Ballina Aero Club's new clubhouse unveiled
WITH the effort put into building it, the unveiling of the Ballina Aero Club's new clubhouse would have been a big deal on any day.
But the 40-odd club members managed to add an extra dimension to their celebration by timing the opening to (almost) coincide with the 86th anniversary of Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith making landfall back in Australia after his record-setting trans-Pacific flight in the Southern Cross back on June 9, 1928.
Kingsford-Smith crossed over the coast near Ballina before heading north to land at Brisbane. His plane, the Southern Cross, remains on display near the Brisbane airport.
The effort involved in building a new clubhouse for the Ballina Aero Club wasn't nearly so epic as Smithy's famous voyage, but it was substantial enough.
"Fund raising for the clubhouse included a trip to Birdsville last year in September when a team from the Ballina Aero Club completely took over and operated the Birdsville Aerodrome during Birdsville Races week," club president Gary Faulks said in a written statement.
"The venture was a great project for the club as well as providing funds towards the Royal Flying Doctor Service Queensland. The club will continue to be involved in this project."
The weekend opening by Ballina Mayor David Wright and Page MP Kevin Hogan marked a major step for a club that dated back nearly as far as Smithy's immortal flight.
The Ballina Aero Club was believed to have first formed in 1929.
Since then the club had cycled through a few different names and faded in and out of existence a few times.
The current version had been running consistently since the 1970s, first as the Ballina Pilots Association before changing back to the Ballina Aero Club in 1980.
"The club is a social club with the members also actively involved in general aviation as well as light sport activities," Mr Faulks said in the statement.
"The club promotes safety and security in the skies and good airmanship. Membership enquiries are always welcomed."
Anyone interested in joining the club could phone 6686 2620 or 6687 7305.