 1928, 10 June 1936, 21, 22, 23, 28 Dec 1939, 3 May 1940, 3 July 1945, 25 Feb 1946, 26 July 1948
  • Argus (Melbourne), 26 July 1948

Research: Graeme Reilly (ALHS 2019)

A lot of the Streets and Roads in Laverton are named after members of the Australian Flying Corps and R.A.A.F. who distinguished themselves, or are remembered for a specific reason, this is one of those stories.

Wackett Street is named to acknowledge the contributions of Air Vice Marshall Ellis Charles Wackett OBE, CB, CBE. Ellis was born on 13 August 1901 at Townsville, Queensland, youngest of three children of English-born James Wackett, storekeeper, and his Victorian-born wife Alice, née Lawrence. In 1914, after early schooling in Townsville, Ellis Wackett entered the Royal Australian Naval College, Jervis Bay as a cadet midshipman. Following graduation in 1919, he spent two years at sea before sailing for Britain to attend the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, and the Royal Naval Engineering College, Keyham. In 1923 he transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force with the rank of flying officer and underwent pilot training on Salisbury Plain.

Having qualified as the RAAF’s first trained parachute instructor, Wackett, on 26 May 1926, became the first person in Australia to make a free-fall jump from a service aircraft. Ellis became the RAAF’s senior engineer in May 1935 when he assumed the office of director of technical services at Air Force Headquarters, Melbourne. Ellis Wackett was a squadron leader when appointed director of technical services. He was to remain the RAAF’s senior engineer for twenty-four continuous years and through five ranks.

Promoted to temporary group captain in 1940, Wackett was responsible for managing the technical aspects of the RAAF’s remarkable wartime expansion from some 3500 personnel and 250 obsolescent aircraft in 1939 to about 170,000 personnel and 5600 aircraft by 1945. He was appointed OBE in 1941 and promoted to acting air commodore in 1942—partial testimony to his admirable leadership.

Notwithstanding his exceptional wartime service, Ellis Wackett’s greatest contribution to the RAAF came after World War II. Under his leadership the new branch promoted ‘airworthiness’ as a philosophy that defined professional standards. That philosophy was complemented by the formalisation of comprehensive maintenance policies, thus establishing the foundation of the RAAF’s technical excellence. Through his commitment to the notion of ‘airworthiness’, Ellis Wackett became the most influential engineer in the history of the RAAF.

Ellis Wackett retired from the RAAF in December 1959, having been appointed CBE in 1951 and CB in 1957. He served on the board of the Australian National Airlines Commission (1960-68) and was also prominent in the Regular Defence Force Welfare Association, becoming foundation vice-president in 1959 and life governor in 1979.

In 14 April 1928 he had married Doreen Ivy Dove at All Saints Church of England, St Kilda, Melbourne and they had had one daughter and two sons. Ellis died in Warracknabeal on 3rd August 1984 and was cremated with military honours.

Some might disagree with the above choice and believe that this Street was to recognise his brother Sir Lawrence James Wackett KBE, DFC, AFC (2 January 1896 – 18 March 1982) as he is widely regarded as “father of the Australian aircraft industry”. He has been described as “one of the towering figures in the history of Australian aviation covering, as he did, virtually all aspects of activities: pilot, designer of airframes and engines, entrepreneur and manager” and also the brother of Ellis Wackett. But it is believed that Ellis related directly to the Laverton and Point Cook bases more then Lawrence. Either way this street celebrates a great aviation family.

References:

  • Christopher D. Coulthard-Clark, The Third Brother, 1991, North Sydney, Allen & Unwin
  • Alan Stephens, Going Solo: The Royal Australian Air Force, 1995, Canberra, Australian Government Publishing Service
  • RAAF service record (Office of Air Force History, Canberra)
  • Stephens, Alan (2012). “Wackett, Ellis Charles (‘Wack’) (1901–1984)”. Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 21 January 2019.

Research: Graeme Reilly (ALHS 2019)

A lot of the Streets and Roads in Laverton are named after members of the Australian Flying Corps and R.A.A.F. who distinguished themselves, or are remembered for a specific reason, this is one of those stories.

