2019 was the 85th Anniversary of the MacRobertson Trophy Air Race and the subsequent KLM Uiver DC-2 rescue at Albury. It was also the 100th Anniversary of the founding of KLM - Royal Dutch Airlines.
To celebrate these anniversaries a variety of activities were held over 18-21 October 2019.
On Friday 18 October, a School Kids Education Day was held at the Albury Airport. Around 230 Year 5 students from four local schools toured the DC-2 restoration in Smartair’s hangar at Albury Airport. A short play telling the story of the Uiver was performed for the students by a group of Albury High School Year 11 drama students. The Year 5 students also participated in a paper plane making and throwing competition before being taken on a tour of the Albury Airport Terminal.
Australia and the Netherlands have a long shared history. On the afternoon of Saturday 19 October the Albury LibraryMuseum officially opened a new exhibition, "Albury and Australia's Dutch Connections”, showcasing these connections, with a focus on the Uiver landing in 1934. The exhibition running from 28 September to 15 December 2019.
On the same evening, to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Uiver landing at Albury and to aid in the ongoing restoration of our DC-2, the Uiver Memorial Community Trust (UMCT) held a fundraising dinner at the Commercial Club Albury. Master of Ceremonies for the evening was John Walker, actor, corporate compere, writer and director.
Her Excellency, Marion Derckx.
The new Ambassador to the Kingdom of The Netherlands, and UMCT co-patron, Her Excellency Marion Derckx, was a special guest for the weekend and a guest speaker at the dinner. Her Excellency also toured the DC-2 aircraft restoration.
Other guest speakers were UMCT co-patron Richard de Crespigny AM. Richard is extremely well known in aviation circles, as the Qantas (ex RAAF) pilot in-command of the QF32 flight which landed safely back in Singapore despite engine and multiple systems failures.
Guest speaker Richard de Crespigny AM.
Quentin Voss, Country Manager, Air France-KLM
Guest speaker, Quentin Voss, Country Manager for Air France-KLM, spoke about KLM Royal Dutch airlines 100th Anniversary this year, it being the oldest airline in the world still operating with its original name. KLM had previously presented UMCT with two bronze plaques of their founder, Albert Plesman, and gave away KLM 100 year anniversary pens to each dinner attendee.
UMCT Chairman, Pieter Mol presented an update on the DC-2 Restoration Project and showed architectural concepts for an Uiver Memorial Museum and visitor centre at Albury Airport.
Uiver Memorial Community Trust Chairman Pieter Mol
Ray White Rural Auctioneer James Brown
An auction of memorabilia was also conducted and significant funds for the project were raised.
The dinner guests were entertained by our talented local pop-up jazz band Snoopy and the Taildraggers.
On Sunday, the Dutch Ambassador Marion Derckx enjoyed a tour to Lake Hume and a visit to the Bonegilla Migrant Experience, where Wodonga Council hosted refreshments.
On Sunday 20 October at the Albury LibraryMuseum, Di Websdale-Morrissey read from her new book, On a Wing and a Prayer: The Race that Stopped the World, which tells the thrilling tale of the MacRobertson International Air Race of 1934 and Albury’s significant role in the Uiver’s safe arrival in Melbourne.
The combination of events made the anniversary weekend a great success and many new connections and friendships were made.