VH-UHU  Westland Widgeon III                       (c/n WA.1695)


                                    Produced in some quantity from 1926 onwards, the Westland Widgeon was the Westland
                                    company's first entry into the civilian market.  Geoff Goodall's rare shot (above) shows it
                                    soon after it had been re-
registered into the VH-U series in the early 1930s.  Immediately
                                    below is an image
(#2) from the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland collection
                                    of the Widgeon in 1928 as G-AUHU when it was owned by Milton C. Kent, having been
                                    imported in that year from the U.K.(ex G-EBUB).  The image following that (#3, courtesy
                                    of the National Library of Australia) is interesting in that, although it looks like it was taken
                                    around that same time as #2, shows the aircraft sans fairing behind the pilot's head.  Was it
                                    removable?  Used for drag testing, etc.?   The next photo (#4) is my own, taken at Banks-
                                    town in the early 1950s, showing an even smaller dorsal fairing fitted at that time.  VH-UHU
                                    is still in existence, and resided at the Air World Museum in Wangaratta, Victoria, bearing
                                    the registration G-AUKA until 2002.     ( See comments at foot of  page for more on G-AUKA). 
It was subsequently purchased by Mr.James Courtney and is currently in his garage in Mel-
                                    bourne. Plans are afoot for a complete restoration, and sponsorships for this expensive project
                                    are sought.  If any viewers, especially commercial concerns, are motivated to assist in the rest-
                                    oration of this historic machine please contact James directly at

The story behind G-AUKA is quite complicated, but here goes:
                                 The original G-AUKA was allocated to an Avro 594 Avian Mk IV.   However, Keith Anderson,

                                 the notable Australian aviator wanted these markings (for the -KA bit) and so the Avian owner
                                 kindly agreed to relinquish his allocated registration.  (The Avian was re-registered G-AUKD). 
                                 Anyway, Anderson had originally planned to fly with Kingsford Smith and Ulm across the
                                 Pacific in 1927.  However, in the end he withdrew for financial reasons.  In 1928  Kingsford
                                 Smith's famous "Southern Cross" went missing in the wastes of the Northern Territory.  In
                                 searching for this  machine, Anderson, along with his mechanic H.S. Hiscock in his brand-new
                                 Westland Widgeon, before, in fact, the official C of A had been issued (although the registration
                                 was painted on the side) disappeared in the Tanami Desert of the Northern Territory.   They had
                                 had engine trouble, and forced landed.  Unfortunately they died of overexposure and thirst in the
                                 120F degree plus temperatures of  that inhospitable terrain and were found weeks later. The
                                 remains of G-AUKA were left to rot until re-discovered in 1978 by
Mr. Dick Smith.  These
are now in the Central Australian Museum in Alice Springs.   Some years ago a movie
                                 (or a
made-for-TV documentary) was made of the whole rescue affair.  At that time VH-UHU
                                 was painted up as G-AUKA, and at the time of its presentation to The Air World Museum
                                 still painted as such.   In support of this narrative, Phil Vabre offers the following image (# 5
                                 below) taken in the hangar at Wangaratta in July 2003 following the sale of the former Drage

                                      Finally, image # 6 below is a David Tanner shot of it taken at Moorabbin in the 1970s.