McNamara Road is named to acknowledge the contributions of Air Vice Marshall Francis Hubert McNamara, VC, CB, CBE to the R.A.A.F. Born in Rushworth, Victoria in 1894, McNamara was the first of eight children to William Francis McNamara, a State Lands Department officer, and his wife Rosanna. He began his schooling in Rushworth, and completed his secondary education at Shepparton Agricultural High School.

As a militia officer, McNamara was mobilised for service in Australia when war was declared in August 1914. After serving briefly at bases in Queenscliff and Point Nepean, Victoria, McNamara passed through Officers Training School at Broadmeadows in December. He began instructing at the Australian Imperial Force Training Depot, Broadmeadows, in February 1915. Promoted to lieutenant in July, he immediately volunteered for a military aeronautics course at Central Flying School, Point Cook.

Selected for flying training at Point Cook in August 1915, McNamara made his first solo flight in a Bristol Boxkite on 18 September and graduated as a pilot in October. On 6 January 1916, he was assigned as adjutant to No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps (also known until 1918 as No. 67 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps). In March, McNamara departed Melbourne for Egypt.

On 20 March 1917, McNamara, flying a Martinsyde, was one of four No. 1 Squadron pilots taking part in a raid against a Turkish railway junction near Gaza. Owing to a shortage of bombs, the aircraft were each armed with six specially modified 4.5-inch howitzer shells. McNamara had successfully dropped three of his shells when the fourth exploded prematurely, badly wounding him in the leg with shrapnel, an effect he likened to being “hit with a sledgehammer”. Having turned to head back to base, he spotted a fellow squadron member from the same mission, Captain Douglas Rutherford, on the ground beside his crash-landed B.E.2. Allied airmen had been hacked to death by enemy troops in similar situations, and McNamara saw that a company of Turkish cavalry was fast approaching Rutherford’s position. Despite the rough terrain and the gash in his leg, McNamara landed near Rutherford in an attempt to rescue him.

As there was no spare cockpit in the single-seat Martinsyde, the downed pilot jumped onto McNamara’s wing and held the struts. McNamara crashed while attempting to take off because of the effects of his leg wound and Rutherford’s weight overbalancing the aircraft. The two men, who had escaped further injury in the accident, set fire to the Martinsyde and dashed back to Rutherford’s B.E.2. Rutherford repaired the engine while McNamara used his revolver against the attacking cavalry, who had opened fire on them. Two other No. 1 Squadron pilots overhead, Lieutenant (later Air Marshal Sir) Roy “Peter” Drummond and Lieutenant Alfred Ellis, also began strafing the enemy troops. McNamara managed to start the B.E.2’s engine and take off, with Rutherford in the observer’s cockpit. In severe pain and close to blacking out from loss of blood, McNamara flew the damaged aircraft 70 miles (110 km) back to base at El Arish.

Having effected what was described in the Australian official history of the war as “a brilliant escape in the very nick of time and under hot fire”, McNamara “could only emit exhausted expletives” before he lost consciousness shortly after landing. Evacuated to hospital, he almost died following an allergic reaction to a routine tetanus injection. McNamara had to be given artificial respiration and stimulants to keep him alive, but recovered quickly.

On 26 March, McNamara was recommended for the Victoria Cross (VC) by Brigadier General Geoffrey Salmond, General Officer Commanding Middle East Brigade, RFC. Drummond, Ellis, and Rutherford all wrote statements on 3–4 April attesting to their comrade’s actions, Rutherford declaring that “the risk of Lieut. MacNamara being killed or captured was so great that even had he not been wounded he would have been justified in not attempting my rescue – the fact of his already being wounded makes his action one of outstanding gallantry – his determination and resource and utter disregard of danger throughout the operation was worthy of the highest praise”. The first and only VC awarded to an Australian airman in World War I.

