BIG CAT: This
BIG CAT: This "Black Cat” Catalina taxis out to the runway at the Avalon International Air show in Victoria. Efforts are continuing to have one of the historic aircraft brought to Bowen. Contributed

Committee battles to bring WWII memorabilia to region

A PLANE with a strong connection to the Whitsundays region could soon be calling Bowen home.

The Catalina was an amphibious plane operated during World War II, including from a base in Bowen.

Due to its connection to the town, there has been a push for one to be stationed in Bowen permanently.

Mick Boyce is a member of the Coral Sea Catalina Heritage Museum Committee which is spearheading the push for a Catalina to be brought to Bowen.

"There's a Catalina that's sitting in Sydney and begging to be brought up here to Bowen," Mr Boyce said.

"It's just waiting for us to be able to have the correct opportunity for it.

"We presented, a few years ago, a concept plan for the Catalina Flying Boat Museum and Information Centre, which would not only house the plane but be a huge tourist destination."

The proposal included an interactive museum to showcase the history of the Catalina in the Whitsunday region, a large hangar that would house aircraft and large functions, as well as a cafe.

Mr Boyce said he was certain he would be able to obtain the funding for the plane when the time arose, however housing it safely would be difficult.

"We'd love to have the plane out somewhere like the foreshore where the Catalina memorial is, but it would rust away there," Mr Boyce said.

"That's why we have pushed for the museum as well, to aid the plane.

"Some people have been scared by the project proposal, but it's bigger than just the Catalina, it can start a whole swath of aviation interest in Bowen," he said.

In the meantime, Mr Boyce said the committee had obtained funding for a Catalina engine it hoped could be used to promote the history of the plane.

"They're big units these engines: 27 litres, 1200HP at 2600RPM and they're loud to back it up as well," he said.

"We'd like to be able to make it mobile so we could take it to events and air shows around the region and promote Bowen."


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