History of Hastings District Flying Club (HDFC)
1953 by Royden Robinson
"Clearing started in 1947-8 with extensive weekend working bees (tea was made in a 4 gallon kerosene tin so numbers of participants were significant). As a 13 year old boy I was on site with my father Wal Robinson who managed the Radiola store in Horton street. The business sold and serviced radios with the AWA Radiola being the principal brand.
There were 2 small tractors with a chain between them pulling over the smaller trees. AD4 bulldozer equipped with a winch was handling the larger trees.The procedure was to anchor the bulldozer against one tree with the wire rope from the winch attached to the tree to be pulled down. Gelignite was then exploded under the tree roots to assist the winching operation.
With the site cleared operations may have been suspended awaiting further authorisation or funding or the 1949-50 floods may have left the site waterlogged for a number of years... It is extremely unlikely that the A40 was anything more than a publicity stunt." Alex Oliver cleared a 500 yard landing strip, following earlier clearing, on the present airport site using an Austin A40 and a log.
Port Macquarie Airport opened
On 8 Septeber 1958, Hastings District Flying Club was officially formed. Inaugural President and CFI was Joe Lee who finished his aviation career with QANTAS training CLIPS-commercial intake pilots on DC3s. Charlie Collins was installed as President while Joe remained as CFI to focus on preparing and implementing flying training programs.
Foundation members included Barry Cunning, Greta Yabsley, Joe Lee, Frederick Higgins, George Hartley, Mervyn McCudden, John Kirby, Dal O’Grady, Col Bailey, Peter Taylor.
Flying Scholarships were discussed with RSL in October that year but they couldn't agree to the age and education eligibility conditions.
CFI – Barrie Abbott