When World War II broke out in September 1939, McNamara was serving as Air Liaison Officer at Australia House in London, a position he had held since January 1938. Shortly before being promoted air commodore in December, he advocated establishing a reception base to act as a headquarters for the RAAF in England and “generally to watch the interests of Australian personnel” who were stationed there. By November 1940 he had reversed his position, in favour of an Air Ministry proposal to process personnel of all nationalities in one RAF base camp. In the event, RAAF Overseas Headquarters was formed on 1 December 1941; Air Marshal Richard Williams was appointed Air Officer Commanding (AOC) and McNamara Deputy AOC. McNamara became acting air vice marshal and acting AOC of RAAF Overseas Headquarters when Williams returned to Australia in January 1942 for what was expected to be a temporary visit; Williams was subsequently posted to Washington, D.C. and McNamara retained command of the headquarters until the end of the year.

McNamara was summarily retired from the RAAF in 1946, along with several other senior commanders and veterans of World War I. He died of hypertensive heart failure on 2 November 1961, aged 67, after suffering a fall at his home in Buckinghamshire. Survived by his wife and two children, he was buried at St Joseph’s Priory, Austin Wood, Gerrards Cross.

References:

  • Chisholm, Alec H. (ed.) (1947). Who’s Who in Australia 1947. Melbourne: The Herald and Weekly Times
  • Coulthard-Clark, Chris. The Third Brother: The Royal Australian Air Force 1921–39. 1991, North Sydney: Allen & Unwin
  • Coulthard-Clark, Chris. McNamara VC: A Hero’s Dilemma. 1997, Canberra: Air Power Studies Centre
  • Garrisson, A.D. (1986). “McNamara, Frank Hubert (Francis) (1894–1961)”. Australian Dictionary of Biography: Volume 10. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
  • Herington, John. Australia in the War of 1939–1945: Series Three (Air) Volume IV – Air Power Over Europe 1944–1945. 1963, Canberra: Australian War Memorial.
  • Stephens, Alan. The Royal Australian Air Force: A History. 2006, London: Oxford University Press 
  • Stephens, Alan; Isaacs, Jeff . High Fliers: Leaders of the Royal Australian Air Force. 1996, Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service

Research: Graeme Reilly (ALHS 2019)

A lot of the Streets and Roads in Laverton are named after members of the Australian Flying Corps and R.A.A.F. who distinguished themselves, or are remembered for a specific reason, this is one of those stories.

Eaton Parade recognises the exploits of Brian Alexander Eaton (1916–1992), air force officer, who was born on 15 December 1916 at Launceston, Tasmania, eldest child of Sydney Alexander Eaton, importers’ agent, and his wife Hilda, née Mason. The family moved to Camberwell, Victoria. Brian was educated at Carey Baptist Grammar School, Kew, and Matriculation College, Melbourne.

He had intended to study medicine but after his father’s death in a car accident that left the family struggling financially, he joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Appointed to a cadetship at Point Cook on 20 January 1936, he graduated as a pilot and was commissioned on 1 January 1937. His initial training aircraft included the World War I types, the Avro Cadet and Wapiti, before he moved on to the Demon and Bulldog.

Eaton’s early years in the RAAF involved flying and flying instructional duties. On 1 September 1939 he was promoted to flight lieutenant and a year later to squadron leader. Posted to Darwin as a fighter controller in March 1942, he was present during a number of Japanese attacks on the city.

In January 1943 Eaton joined No. 3 Squadron, RAAF, in the Middle East and assumed command in April. His record of service in operations over North Africa, Malta, Sicily, Italy, and Yugoslavia from 1943 to 1945 was to be exceptional. In his first weeks in action he was forced down three times in North Africa, on one occasion landing in the middle of a tank battle and being rescued by New Zealand soldiers. Near Termoli, Italy, in October he led an attack that disrupted a strong enemy ground force. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his leadership, courage, and tenacity. Promoted to wing commander in December, he was posted to No. 1 Mobile Operations Room Unit, Italy, in February 1944. Two months later he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO)  in recognition of his effectiveness in inflicting damage on the enemy during many sorties and excellence as a leader and commander.

