"Kurana" Plane CrashPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Graeme Saunders

A sign commemorates the crash of the Australian National Airlines plane, "Kurana" in November 1948.


Address:Cameron Drive, Mount Macedon, 3441
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.386453
Long: 144.577114
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Disaster
Actual Event STart Date:08-November-1948
Actual Event End Date:08-November-1948


Front Inscription

During 1937, Australian National Airways upgraded their equipment with larger capacity, all-metal aircraft.  They chose the DC-3 (Douglas Commercial type 3), built by Douglas Aircraft Company of California, U.S.A., buying four of these aircraft.  The Kurana, registration VH-UK, arrived in Australia in December 1937, exactly two years after the first of this type was airborne.

These DC-3 aircraft were the flagships of the fleet, operating on the trunk routes of the ANA network.

Following Australia`s declaration of war on Germany on the 3rd September 1939, the DC-3 fleet of ANA was requisitioned on charter by the RAAF, resulting in the Kurana becoming A30-2, on the 11th September.  These aircraft were outfitted for air/sea rescue and employed on coastal patrol and convoy protection.

Kurana returned to civilan service in February 1940, however, following Pear Harbour on the 7th December 1941, it was the first aircraft used in the evacuation of womenn and children from New Guinea to Australia.  Other wartime duties included secret missions and training of USAAF aircrews.  

With the coming of peace in 1945, the DC-3 fleet was augmented with war surplus aircraft until more modern designs were available.

This display depicts the crash of the aircraft Kurana in this vicinty on Monday the 8th November 1948, whilst on a routine flight from Melbourne to Sydney via the Riverina.  The crew comprised Captain Harry Warlow-Davies, First Officer James Barrington Keyes and Hostess Elizabeth Fry.  The nineteen passengers on board were Adam Armstrong, William Cassidy, Mrs. S. Cherry, Miss Dobbie, Frank Fitzmaurice, Keith Gordon, Norman Hall, Marion Hill, John Huntly, Mary Lynch, Robert McLaurin, Marjorie McLaurin, John McWilliam, John Mather, George Osborne, Sydney Ried, Alma Reid, Brian Walton and Lindsay Woods.

After some discussion with Air Traffic Control staff about the prevailing and expected cloud cover (at that time between 4000 and 8000 feet), the flight departed at 7.17 a.m.

At 7.40 a.m. Kurana clipped the tops of the trees, high on the southern face of Mount Macedon, finally slowed by a tall pine tree which impacted between the fuselage and the starboard engine, causing the aircraft to turn 180 degrees and sink to the ground, fortunately in a forest firebreak.  At the time of the crash, the mountain was enshrouded in cloud and misty rain.  Fire broke out in the frony to the wreckage, and Hostess Elizabeth Fry, after assisting the passengers to safety, with the help of those who were able, extricated the body of the Captain and the severly injured First Officer. 

Among the local residents to arrive at the scene to offer assitance were Maurice Cogger, Alan Hore, Ernest Mason, Steve Millard, John O`Brien, Jack Reed and Noel Ward.  Dr Lincoln of Woodend attended, as did the Kyneton ambulance, which took First Office

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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