Catalina parts headed to Rathmines

PARTS of a Catalina flying boat purchased for $20,000 in Puerto Rico to put on display at Rathmines will be brought to Lake Macquarie on Saturday.

The outer wings, tail assembly and a container of spare parts have arrived by ship.

They will be transported to a Kilaben Bay property for storage, Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association president Penny Furner said.

Daracon and Forgacs were helping with the effort.

The outer wings, known as wing tips, were 4.5metres wide and 10metres long.

Mrs Furner said the fuselage was on it way to Australia by sea.

‘‘I’m hoping it’ll all be here by Anzac Day,’’ she said.

Enthusiasts have been searching for a Catalina for years to display in the former RAAF base at Rathmines Park.

The Catalina they found had been used to carry freight in Central America and South America.

They hope a museum will be built at the old base to display the Catalina.

The plane will be a static display and won’t fly.

Catalinas were made famous in World War II for defending Australia from Japanese invaders.

The seaplane was credited with playing a key role in winning the war in the Pacific.

Rathmines was once the largest flying boat base in the South Pacific and key to Australia’s war effort.

About 3000 personnel were stationed at Rathmines at the height of the war and 332 lost their lives in combat.