Eaton took command of the Royal Air Force’s (RAF)  No. 239 Wing in August 1944. He led a strike in December against the Bjelovar barracks, Yugoslavia, for which he received a Bar to his DSO. His other decorations were the American Silver Star and Yugoslavia’s Cross of Valour. Hostilities in Europe ceased in May 1945.

Between 1947 and 1949 he served in Japan in command of the RAAF’s No. 81 fighter wing; as officer-in-charge, British Command Air Headquarters; and as  RAAF component commander, British Commonwealth Occupation Force. Following a staff posting in Melbourne, he commanded (1951–54) the RAAF’s No. 78 Fighter Wing, Malta.

On 10 May 1952 at the Presbyterian Church, Toorak, Melbourne, Eaton had married Josephine Rumbles. He was director of operations, Melbourne (1955–57); commander, RAAF Base, Williamtown, New South Wales (1957–59); and director overseeing joint staff plans, Canberra (1959–60). After completing the 1961 Imperial Defence College course in London, he held important staff and command appointments: director-general of  operational requirements, Canberra (1962–66); deputy chief of the Air Staff (1966–67); air officer commanding, No. 224 Group, Far East Air Force (FEAF), Singapore (1967–68); and chief of staff, headquarters, FEAF (1968–69). Having been promoted to air commodore on 1 January 1963, he rose to air vice marshal on 1 January 1968. Appointed CBE (1959) and CB (1969), he was universally liked and respected as a commander.

Retiring from the RAAF on 14 December 1973, he became an executive with Rolls-Royce Australia Ltd. In 1985 he suffered a stroke. Survived by his wife, son, and two daughters, he died on 17 October 1992 in Woden Valley Hospital, Canberra, and was buried in Gungahlin cemetery.

References:

  • Herald (Melbourne). ‘The Boss Packs It In.’ 12 January 1974, pg 25
  • National Archives of Australia. A12372, R/344/P. A471, 27813
  • Stephens, Alan. Going Solo: The Royal Australian Air Force 1946-1971. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1995
  • Stephens, Alan. The Royal Australian Air Force: A History. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Research: Graeme Reilly (ALHS 2019)

A lot of the Streets and Roads in Laverton are named after members of the Australian Flying Corps and R.A.A.F. who distinguished themselves, or are remembered for a specific reason, this is one of those stories.

Cole Street acknowledges the achievements of Adrian Lindley Trevor Cole (1895-1966), air force officer, who was born on 19 June 1895 at Glen Iris, Melbourne, fourth child of Robert Hodgson Cole, barrister and medical practitioner, and his wife Helen Helmsley, née Hake. Cole obtained a commission in the Australian Military Forces in August 1914, but resigned in order to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force on 28 January 1916. As he wanted to become a pilot, he was posted to No.1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, and in March embarked with it for Egypt; he was promoted second lieutenant in June and began flying training in August.

Operating in support of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force’s advance to Palestine, on 20 April 1917 Cole and another pilot attacked and disorganized six enemy aircraft about to bomb a cavalry formation near Gaza; for his skill and courage, Cole was to be awarded the Military Cross. Next day, while he was reconnoitering Tel el Sheria, the motor of his Martinsyde was hit by anti-aircraft fire and he came down behind Turkish lines, Captain (Sir) Richard Williams landed and rescued Cole.

In June, when returning from a strike against Turkish Fourth Army headquarters on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, Cole landed in hostile territory near Beersheba to help stricken comrades. Because the undercarriage of his aircraft broke during his attempted take off, he and his companions had to walk across no man’s land to safety.In the 7 October mass raid on roads and railway stations at Lille, he led his flight with initiative and determination, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his part in the action. Having downed another enemy aircraft later that month, Cole returned to Melbourne where his A.I.F. appointment terminated on 20 June 1919.

He briefly entered business as an importer, before taking a permanent commission on 31 March 1921 in the (Royal) Australian Air Force. On 30 November at St Peter’s Chapel, Melbourne Grammar School, he married a cousin Katherine Shaw Cole.

