12 Aug Here in History by Betty Laver
Gladstone residents were all agog on the 17th of August 1920 when they saw a plane land on the mudflats near Barney Point.
It was fortunate that it was low tide and many of the residents came to have a look at this impressive invention.
The trip was made by Captain Roberts to promote Finney’s Department Store in Brisbane.
The plane was a two-seater with an open cockpit and Bill Golding was a nervous passenger as he was taken for a joy ride.
Local man Cliff Olsen was a ground engineer for the RAAF during WW2, and he became known as the man who got aeroplanes off the ground in Gladstone.
He learned to fly in 1927 and he owned a two-seater monoplane that was home-based,
and he used the meatworks flats as his runway.
Nearby, he had a hanger situated across from Janson’s house at 163 Toolooa Street.
The 1949 cyclone played havoc with Olsen’s operations when both his hanger and plane were badly damaged.
Later his plane crashed into Leixlip Creek at Calliope and the wrecked plane was bought by Cec Janson.
Olsen left Gladstone to live down south, but he returned for an aerial pageant in 1972.
Photo courtesy of Jimmy Harris