"Miss Flinders" - A significant part of Aviation Heritage of Tasmania

“Miss Flinders” is a Desoutter Mk. II Monoplane, with the Australian Registration VH-UEE.

It arrived in Tasmania in March 1932, and began flying passengers from Western Junction to Flinders Island.

The timeline below summarises the history of “Miss Flinders”. (Special thanks to both Geoff Goodall  and Fred Niven for their detailed histories of the plane).

Miss Flinders on display at QVMAG
"Miss Flinders" on display at QVMAG at Inveresk,, February 2020

The TAHS became the custodians of Miss Flinders in March 2020, when it was removed from display at the QVMAG.

Historical Aircraft curators carefully dismantled the plane and prepared it for storage. 

In February 2021 it was reassembled and displayed in the Launceston Airport Terminal, as part of the 90th Anniversary of the official opening of Western Junction Aerodrome on 28 Feb 1931.

Miss Flinders VH-UEE on display at Launceston Airport - February 2021
Miss Flinders on Display at Launceston Airport February 2021

Miss Flinders Timeline

DateOwner (Location)DetailsFlying Hours
1930, Jul 18De Havilland Aircraft Co (Stag Lane Aerodrome, England)Gipsy Three Motor, serial number 3046 produced
1930, Aug 30Desoutter Aircraft Co (Croydon Aerodrome, England)Aircraft built at Croydon Aerodrome London by the Desoutter Aircraft Co Ltd and powered by a de Havilland Gipsy Mk III engine, (serial number 3046) and first flight undertaken.
1930, Sep 01Iona National Air Taxis and Flying School (Ireland)Airworthiness certificate issued
1930, Sep 05Iona National Air Taxis and Flying School (Ireland)Flown to Ireland.
1930,Oct 20Iona National Air Taxis and Flying School (Ireland)Registered as El-AAD, the fourth plane (and first commercial plane) to be registered in Ireland
1931, Apr 21Iona National Air Taxis and Flying School (Ireland)Departs Ireland for England and subsequently sold
1931, Jul 29Robert Barker (United Kingdom)Registered as G-ABOM
1931, Nov 11Hart Air Services (Melbourne)Purchased the plane, to be flown back to Australia by Harold Jeffrey and Harry Jenkins68 Hours
1931, Dec 27 to 1932, Feb 10Hart Air Services (Melbourne)Fly the plane to Australia in stages by Jeffrey and Jenkins via India, arrived in Darwin after 44 days, 147 hours flying time 225 Hours
1932, Mar 11Laurie Johnson (Tasmania)Registered as VH-UEE, “Miss Flinders” to carry three people
1932, Mar 18Laurie Johnson (Tasmania)First regular passenger service to Flinders Island
1932, Mar 21Laurie Johnson (Tasmania)First aero medical evacuation from Flinders Island to Western Junction, piloted by Laurie Johnson
1932, Oct 01Tasmanian Aerial Services (Tasmania)Laurie Johnson and the Holyman Brothers amalgamate
1933,Feb 27Tasmanian Aerial Services (Tasmania)The first aero medical evacuation from King Island to Essendon, piloted by Laurie Johnson
1934, Jul 18Holyman’s Airways (Tasmania)Tasmanian Aerial Services renamed as Holyman’s Airways and registration transferred to new company
1935, Jun 11Holyman’s Airways (Tasmania)Flown from Tasmania to Mascot , Engine No 30461,030 Hours
1935, Jul 23de Havilland Aircraft Co. Mascot (NSW) Sold in part payment for a new aircraft (DH 86) purchased by Holyman Airways
1935, Oct 18John Larkin (Sydney)Private and charter activities1,054 Hours
1936, Aug 17George P. Hoskins (Sydney)Private and charter activities1,098 Hours
1937, Jan 21George P. Hoskins (Sydney)Accident at Mascot, requiring rebuild 1,320 Hours
1937, Dec 16George P. Hoskins (Sydney)Plane rebuilding commenced and worked on at different times