Cole commanded No.1 Flying Training School, Point Cook, Victoria, in 1926-29, and was air member for supply on the Air Board in 1933-36. Wing Commander Cole had been deputy-chairman of the sub-committee that planned the international air race (conducted for the 1934 Victorian centenary celebrations) and did much of the organizing for the event. He was promoted group captain on 1 January 1935 and appointed C.B.E. in 1937.

Commanding officer (1936-37) of R.A.A.F. Station, Richmond, New South Wales, Cole attended the Imperial Defence College, London, in 1938, and was in command of the base at Laverton, Victoria, on the outbreak of World War II. His promotion to temporary air commodore in December 1939 complemented his increasingly important postings to staff and operational duties in New South Wales and Victoria. In September 1941 Cole was attached to the R.A.F.’s Western Desert Air Force, North Africa, where he briefly commanded No.235 Wing.

On 15 October he became air officer commanding, Northern Ireland, with the rank of acting air vice marshal. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his performance during the assault against Dieppe.

Repatriated in May 1943, Cole was posted as A.O.C., North-Western Area, on 21 July. From his headquarters in Darwin he organized the air defence of the region and launched strikes against Japanese shipping and shore facilities. Later in the year his forces bolstered the Allies’ offensive in New Guinea by reducing enemy strength in the Netherlands East Indies. Appointed air member for personnel on the Air Board in October 1944, he left for India in January 1945 to assume the post of R.A.A.F. liaison officer on the staff of the supreme allied commander, South East Asia. Retiring on 17 April 1946, he was promoted substantive air commodore and granted the rank of honorary air vice marshal that day.

He died of chronic respiratory disease on 14 February 1966 in Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital; after an air force funeral in the Anglican chapel, R.A.A.F. Station, Laverton, his body was interred in the family vault at Camperdown cemetery. His wife, two sons and two daughters survived him.

References:

  • G. Odgers, Air War Against Japan 1943-1945 (Canberra, 1957)
  • D. N. Gillison, Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942 (Canberra, 1962)
  • C. D. Coulthard-Clark, The Third Brother (Sydney, 1991)
  • Herald (Melbourne), 21 Apr 1934
  • Cole papers (Australian War Memorial)
  • Australian War Memorial records.

Research: Graeme Reilly (ALHS 2019)

A lot of the Streets and Roads in Laverton are named after members of the Australian Flying Corps and R.A.A.F. who distinguished themselves, or are remembered for a specific reason, this is one of those stories.

Cobby Street acknowledges the exploits and achievements of Air Commodore Arthur Henry “Harry” Cobby, CBE, DSO, DFC & Two Bars, GM (26 August 1894 – 11 November 1955) as an Australian military aviator. He was the leading fighter ace of the Australian Flying Corps during World War I, with 29 victories, in spite of the fact that he saw active service for less than a year.

Born 1894 and educated in Melbourne, Cobby was a bank clerk when war broke out, and was prevented by his employer (the Commonwealth Bank) from enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force until 1916. After completing flight training in England, he served on the Western Front with No. 4 Squadron AFC, operating Sopwith Camels. His achievements as a fighter pilot were recognised with the Distinguished Service Order, the Distinguished Flying Cross and two bars, and a mention in despatches. Cobby claimed an early victory, over a DFW reconnaissance plane, in February 1918, but this was credited only as “driven down” and not confirmed. Based in the Pas-de-Calais area, No. 4 Squadron supported Allied forces during the German Spring Offensive that commenced the following month. Cobby’s aerial opponents included members of Baron von Richthofen’s “Flying Circus”. On 21 March he shot down two of the formation’s Albatros D.Vs, which were confirmed as his first official victories.

Acclaimed a national hero, Cobby transferred to the newly formed Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1921 and rose to the rank of wing commander. Re-joining the Air Force at the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Cobby held senior posts including Director of Recruiting and Air Officer Commanding North-Eastern Area. In 1943, he was awarded the George Medal for rescuing fellow survivors of an aircraft crash. He was appointed Air Officer Commanding No. 10 Operational Group (later Australian First Tactical Air Force) the following year, but was relieved of his post in the wake of the “Morotai Mutiny” of April 1945.

