Flyers of Time by Kevin O’Reilly

Book cover - Flyers of Time by Kevin O'ReillyFlyers of Time

by Kevin O’Reilly

Winner of the Victorian Community History Awards 2013 award for Local History

This collection of aviation reportings, documents and photographs began as the result of Kevin’s interest in recording the story of the World War II RAAF Base at Nhill in western Victoria. This was the town of his youth and he recalls the drone of radial engines over his home, and like most of the young boys of the town, longed for the day he could fly to the clouds like the Air Force boys. Unfortunately, circumstances never came his way to indulge this dream and apart from completing his National Service in the RAAF, Kevin remained mostly on the ground, still dreaming and looking skywards.

In Kevin’s research, he became impressed by the enthusiastic reporting of Fred McKenzie of the “Nhill Free Press”, who faithfully recorded aircraft comings and goings from the first aeroplane visit in 1919 until his passing in 1943. As most researchers will agree, it is hard not to explore every line of enquiry to its end and Kevin trusts that readers will be forgiving for the number of times Nhill is mentioned in this publication. During the 1920s, there were few aeroplanes with a range that would enable them to fly between capital cities without stopping to refuel. On flights between Melbourne and Sydney the refuel point was usually Cootamundra, NSW. Between Melbourne and Adelaide, the town of Nhill was almost exactly half-way and almost on the lay line for ease of navigation, with a prominent wheat silo and rail line with relatively flat surroundings, it became a logical “perch” for aircraft. Local town fathers were quick to seize on this fact and embraced the possibilities of a potential new asset.

Book award - Flyers of Time by Kevin O'Reilly

“Flyers of Time” concerns itself with aviation in country Victoria and

the Riverinaand largely excludes that from around Melbourne, Geelong and the RAAF. Inclusion of this material would have been at the expense of “bush” reports. Many of the black and white photographs included are regrettably of poor quality but better than nothing and are included for historical significance. In selecting a title for this book, Kevin’s mind kept returning to one of his favourite Victorian State histories, “Riders of Time” by Dame Mabel Brookes – Kevin is sure she would not have disapproved of him borrowing from it.


Click here to go to the Flyers of Time website for details about how to order.

Published in 2012

ISBN-13 978-0-646-57767-8

The Purple Stripe by Brian L. Hill

Book cover - The Purple Stripe by Brian L. HillThe Purple Stripe

by Brian L. Hill

A history of Flight Engineers in Australia

While the publication is essentially about FEOs, an enormous amount of material has been woven into the book to ensure that the Flight Engineer’s role is seen in the wider context of the Australian Airline Industry.

A brief history of each operator who used FEOs has been included, as well as the history of each type and why it was purchased. A brief technical description of the main FEO types is also provided. An extensive array of photographs, 3-view drawings, a large Glossary/Abbreviations section and a generous Index, complete a comprehensive history of not only Flight Engineers, but the Airline Industry in general.

The author takes the reader through the ‘warts and all’ aspects of the formation of the union and the fights that developed to keep the FEO as part of the crew. The historical Presidential Task Force in the US is covered as is the 1989 Pilot’s Dispute in Australia – the latter as seen by the AAFEA, who tried to bring the parties together.

At almost 900 pages and with more than 150 photographs, the Purple Stripe provides a valuable insight into many aspects of Australian aviation that have been either forgotten or misunderstood. While the role of the Flight Engineer is generally regarded as secondary to that of the pilot, they never-the-less performed a valuable role in an exemplary manner for more than 50 years. It is believed that this book will provide a valuable research source for those interested in Australian aviation.

Click here to go to the Southern Cross Publications website to order a copy.

Published 2012 by Southern Cross Publications.

ISBN-13 978-0987445506