1938, Nov 15Jack R. Pater (Warragul)Plane flown from Mascot to Essendon, Private use
1939, Apr 24Charles D. Pratt (Essendon)Pratt Flying school at Coode Island (Victoria)1,429 Hours
1941, Feb 09Charles D. Pratt (Essendon)Placed in storage 1,664 Hours
1941- 1946Charles D. Pratt (Melbourne)During WWII, and the curtailment of civil flying, the aircraft was dismantled and stored at Essendon
1946, Sep 28Wollongong and South Coast Aviation Services (NSW) Charter flying and instruction
1947, Feb 28Wollongong and South Coast Aviation Services (NSW) Aircraft reassembled and repaired. by Alan Brierley Smith. Gypsy Major Engine (no 167) installed
1947, Jul 08 Wollongong and South Coast Aviation Services (NSW) Gypsy Major Engine (no 398) installed 1,760 Hours
1948, Aug 31Wollongong and South Coast Aviation Services (NSW) Last entry in Logbook no 2, (Logbook 3 missing)2,106 Hours
1948, Oct 28Wollongong and South Coast Aviation Services (NSW)Damaged in wind storm when blown against a DC3 and put into storage
1949, Dec 12South Coast Airways (Wollongong)Company renamed.
1951, Aug 06South Coast Airways (Wollongong)Removed from Department of Civil Aviation register
1952, Jan 25South Coast Airways (Wollongong)Restored and Registration changed to VH-BQE
1953, Jan 05Walter. E. James (Wollongong)
1953, Jul 14Airmech (NSW)Illawarra Flying School, Bankstown
1954, May 14Richard C. T. Burt (Baradine NSW)
1956, May 25Australian Aircraft Sales (Sydney)
1957, Jan 17Rain Air Taxis (Bourke NSW)Charter flying, named “Jeerbin”
1958, Jan 16Rain Air Taxis (Bourke NSW)Airworthiness certificate lapsed, placed in storage as it has no commercial value. (Rain Air Taxis ceased operation in 1961)
1961, Sep 05Struck off Civil Aviation Plane Register
1962Department of Civil AviationDiscussions commenced between Dept of Civil Aviation and the Launceston Branch of the Air Force Association to acquire and display Miss Flinders at the new Launceston Terminal
1963, AugustDepartment of Civil AviationOffer to donate Miss Flinders to Airforce Association of Tasmania
1965, SepDepartment of Civil AviationThe Commonwealth Government purchase the plane, to allow the Airforce Association of Tasmania to restore and display the plane in the new Launceston Terminal
1966, Jun 23Department of Civil AviationDismantled plane is flown from Melbourne to Launceston in ANSETT-ANA Carvair VH-INJ
1966, Oct 29Department of Civil AviationLaunceston Terminal opened with Miss Flinders on display
1997Dept of Transport (Launceston)Removed from display at Launceston Airport and transferred to QVMAG storage
2006Dept of Transport (Launceston)On display at QVMAG
2010, AprDept of Transport (Launceston)QVMAG begin restoration of Miss Flinders
2011, MayDept of Transport (Launceston)On display at QVMAG Inveresk
2020. Mar 10Dept of Transport (Launceston)Removed from display at QVMAG
2020, Mar 23TAHS (Tasmania)Dismantled plane in storage at Western Junction until a new display home can be found
2021, Feb 22TAHS (Tasmania)Remove from storage, relocated and re-assembly commenced.
2021, Feb 28TAHS (Tasmania)The display at Launceston Airport Departure Hall is officially opened

Articles

Links

Desoutter Monoplanes in Australia  Compiled by Geoff Goodal

Notes on Desoutteer Aircraft ‘Miss Flinders’ by Rex Woodford 

A brief history of  Miss Flinders: Launceston’s pioneering plane by Julian Burgess (Feb 2020)

Videos of the Mark I Desoutter which is still flying in England: Flight and Pilot Discussion