Retiring from the Air Force in 1946, Cobby served with the Department of Civil Aviation until his death on Armistice Day in 1955.

References:

  • Sydney Morning Herald, and Advertiser (Adelaide), 12 Nov 1955
  • D. N. Gillison, Royal Australian Air Force, 1939-1942 (Canberra, 1962)
  • A. W. Bazley, ‘Celebrities of the A.I.F., Captain A. H. Cobby’, Reveille (Sydney), Nov 1937

Research: Graeme Reilly (ALHS 2019)

A lot of the Streets and Roads in Laverton are named after members of the Australian Flying Corps and R.A.A.F. who distinguished themselves, or are remembered for a specific reason, this is one of those stories.

Evans Crescent recognises the achievements of Air Marshal David Evans, AC, DSO, AFC (born Selwyn David Evans on 3 June 1925). David enlisted in the Air Force in 1943, graduating from flying school as a sergeant pilot, and was converting to Beaufort bombers when World War II ended.

He gained his commission as a pilot officer in 1947. From 1948 to 1949, he was a member of the Australian contingent operating C-47 Dakota transports in the Berlin Airlift. He was a flying instructor in the early 1950s, before becoming a VIP captain with the Governor-General’s Flight in 1954. His service in the flight earned him the Air Force Cross in 1957. In the 1960s Evans was twice posted to No. 2 Squadron, flying Canberra jet bombers: first as a flight commander when the unit was based in Malaysia from 1960 to 1962 and then as its commanding officer during the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1968. The Canberras achieved a high degree of accuracy on their bombing missions under his leadership, and he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order after completing his tour in Vietnam.

Evans held senior staff positions in the early 1970s, before serving as Officer Commanding RAAF Base Amberley from 1975 until 1977. Promoted to air vice marshal, he then became Chief of Air Force Operations. In this role he worked to improve the RAAF’s strategy for the defence of Australia, to fully exploit the “air-sea gap” on the northern approaches to the continent. Appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1981, he was Chief of Joint Operations and Plans for the Australian Defence Force before his promotion to air marshal and elevation to Chief of the Air Staff in April 1982.

He was raised to Companion of the Order of Australia in 1984. Retiring from the RAAF in May 1985, Evans began to write and lecture on defence matters, and also stood for election in Federal politics. He was a board member of and defence advisor to British Aerospace Australia (later BAE Systems Australia) from 1990 to 2009, and chairman of the National Capital Authority from 1997 until 2003. In 2001 he was awarded the Centenary Medal for his services to the ADF and the Canberra community. Evans retired as Chief of the Air Staff on 30 May 1985, having flown in excess of 8,600 hours during his RAAF career.

A lot of the Streets and Roads in Laverton are named after members of the Australian Flying Corps and R.A.A.F. who distinguished themselves, or are remembered for a specific reason, this is one of those stories.

Ulm Street acknowledges the exploits of Charles Thomas Philippe Ulm (1898-1934), aviator, born on 18 October 1898 at Middle Park, Melbourne, third son of Emile Gustave Ulm and Ada Emma, née Greenland. Charles was educated at state schools in Melbourne and Sydney (after his family moved to Mosman) and began work as a clerk in a stockbroking office. At the age of 16, Ulm enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) under the name Charles Jackson, stating his age was 20 years. He was wounded at Gallipoli in April 1915, returned to Australia and was discharged as a minor.

Ulm re-enlisted with the AIF under his own name in 1917. He served on the Western Front until he was wounded in 1918 and demobilised in 1919. Ulm married Isabel Amy Winter in November 1919, later divorcing and then marrying Mary Josephine ‘Jo’ Callaghan in 1927.

Ulm had returned to Australia following the end of WWI with a keen interest in commercial aviation and supported Charles Kingsford-Smith and Keith Anderson. The men aimed to fly across the Pacific Ocean. Ulm and Kingsford Smith decided to fly around Australia to gain publicity and support for their venture. In June 1927, Ulm and Kingsford Smith completed the journey in 10 days, five hours and 30 minutes; easily eclipsing the 1924 record of 22 days.

