AN­ZAC Day Com­mem­o­ra­tions at Ran­gi­tata Is­land

Classic Driver - - HAYCOCK -

With this year be­ing the cen­te­nary of the start of WWI, AN­ZAC Day takes on more im­por­tance and a group of lo­cals de­cided to try run­ning a fam­ily-friendly cel­e­bra­tion at the his­toric Ran­gi­tata Is­land air­field south of Ash­bur­ton.

With plans in place for a book on mil­i­tary ve­hi­cles, the His­tor­i­cal Avi­a­tion Film Unit team of Alex Mitchell and Al­lan Udy were go­ing down for the day, would I like to go along for a look? It seemed like a good idea so I agreed to join in.

I was not pre­pared for the range of dis­plays and ac­tiv­i­ties on of­fer and the or­gan­is­ers were ab­so­lutely thrilled with the huge re­sponse from the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion who turned up in their thou­sands on a stun­ning au­tumn day to see mil­i­tary reen­act­ments, fly­ing dis­plays from a Tiger Moth and Chip­munk as well as the com­ings and go­ings of vis­it­ing air­craft all day.

Vin­tage and clas­sic cars filled much of a huge pad­dock, trac­tion en­gines and vin­tage trac­tors were giv­ing dis­plays of agri­cul­tural prac­tices from yes­ter­year and the lo­cal model aero­plane club put on a fly­ing dis­play of some of the best look­ing fly­ing scale mod­els I have seen.

This was the first time the event had been held and the or­gan­is­ers were not sure what re­sponse they would get. Now they are scratch­ing their heads and work­ing out how to make it big­ger and bet­ter for next year and the 100th an­niver­sary of the Gal­lipoli land­ings.

The ac­tion was in the sky as well as the ground. Be­van Dewes takes off in his De Hav­il­land Chip­munk, the ac­tual air­craft the Duke of Ed­in­burgh (as in Mr Queen El­iz­a­beth II) learnt to fly in

The Ran­gi­tata Is­land AN­ZAC Day cel­e­bra­tion was a real hands-on af­fair

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