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 Doug Flockhart

First, for those of you reading the print edition of this edition of Gliding Australia Magazine, thank you for your support and enjoy the read! I’m excited that we could facilitate the return of the printed magazine for you, and of course there’s still the opportunity for those of you who have not yet subscribed, to do so via Just Go.

History is often overlooked in today’s fast moving society, so I think it’s important we reflect on where we’ve come from and the journey that got us to where we are today.

The year 1949 was a BIG one for Australia…

A federal election was held. The incumbent Australian Labor Party led by Ben Chifley was defeated by Robert Menzies' Liberal Party. On 18 December, Prime Minister-elect Robert Menzies announced his cabinet, including Dame Enid Lyons as Australia's first female Cabinet Minister.

Other events of note that year…

• The Nationality and Citizenship Act was passed. Rather than being identified as subjects of Britain, the Act established Australian citizenship for people who met eligibility requirements.
• Australia's domestic counterintelligence and security agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) was established.
• Indigenous Australians who are eligible to vote in state elections in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania are also given the right to vote in federal elections.
• A seven-week coal strike began, involving 23,000 miners and broken by the sending in of troops.
• Construction of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric scheme began.
• Daryl Braithwaite (singer), Rex Hunt (media personality), Red Symons (Skyhooks and media), Hector Thompson (boxer), John Farnham (singer), Dennis Lilly (cricketer), Shane Bourne (comedian and actor), were all born in this year.
• The Australian Grand Prix was held at Leyburn, and was won by John Crouch driving a Delahaye
• Foxami won the Melbourne Cup
• NSW won the Sheffield Shield
• Waltzing Matilda took line honours in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

That year the Gliding Federation of Australia, now Gliding Australia, was formed on 26 June 1949.

Gurth Kimber (Canberra Gliding Club) chaired the first meeting on 26 June 1949 attended by about 40 gliding people from around Australia, upon which it was decided to form a federation of State Gliding Associations, the Gliding Federation of Australia, or more commonly referred to as ‘The GFA’. (Source – Australian Gliding Museum)

Pro-term officers elected were:
• Mervyn Waghorn (President)
• Fred Hoinville (Secretary)
• Plus, two representatives from each state

A committee was required to draft and submit a constitution to State Associations within three (3) months.
The Technical Committee formed was…

• Geoff Richardson
• Norm Hyde
• Kevin Sedgman

First Glider Club?
The first Australian glider club was probably the pre-war Queensland Aero Club and Glider School which was formed in 1910 – it had about 40 members and several gliders.

The Geelong Gliding Club was the first ‘gliding only’ club established by Percy Pratt and others on 18th June 1929. The Geelong Club faded out by the mid to late 1930s, although Percy Pratt continued with a gliding school and associated gliding activities on Belmont Common. In the 1950s the current Geelong Gliding Club reactivated the original gliding club of 1929

Congratulations Gliding Australia, formed in 1949 now 75 years young!

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The attendees of  the annual Panels Meeting.

Panels Meetings

Each year, Gliding Australia holds a two-day, in-person Panels Meeting to review the past year, set future directions, and establish actionable goals.

This year, the panel office holders in attendance included Airworthiness Chair Anthony Smith, Operations Chair Aaron Stroop, and Soaring Development Chair Craig Vinall. They were joined by Safety Manager Drew McKinney, Executive Manager Operations Dave Boulter, and Executive Manager Airworthiness Dennis Stacey.

Many highly qualified individuals volunteer their time and expertise to serve on the panel groups, benefiting our members and the sport as a whole.

As a first-time attendee, I can attest that the contributions from everyone involved were thoughtful, respectful, and truly beneficial for our sport and its members. I'm pleased to report that many actions were agreed upon and will be implemented in the coming months. Special thanks to the Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC) management team for their valuable participation throughout the weekend.

While virtual meetings via Zoom or Teams have become the norm, they can't replicate the unique benefits of face-to-face interactions.

On a lighter note, as a Queenslander, I found the cold quite challenging. Yikes! It's no wonder 54,472 Australians chose to move to Queensland last year. Just saying!


• A ‘spruce up’ of the Gliding Australia office including updated signage has now been completed. For those that live in Victoria, or members if you’re visiting Melbourne, please feel free to drop in and have a cuppa with Tanya and Fiona and enjoy the new furnishings and colours. While there, check out the updated trophy cabinet.

• Gliding Australia Chairman Steve Pegler, Safety Manager Drew McKinnie and I recently made the trek to Canberra to meet with CASA CEO, Pip Spence. Issues discussed were Part 149, Aviation Safety, Integrity Policies, and the Safety Seminars we’re rolling out across Australia.

• Honourable Company of Air Pilots Australia (HCAPA) graciously offered two scholarships co-hosted through Gliding Australia, to be delivered by associated Gliding Clubs in Australia for applicants under 30 years of age. As I write this article, we’ve had 21 applications for the two scholarships, with shortlisted ‘finalist interviews’ currently being held. Good luck to all those who applied!

Until Next Time… Stay safe, stay connected, and continue to push the boundaries of what's possible in
the world of gliding and happy 75th anniiversary.

Ciao and warm regards,

Doug sig 3

Doug Flockhart
Chief Executive Officer
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