Memorial for downed plane to be unveiled

By David Rak

At 8.30 am on January 31, 1945 a mail plane travelling from Melbourne to Broken Hill crashed in a paddock at Spring Plains near Mia Mia, killing the two pilots and eight passengers.

The crash occurred when a wing outboard of one of the motors suddenly separated from the plane, Tokana VHUYY — a modified Stinson in the Australian National Airways fleet.

Eyewitness accounts vary slightly but agreed that as the wing came off, the plane went into a spin, turned over twice in a rapid descent from about 1000 feet while the parted wing came down three-quarters of a mile away in a gravel quarry.

Local resident Jim Coombe was 13 in 1945 and boarding in Kyneton during the week to attend school.

The Coombe family's farm was close to the crash site and Jim’s father, Clarrie, a WWI veteran, attended the crash to assist but like so many others he realised there was little they could do as the wreck burnt fiercely.

Members of the public are invited to recognise the 75th anniversary of the crash with the unveiling of a memorial on January 31 at 9.30 am at the Burke and Wills Track, Spring Plains, Mia Mia. The site is next to the Duigan Flight Monument.

Members of Kyneton Aeroclub will conduct a flyover at 9.50 am. Some seating will be available with limited shade for elderly attendees.

In the event of a Code Red weather warning, this event will be cancelled.