Missing …reprise

People are still moved by the loss of VH-UMF ‘Southern Cloud’ in 1931 – with all eight souls aboard – and especially the agonising 27-year wait to discover their fate.

Following my March 21st article on the crash, airscape was contacted by Ken Watson who is affiliated with Australia’s Civil Aviation Historical Society and Airways Museum at Essendon, Victoria. As the repository of our civil airways and air traffic control history, the museum has a profound connection with ‘Southern Cloud’, through the enroute radio services that were established as a result of the tragedy.

The musuem holds an airspeed indicator, a watch and parts of a camera from the Southern Cloud wreck site in its collection. (As it happens, they also have many artefacts from the crash of VH-AMA ‘Amana’; the DC-4 disaster that killed would-be Southern Cloud passenger Stan Baker in 1950.)

Cooma Memorial

Ken kindly sent several photos of the Aviation Pioneers’ Memorial in Cooma, NSW, where rusted and tangled relics of the Southern Cloud wreckage are permanently displayed. Various other items, looted from the crash site after its 1958 discovery, are probably still in private hands; while others have since been donated to several museums for more careful preservation.

But for now, enjoy this brief (and touching) visit to Cooma, courtesy of Ken Watson.

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