Page 144: 'Punkah and bright after the festival, and then Temora.
  Two Very interesting museums.  
  You would be justified in thinking that this is Myrtleford Railway Station with some old rolling stock at the platform.
In fact it isn't Myrtleford or, for that matter, a railway station any more. It's Bright Museum.

Once upon a time a single track railway serviced Bright. Now all the track has gone with the exception of a few metres at the old station. The route of the former line has been converted to a walking and cycling track - the Rail Trail. Looking at the picture above, can you see what appears to be a boat between the two people? It is a boat but its history is a complete mystery

  The mystery boat.  

Back in 1972 the water in the Ovens River was low. Remember? Not born then? Okay. Just below Porepunkah the falling water level uncovered a hollow log. A man called Boris Kovacic noticed something inside the log. Eventually, after hacking away part of the log, Boris hauled free this boat and floated it. The museum plaque accompanying the boat states it was obviously made by a white man. It goes on to ask, who was he? And where and when was the boat made? Furthermore, who pushed it into the hollow log and why? Many questions, no answers.

  This little white building is a police lock-up. The design came from Britain in 1860 but this example
was still used in Bright until the 1970s and was brought to the Bright Museum in 2001.
  The lock-up was taken out of use because of the presence of hanging points. This bloke looks snug enough.  
Another police lock-up, though this one is in the town, not the museum. Made of logs with just a small grill on two sides to let in air and light,
it must have been hellish hot in summer with that tin roof and cruelly cold in winter. Don't like the game, shouldn't have joined.
  A Chinese Joss House in the Bright Museum. And I always thought a Joss House was a house of ill repute . . . but it's a temple!  

I just remembered something - an interesting snippet. We've talked about the Chinese massacre in the Buckland Valley and the dredges in these pages. Diann Talbot told us that when they dredged the river flats in the Buckland, human body parts so frequently came up in the buckets that dredge employees were told to ignore them. If they stopped every time a body came up they'd never turn a profit.

And I forgot to mention something else. Before we toured the Buffalo Chalet, having time in hand, I was leaning on a guard rail looking out over the magnificent vista. Pam was at a different lookout. A woman said, "You're English, aren't you?" I assured her I was but enquired how she knew. "I think it's the way you sniff, " she said. "I just knew."

Okay fellow English-born Aussies, just how do we sniff?

  Temora for three days  

The 350 kilometre drive from Porepunkah to Temora was uneventful apart from a tour of Wodonga initiated by dear old Alice. It's not her fault, if her maker would update her map she'd be fine. However . . .

The caravan park we stayed at in Temora was on an airfield, the home of the Temora Aircraft Museum owned by David Lowy, son of Frank Lowy, the billionaire who owns the Westfield Shopping Empire. All David Lowy's historic aircraft are in flying condition and fly regularly. We were here to see his Hudson, Wirraway and Spitfire fly on Saturday. However, as the sun went down on Friday evening, a loud roar alerted us to watch the runway where a Spitfire came into view just lifting off. We watched it climb into a sky of greys, blues and brilliant reds.

It climbed in wide circles to about 3,000 feet then began a series of loops and rolls over the airfield. The sound of its Rolls Royce Merlin engine sent shivers down my spine.

  A WWII Spitfire against the backdrop of a twilight sky.  
  The silhouette of those elliptical wings was a common sight in later WWII years.  
  We waited for the Spit to land but its approach was obscured by a hangar. We heard nothing until we were alerted by a moving shape out on the runway. As it taxied in we recognised the outline of the Spitfire.  
  The Spitfire taxiing past, the big twelve cylinder Merlin engine not happy at such low revs.  

I had previously visited the maintenance hangar where there were two Spitfires (among other vintage aircraft), one of which had its engine removed. The other, the one in the photos above, was also being serviced at that time.

It seems there are only two Spitfires still flying in Australia. One, a Mark 16, is pictured above and the other, a Mark 8, is pictured below, minus its engine which broke a piston ring. So, strictly speaking, there's only one flying until the new engine is installed. The new engine is alongside the old one on the workshop floor and I'll tell you this, the old one is so clean people were asking which was the new one. I admit I couldn't tell.

  The centre of the three aircraft is a Spit with its engine removed. This maintenance facility is spotless - you could eat off the floor.  
  The Spitfire Mk 16, piloted by David Lowy, scorns a perfectly good bitumen runway and takes off from the grass.  

As it turned out, it was David flying the Spit the previous evening. I had the opportunity to have a very brief chat with him; he came across as a really nice bloke. Below is a photo of David standing beside his Spitfire.

  David Lowy standing beside his Spitfire for the National Anthem.

How many noticed the the civil registration in shadow below the tailplane of the Spitfire Mk 16, VH-XVI. (XVI being the Roman numerals for 16).

VH-VIII has too many letters for their Spitfire Mk 8 but suppose they used the subtractive notation, VH-IIX? No, a quick Google of VH-IIX reveals it is already allocated to a Schempp-Hirth Nimbus-3 glider whose owner lives in Perth and the Temora Spitfire Mk 8 is registered VH-HET.

Getting away from Spitfires, three beautifully restored North American Harvards gave an excellent display of tight formation flying as the pictures below show . . .


We also saw the only Lockheed Hudson in flying condition in the world. Flying condition? Pristine condition. And a Wirraway, the first aircraft mass-produced in Australia, the design of which came from the same stable as the Harvards (above).

  The Lockheed Hudson, which first flew in 1938, came from a long line of thoroughbreds. Although 2,941 were built
(mostly for the R.A.F.) the Temora Hudson is the only flying Hudson in the world today. The large top gun
turret must have made the gunner feel awfully vulnerable.
  The CAC Wirraway. Why paint an aircraft dark green to make it difficult to see when on the ground, then paint the tail and
wing leading edge white? In combat the Wirraway had looked and sounded so similar to some Japanese aircraft that
the white paint was added to prevent "friendly fire" shooting them down. It was certainly effective.
  The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation was an Australian aircraft manufacturer established in 1936 to provide Australia with the capability to produce military aircraft and engines.