TryGliding Just Go membership Classifieds

The Balaklava Gliding Club’s 70th Anniversary Dinner was a big event in our calendar this year. Its importance in our club’s history cannot be overstated, and we felt that it needed to be recognised.

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The significance of current and past members coming together on Saturday, 16 March 2024, can’t be stressed enough. We discussed and reminisced about our club’s long and eventful history. Some 64 people attended.

The first flight at the club took place on 13 March 1954 in a Zogling. The club’s first president was Herb Heinrich. This was decided at a meeting held in Clare in 1953 of interested persons, and was followed shortly by a larger gathering when a committee was formed going forward with a constitution almost identical to that of the Adelaide Gliding Club.

The first airfield was on the western side of the Clare Hills followed by a move in 1957 to a field in Everard, west of Blyth. By this time the club had purchased a Kookaburra which was a much safer aircraft to train in and fly. Following this was a purchase of a Kingfisher and the Spruce Goose. This aircraft was a single seater owned by club members Noel Mathews, Neil Brown and Allan Hudson.

The original name of the club was the Clare Soaring Club. This was changed some time later to the Balaklava Gliding Club when the club relocated to our present location at Whitwarta in 1967.

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Some of the original club members. From left to right: Allan Hudson, Dean Underwood, Herb Heinrich, Dene Underwood, John Reid, Collin McKinnon, Nick Wood, Hedley Neuman, Clive Wakke, Bill Edwards

After dinner, Noel Mathews gave us an account of the club history showing slides of the early days of the club. Steve Pegler from Gliding Australia was also present on invitation from the club committee to give his views on Gliding Australia’s future going forward.

A great night was had by all, and will not be forgotten.

The Balaklava Gliding Club has a dedicated committee and members who keep this great club of ours flying. We always look forward to both new members and to anyone from Gliding Australia who would like to experience the mid north of South Australia. A great place to fly!

Tim Burn