In August 1927, Ulm, Kingsford Smith and Anderson travelled to California, seeking an aircraft and further sponsorship for their trans-Pacific flight. The team settled on a Fokker aircraft after Australian explorer Sir George Hubert Wilkins offered one of a pair of aircraft he had purchased, but found unsuitable, for his Arctic expeditions.

The Boeing Aircraft Factory assisted with alterations to the Fokker, including the installation of three Wright Whirlwind engines and extra fuel tanks. The plane was re-named Southern Cross. Anderson went to Hawaii to find landing grounds for the first stop of the journey and Ulm sought the best radio and navigational equipment. As the workload increased, the departure date was delayed and costs escalated. A grant from the New South Wales government and backing from businessman Sidney Myer and the Vacuum Oil Company helped but by March 1928, the men’s finances were exhausted and they were faced with selling the Southern Cross and abandoning their plans.

A chance meeting with Californian oil magnate Captain Allan Hancock resulted in Hancock buying the Southern Cross and covering the flight’s outstanding expenses. On 31 May 1928, Southern Cross took off from Oaklands, California, with Kingsford Smith as pilot and Ulm co-pilot. They were accompanied by American crew members Harry Lyon and James Warner, skilled in the operation of the navigational and radio equipment that was essential to the success of the flight.

After flying blind through huge banks of cloud, Southern Cross and crew arrived at Wheeler Field, near Honolulu, exhausted and temporarily deafened from the noise of the engines. They spent a day checking the aircraft and revising navigation plans, before leaving early on 3 June for the next leg of their journey, from Hawaii to Fiji.

During the 5042-kilometre flight from Oahu to Suva, the aviators faced radio problems, storms, a suspected fuel leak and constant concern about fuel consumption. When they landed at Albert Park in Suva on 5 June 1928, they had completed what was the then longest flight across water. As Albert Park was unsuitable for taking off with the Southern Cross fully loaded, they sent their supplies and fuel separately by ship to nearby Naselai Beach, where they started the final leg of their journey. The final leg of the journey took Ulm and Kingsford Smith through some of their most treacherous conditions, with constant storms hammering the aircraft. Southern Crossand crew arrived at Eagle Farm, Brisbane, on 9 June 1928, having completed the 11,585 kilometre crossing in 83 hours, 38 minutes of flying time.

On 3 June, 1929, Ulm and Kingsford Smith received their Air Force Crosses from Governor-General John Lawrence Baird, Lord Stonehaven, in a ceremony at Admiralty House, Sydney. The pilots were awarded honorary commissions in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Kingsford Smith was appointed honorary squadron-leader, Ulm flight-lieutenant.

In September 1934, Ulm established a new company, Great Pacific Airways, to operate an air service between San Francisco and Sydney. He purchased a twin-engine Airspeed Envoy for the venture and named it Stella Australis.

Ulm travelled to England by steamship to take receipt of the new aircraft, which was shipped to Canada on completion. On 3 December 1934, Ulm and crew, George Littlejohn and J Leon Skilling, left Oakland, California, on a test flight to Honolulu. They failed to reach Wheeler Field, disappearing without trace in the Pacific Ocean. An extensive search carried out by the United States naval and military commands ended after a month.

References: 

  • Sydney Morning Herald, 25 June 1929, 13 Dec 1934
  • John McCarthy, ‘Ulm, Charles Thomas Philippe (1898–1934)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/ulm-charles-thomas-philippe-8896/text15627, published first in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 24 January 2019
  • Michael Molkentin, Flying the Southern Cross: Aviators Charles Ulm and Charles Kingsford Smith, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 2012

Research: Graeme Reilly (ALHS 2019)

A lot of the Streets and Roads in Laverton are named after members of the Australian Flying Corps and R.A.A.F. who distinguished themselves, or are remembered for a specific reason, this is one of those stories.

Charlesworth Street acknowledges the contribution and attainments of Alan Moorhouse Charlesworth (1903-1978), Air Vice Marshal CBE, AFC, who was born on 17 September 1903 at Lottah, Tasmania, son of Edwin Moorhouse Charlesworth and wife Louisa, née Johnston. Educated at the local state school and St Virgil’s College, Hobart, in 1920 Alan entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon, ACT.

