CRASH OF A WIRRAWAY
AT MOUNT DISAPPOINTMENT
6 MILES NORTH OF WHITTLESEA, VIC
ON 21 JULY 1953

 

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Wirraway

 

I visited this crash site and 3 others on 1 March 2000 with Les Lewis, and his friends Rob Pocock, and Ken "Roach" Brookes. In fact these were the first crash sites that I have ever visited. This was despite the fact that by that time I had already posted the details of 1,085 crashes of WW2 aircraft in Australia on my home pages. In fact I visited 4 crash sites in three and a half hours on on Mount Disappointment that day in March. Quite an interesting day.

 

Les Lewis, Rob Pocock, and Ken "Roach" Brookes

 

After looking at the crash of a Beaufighter we proceed to the site of CA9 Wirraway A20-573 which crashed on 21 July 1953. There was certainly plenty of evidence of the remains of this aircraft. The 19 year old pilot of this Wirraway was tragically killed. The remains of this crash were not found until over a year later when a Forestry Commission worker discovered it on 16 August 1954.

 


Photo:- via Vicki Shaw

Pilot Terence Peter Hallinan

 


Photo:- via Vicki Shaw

Pilot Terence Peter Hallinan

 

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The following summary of this crash was supplied by Les Lewis:-

 

A20-573. CA9 Wirraway

A synopsis of the tragedy on 21st. July 1953

Location: Mt. Disappointment. Approx. 1 mile north east of the peak.

Unit: 1 AFTS Point Cook.

Date: 21st July 1953.

Time: Night.

Pilot: Trainee Pilot A14167 Terence Peter Hallinan [aged 19 years from Tinana Qld.]

Crew: None.

The pilot was killed.

Details: The aircraft was airborne at 210923Z at Point Cook, for a night cross-country excercise (The authorised route -: Point Cook, Cressy, Ballarat, Baccus Marsh, Point Cook.)

Last Radio contact was made at about 211020Z. At that time the aircraft reported its position as "Abeam Baccus Marsh ".

Probable Cause: Unknown.

Extract from Aircraft Status Card. "Search aircraft are endeavoring to locate. 22nd July 1953."

The aircraft remained missing for over twelve months until finally found by a forestry commission worker on the 16th August 1954.

The remains of the pilot were found inside the aircraft, which lay upside down in a crater made by the impact.

Following the removal of the remains and examination of the aircraft, several components were salvaged and the remaining wreckage was bulldozed into the crater.

The cause of the crash remains as a matter for speculation however the most likely scenario is as noted here.

The authorised course for the night navigation excersise was from Point Cook to Cressey, Ballarat, Baccus Marsh, and return to Point Cook.

If the pilot had mistakenly set the heading for Ballarat as the first leg instead of Cressey, then he would have actually flown a similar pattern except that it would be Ballarat, Castlemaine, Kilmore, and as he would have seen the lights of Melbourne and at some 35 miles distance mistook them for Geelong, then the error would have caused him to crash as he let down into cloud not knowing that the mountain lay below.

This is borne out by the statement that Essendon tower had received the last call, and felt that the transmission came from the north.

Also hearing the transmission was a Trans Australian Airlines aircraft in the vicinity of Kilmore who felt that the aircraft was close, and had instructed his co piilot to keep a watch in the event of evasive action being necessary.

We will never know exactly what happened aside from the sad fact that on a cold and misty night a young man crashed his plane on the mountain.

No one heard the sound.

He died alone.

 

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Les Lewis's photos

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Mount Disappointment (802 metres) - view from the south

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Top and starboard side showing top of RAAF roundel and yellow colours

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Base of tail on starboard side showing colours

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Wreckage site

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View from the front of the aircraft. Note the airframe is partly buried

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Aft swivel seat and flare canister

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Tail section showing tailwheel stirrup and gear

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Triangular framework

 

My photos from the 1 March 2000

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The remains of A20-573. Les Lewis, Rob Pocock, and Ken "Roach" Brookes (left to right)

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The remains of A20-573. Les Lewis, Rob Pocock, and Ken "Roach" Brookes (left to right)

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The remains of A20-573. Les Lewis, Rob Pocock, and Ken "Roach" Brookes (left to right)

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The remains of A20-573. Les Lewis, Rob Pocock, and Ken "Roach" Brookes (left to right)

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Les Lewis inspecting the remains of the Wirraway in the hole in the forest

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A "not so good" photo of some of the remnants of A20-573

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Another shot of some of the remains of the Wirraway

 

My first visit
to a WW2 Crash Site

 

Whittlesea Home Page

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Les Lewis and Vicki Shaw for their assistance with this web page.

 

I need your help

Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 4 March 2000

This page last updated 05 September 2015