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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Dec-Jan 2013
66 | www.probussouthpacific.org "Cooee" he called, and he listened hard. Could there still be signs of life? "Cooee" came back, and he stood stock still, in his hand his trusty knife, for the scrub was thick on Macpherson Range where perhaps the Stinson fell, and few other men understood this bush, but O'Reilly knew it well. His life was carved in the virgin scrub, he was bushman wise and strong, true pioneer of the wilderness on these mountains high and long. If the plane crashed here, and he guessed it did, as that dreadful cyclone blew, then he'd have to go and he'd have to search; that was something he must do. The Stinson few out from Archerfeld on its normal Friday run, as dark clouds built in the afternoon and obscured the western sun, but the pilot few with experience; many times he’d made this fight. They'd be heading south for a Lismore stop, then to Sydney while still light. They neared the border of NSW, through the wild Macpherson Range, there hit by gales and torrential rain where the weather had turned strange, for a cyclone raged through the deep ravines like a monster in a well, and a downdraught latched on the little plane, and it struck a tree and fell. Three men crawled out as it burst in fames, (sadly four good men had died) and all they found that could be of use was a burnt fask left inside, so this fask was used to sustain their lives, bringing water from the creek, and their only food was a few small berries for more than one whole week. When morning dawned, the young Westray said he'd get help to take them home -- this Englishman really ft and strong from the highlands where he'd roam -- andsooffhesetonhis brave ordeal, but was injured in a fall, then he lit a smoke, leaned back on a rock, and alone he met Death's call. So day by day with the precious fask, Binstead crawled down to the creek, as Proud sat still with a fractured leg, and each hour grew more bleak, and then turn by turn they would call Cooee, yet no answer ever came, lest a lyrebird with its mocking voice echoed Cooee as a game. Their strength had gone, and their hopes grew dim, as they waited to be found, yet far down south was the searching done from the air and on the ground, for reports had said that the plane was seen close to Sydney and the shore. How it disappeared well without a trace puzzled searchers more and more. The eighth day came with no sightings made, then O'Reilly had a hunch, packed bread and butter and billy-can and some onions for his lunch. Hehadruledalineona contour map that would show the Stinson's way, and he left his home with the help of God, early morn that Saturday. He rode, then walked through the tangled bush; many miles he'd havetodo-- round cliffs, down gorges, up rugged hills, icy streams he battled through. As the darkness came he took time to rest and set out again at light; when he climbed a summit to have a look, he saw something not quite right. In miles of green on a distant ridge stood a lone tree coloured brown. From lightning? Blossoms? What could it be? Was it where the plane went down? It was on the line on his contour map, so he headed for that tree, through the undergrowth and the dense low cloud where a man could scarcely see. SMILE Paul Henningham Award for Literary Excellence Congratulations to Daphne Dennis from the Algester Probus Club, winner of the Paul Henningham Award for Literary Excellence. Daphne who wrote Cooee -- The Stinson Story to mark the 75th anniversary of the 1937 crash of a Stinson flying from Brisbane. ! Daphne Dennis was honoured to receive the award plate from PSPL and a framed copy of her poem from the Algester Probus Club.
Active Retirees Oct-Nov 2012
Active Retirees Feb-March 2013