VH-BGP (1)  Supermarine VS236 Seagull V           

                                      The Bristol Pegasus powered Supermarine Seagull V was designed by R.,J. Mitchell (of Spitfire
                                      fame) specifically for Australian service.   The Seagull V differed from its UK Walrus equivalent
                                      in that it had leading edge slats.  Following their retirement in 1947 Amphibious Airways of Rabaul
                                      acquired four of these craft, of which -BGP (the only true Seagull V), is seen above in this exclusive
                                      shot from the Geoff Goodall collection.   The other three were ex RAF Walruses (-ALB, -BLD and
                                      X9519 which was never civilly registered).    VH-BGP was the former A2-3 and was photographed
                                      above at Eagle Farm, Brisbane in 1951 en route from Camden, NSW to Rabau to join Amphibious
                                      Airways, one of Eric McIllree's early post-WW II ventures.  His main business was Airport U-Drive
                                      at Sydney Airport in the late 40s and he went on to establish Avis Rent-a-Car and Avis Rent-a-Plane
                                      in Australia.   McIllree acquired many RAAF disposals aircraft including all the RAAF Walrus
                                      amphibians and formed Amphibious Airways to carry native labour between plantations in New
                                      Guinea and New Britain. Amphibious Aiways also had several Ansons to carry workers between
                                      contracts. The operation was short lived and after several Walrus accidents, Amphibious Airways
                                      went into liquidation.     VH-BGP was withdrawn from use in June of 1954.       
                                      In May 2012 I was contacted by Margaret Picard of Townsville who indicates that her father, Nevil
                                      Bell, flew with McIllree and is the is the man standing on the top of the fuselage in the shot above
                                      whilst Eric McIllree was in the cockpit.  She remembers playing in the aircraft as a child when it was
                                      at Camden and her father painting the “Flying Duck” nose art (much to the chagrin of McIltree who
                                      considered it “a waste of time”!),    Margaret also provides the image below, taken mear Patlangat
                                      Coconut Plantation, New Ireland in 1951.  That's her father, Nevil Bell standing on the bow.