Dudgeon Point air crash memento

AUDREY Camilleri and Tyra Wales will never forget the night their younger brother Edgar Dowse, 15, was killed in a plane crash off the coast of Mackay.

And yesterday – almost 50 years later – the memories came flooding back as Mackay Regional Council was presented with the plane’s identification plate, which was sent home by a former Mackay resident, who is now living in Brisbane.

Edgar was one of nine Rockhampton Grammar School students aboard the plane who never made it home to spend the Queens Birthday long weekend with their families.

The pilot, co-pilot, two hostesses and another 16 passengers also were killed when the TAA Fokker Friendship ‘Abel Tasman’ crashed off Dudgeon Point on the night of June 10, 1960.

Of the 25 passengers, 15 were from Mackay, local historian Berenice Wright said yesterday.

Few of the passengers’ bodies were recovered.

The plane, which had stopped in Maryborough and Rockhampton on its way to Mackay, was scheduled to land at 8.45pm.

However, heavy fog prevented it from landing and it circled for more than an hour before contact was lost at 10.10pm.

Ms Camilleri said the whole community was shocked by the accident that claimed the life of her brother. “There were a lot of people in Mackay who had connections to the people on the plane or their families,” she said.

Ms Wales said Edgar’s death was devastating.

“We lost our only brother, and our mother lost her only son,” Ms Wales said.

Councillor Diane Hatfield said she met the man who donated the identification plate in Brisbane last year.

The elderly man, who was given the piece of history by a friend who worked at the harbour, asked Cr Hatfield to bring it home to Mackay, where it belonged.

The identification plate has been framed and was presented to Mayor Col Meng at a special morning tea for relatives of the crash victims yesterday.

It will be displayed in the Mackay City Library.

A memorial stands at Far Beach.



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