After serving with the 2nd Light Horse Regiment in Queensland, on 27 January 1925 he was seconded to the Royal Australian Air Force and began flying training at Point Cook, Victoria. In March he was injured in an aircraft accident in which his instructor was killed.

On attaining his pilot’s wings, in July 1925 Charlesworth was posted to No.1 Squadron at Laverton; in January 1928 he transferred permanently to the R.A.A.F. and next month was promoted flight lieutenant. He married Edith Margaret Bennett on 30 April in St Kilda, before embarking in May for England to attend courses at the Royal Air Force School of Photography, Farnborough. Having been attached in 1929-30 to the R.A.F. Survey Flight in British Somaliland, he returned to Melbourne. Again, posted to No.1 Squadron, in 1932 he flew around Australia with W. G. Woolnough to make aerial surveys of potential oilfields; for his work, Charlesworth was awarded the Air Force Cross. While on his third posting to No.1 Squadron (1934-39), he exercised temporary command on several occasions.

From 1 March 1939, when he was promoted wing commander, Charlesworth held command and staff posts of increasing seniority. In September 1944, with the rank of temporary air commodore, he was posted to Darwin as air officer commanding, North-Western Area. His squadrons carried out offensive strikes to protect the southern flank of the allied drive from New Guinea to the Philippines. He was appointed C.B.E. (1946) for his skilful conduct of air operations.

After being sent to England in August 1946 for instruction at the R.A.F. School of Air Support, in February 1947, Charlesworth became commandant of the School of Land/Air Warfare at Williamtown, New South Wales. During his tour of duty (1949-51) as chief of staff at headquarters, British Commonwealth Occupation Force, Japan, in September 1950 he briefly took charge of the base administration of No.77 Squadron in Korea.

In 1951-53 he was acting air vice marshal while A.O.C., Southern (Training) Command, Melbourne. He had charge of R.A.A.F. overseas headquarters, London, until his air force career ended on 31 December 1955; he was granted the rank of honorary air vice marshal next year. Director of recruiting for the armed services in 1958-59, he later became a judge associate of the Supreme Court of Victoria. Survived by his wife and daughter, Charlesworth died on 21 September 1978 at his Glen Iris home.

References:

  • D. Coulthard-Clark, The Third Brother(Syd, 1991)
  • Table Talk(Melbourne), 10 May 1928
  • Argus(Melbourne), 3 June 1933
  • Age(Melbourne), 23 Sept 1978

Research: Graeme Reilly (ALHS 2019)

Cameron Street runs East to West from Merton Street ending at the edge of the Princess Freeway and runs past Kiora Street, which is where the Cameron family, after whom the street is named, lived and raised their family.

Alexander John Cameron (b. 1858 d. 1944) and Agnes Cameron nee Spitty (b. 1869 d. 1952) arrived in Laverton, with their eight children around 1907 and settled into Kiora Street. The family had moved across Melbourne having previously lived in the Cranbourne and then Hastings area to settle in the new suburb of Laverton. Alexander was born in Scotland and migrated to Australia, with his family, as a three-year-old around 1861. Agnes was born in Horsham in 1869 and the couple married in 1890.

After moving into Laverton, the Cameron’s added to the already eight children with another four children born in the first seven years after they settled in Laverton. A number of the Cameron children attended the Laverton Primary school in Kiora Street and were involved in a number of the sporting clubs within Laverton.

During WWI, the Cameron family saw three sons, John Alexander, Alexander Ronald and William Duncan enlist in the A.I.F. and serve overseas. The family was fortunate, and thankful, that all three returned home safely and were honored by the town and also the Werribee Shire for their service. Their names appear on the Honor Board at the old Laverton school.

Alexander John Cameron passed away in November 1944 and his wife, Agnes, passed away in June 1952. Both are buried within the Werribee cemetery having spent a large part of their lives within Laverton and the family contributing much to this small suburb.