The registration number partially visible on the underside of the wing suggests that this aircraft was the SARO A17/2 exported to Australia and registered as VH-UNV for Matthews Aviation Pty Ltd, the airline founded by Captain George Campbell Matthews (1884-1958) in 1930. The aircraft was imported in crates on the steamship 'Ballarat' and erected at Essendon Airport after its arrival in March 1930. In May 1930, it began operating a bi-weekly passenger and mail service across Bass Strait flying between Melbourne and Launceston, Tasmania via King Island. On 8 November 1931 the aircraft was driven by wind into St Kilda pier, and Mr Ivan Lloyd, a passenger who attempted to assist, was struck on the head by the propeller and seriously injured. In 1935, VH-UNV was sold to Pioneer Air Services and on 15 October 1937 it was resold to Keith Caldwell, a young barnstorming pilot who had joined Qantas, Caldwell later sold VH-UNV to Qantas for £700 for use as a trainer. It was written-off after landing on water with the undercarriage extended on 5 April 1938.

Description of Content

A group of people standing lookng at the amphibious Saunders-Roe (Saro) A17 'Cutty Sark' twin-engined flying plane on the beach at Cowes, Phillip Island, Victoria. Note: The plane has both floats and landing wheels and has the registration number "VH-UNV" painted on the underside of the wings.

More Information