By Noel Jackling
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Douglas DC-2 PH-AJU Uiver, flew in the 1934 London to Melbourne MacRobertson International Centenary Air Race. Thanks to the swift and innovative actions of several Albury men, who used the town’s power supply master switch to flash the street lights with the letters ALBURY in Morse code and broadcast from the local ABC radio station for cars to go to the Albury Racecourse to illuminate a landing strip, the Uiver was able to survive a fierce electrical storm by making a safe emergency landing on the racecourse at 1:17am on 24 October 1934. After dawn, the bogged Uiver was stripped and manually dragged to drier ground. The pilots Parmentier and Moll took off, leaving two crew and three passengers behind. About an hour later the Uiver became the second aircraft to complete the race, as a result of which it took out the handicap prize.
The Uiver aircraft has not survived. It crashed in the Syrian Desert in Iraq on 20 December 1934, less than two months after being saved by the people of Albury. The four crew members and three passengers all perished, although much of the Christmas mail survived.
In 1979, the Rotary Club of Albury West purchased another Douglas DC-2 and restored it as a memorial Uiver. It stood as a sentinel on three poles at the Albury Airport from 1980 to 2002. The aircraft deteriorated in open weather conditions and is currently being re-restored by the Uiver Memorial Community Trust.
- For a more detailed story of the Uiver, visit the website of the Heritage Council of NSW
- To listen to the Uiver story, download an ABC Radio National sound file
- To follow developments around the Uiver, visit the Uiver Facebook page
The AlburyCity Uiver collection
The Albury LibraryMuseum on the corner of Kiewa and Swift Streets, Albury, has a State heritage listed collection of Uiver and Uiver-related objects. This collection includes passenger Domenie’s KLM tickets and Domenie’s MacRobertson gold medal. Visit the website of AlburyCity for more information about their collection.
For additional information on the State heritage listing of the collection, see the State heritage listing page noted above.
The memorial Uiver