VH-BRA. Boeing PB2B-2R Catalina. c/n 61193.

Was also registered as: A24-369.


This aircraft was built by Boeing for the United States Navy but it was not taken up

It was allocated the Bu '44287'

It was allocated to the Royal Air Force as a Catalina VI JZ834 but it was not taken up

Delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force - May 31, 1945

Entered onto the Australian Military Aircraft Register as A24-369 - ?

Issued to No 42 Squadron at Melville Bay, Darwin - July 05, 1945

Issued to No 43 Squadron - November 20, 1945

It was withdrawn from use and stored at Newcastle (Rathmines) - ?

It was deemed to be surplus to requirements and was struck-off-charge - ?

Sold to Christian Poulson & Stewart Middlemiss via Commonwealth Disposal Commission - October 08, 1946

The sale price was 500 Pounds

Poulson & Middlemiss had started Barrier Reef Airways

Ferried Rathmines - Colmsie (Brisbane River Base, Hamilton), Queensland - 1946

It was converted to seat 22 pasengers in four cabins

It flew a survey / check flight Brisbane - Gladstone - Heron Island - January 16, 1947

Entered onto the Australian Aircraft Register as VH-BRA - January 29, 1947

Registered to Barrier Reef Airways Ltd

The aircraft was named 'The Beachcomber'

Operated a charter flight Brisbane - Rockhampton - Mackay - Lindeman Island - Hayman Island - Bowen - Townsville

- Brisbane to allow Reginald M. Ansett to inspect various islands - June 25, 1947

After this flight Reg Ansett took a 99 year lease on Hayman Island

Operated its first Barrier Reef scheduled service Brisbane - Gladstone - Heron Island - July 12, 1947

Flight crew: Captain S. Middlemiss; F/O F. Kelly

Operated the first Barrier Reef Airways Brisbane - Daydream Island service - December 08, 1947

It was withdrawn from use and moored at Colmslie without engines - October 1951

Ownership was transferred to Ansett Flying Boats - December 15, 1952

Registered to Ansett Flying Boat Services - March 31, 1953

It did not return to service following its mooring at Colmslie in 1951

Cancelled from the Australian Aircraft Register - May 21, 1953

Sold for scrap and broken up at Colmslie



VH-BRA. Barrier Reef Airways - in the 'wartime' livery at Rathmines, date unknown.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 1040-398.)

VH-BRA. Barrier Reef Airways - in the silver livery at an unknown location, date unknown.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 1040-399.)

VH-BRA. Barrier Reef Airways - 'The Beachcomber' in the standard livery at Heron Island, circa 1947.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 1040-192.)