Thursday, December 29, 2011

New England's Air Wars

The following Rigby cartoon provides an insight into another element of New England's past, the air wars that dogged our skies from time to time.

The then Menzies Government had a two airline policy. There was no room under that policy for Tamworth based New England carrier East West Airlines as a separate airline.

In 1961, Civil Aviation Minister Shane Paltridge told EWA founder and Chairman Don Shand that EWA must merge with Ansett Airlines. When Shand revealed this, Paltridge denied that the conversation had taken place.

  David Drummond as MP for New England had been present at the discussions. Drummond was then 71 and in his final term. The Government had a wafer thin majority of one. Drummond tried to see PM Menzies to warn him, but without success.

White and shaking, Drummond rose to speak to an almost empty house. The house filled as he spoke, confirming Shand's versions of events. Given Drummond's reputation for honesty, no one doubted his words. The NSW Labor Government then came in in support.

Minister Paltridge and the Government hastily backtracked. EWA remained as an independent New England owned carrier. The cartoon captures the drama of the moment.    Rigby Air Wars


Mark said...

Another bit of history that I had no idea about.

Jim Belshaw said...

Interesting, isn't it Mark? That's one reason why I write, so that we know our own past!

Greg said...

Interesting Jim.

As an aside here is a link that you may or may not be aware of. You might find it interesting. Apologies if you have seen it before.