In search of "Kingaroy's Kooka"


Information that has been gathered is listed below with a view to (a) encouraging further input from anyone who has additional information, as well as (b) canvassing for comments, additions and corrections re the information that has already been found. Please contact Kevin Rodda on 0408-566-444 or via email to



"Kooka at Mooloolaba 1958"

In search of thermal soaring, the North Coast Gliding and Soaring Club migrated from Mooloolaba (Sunshine Coast, QLD) to become today's Kingaroy Soaring Club. [click on image for larger view]


Max Howland with North Coast Gliding and Soaring Club's Kookaburra

(Photo provided by Max Howland)


Jack Ensbey with Max Howland (rear seat) night flying the Kookaburra 1960

(Photo provided by Max Howland)



 Mooloolaba gliding 1956

(Christopher McDonnell located this photo in the on-line archives of Sunshine Coast Libraries)



 Jack Iggulden (left) trying out Kingaroy's Kooka with Max Howland (right)

(Photo provided by Max Howland)


Retreiving Kingaroy's Kookaburra at the Nationals held at Narromine 1962

(Photo provided by Max Howland)
Australian Two-Seat Record - Max Howland and Marj Pegler in Kingaroy's Kooka at Narromine 1962 
(Photo provided by Max Howland)


The "History" section of the Darling Downs Soaring Club's website commences with ...


In 1959 Max Howland from Kingaroy, in an Australian designed Kookaburra 2 seat glider, landed at Oakey Airfield. He got a tow out and eventually outlanded in Lindsay Richards' paddock. Lindsay Richards then organised a group of people, including Dennis McCaffrey, Rex Teakle, Jim Wetherspoon, John Bell and Peter Walker and formed the Darling Downs Soaring Club in 1960.
The appearance of this item re "Kingaroy's Kookaburra" (along with many other photos and comments) in the GQ History Archive led to the following email exchanges etc ...
On 13-Mar-12 at 5:51 pm Greg Kolb wrote ... The work putting old stories on your web site about Max Howland has stirred me up to try and find our first glider that started Kingaroy Soaring Club. Can you point me in the right direction to find out whatever happened re the old girl? I would love to bring a part of her back to Kingaroy. 


On 16-Mar-12 at 4:35 pm Kevin Rodda wrote ... I have had an enquiry through the Gliding Queensland website re Kingaroy Soaring Club's original short-wing M2 Kookaburra (was VH-GLG). It was purchased in 1958 by the North Coast Gliding and Soaring Club (which later became KSC) and was sold in the early seventies. The rego GLG is now on a powered aircraft which suggests that it has somewhere along the line become un-airworthy or has changed its rego. Would be grateful to hear from anyone who may have some information as to where it went after KSC and where it is now.


On 16-Mar-12 at 4:35 pm Ian Patching wrote ... I am aware of this enquiry regarding GLG. it is likely the glider was written off as we have no record of its final destination. I do have a list somewhere, am just trying to find where it is. When chasing down these requests it is somewhat difficult as until gliders were marked many were just known by their colour. The "grey" Granau ofr the "gold: Granau for example. Even up until gliders started using the last two letters most were known by tgheir competition number. I will have a look in my boxes tonight and see if I can help.   

On 16-Mar-12 8:35 pm JR wrote ... I think GLG is the Darwin Kooka , but might be wrong, if it is, it is a very big task to get her back in the air.
On 16-Mar-12 at 7:36 pm Ian Patching wrote ... Hi JR. No the Darwin Kooka is GPE I think. It is a Mk 4, originally GCV, rebuilt by Ray Ash then owned by Ray Budd and partners. As you remember, the thing looks pretty bad.


On 16-Mar-12 at 8.51 pm Christopher McDonnell wrote ... Hi Ian, Has EP's [Emilis Prelgauskas'] unknown Kookaburra ever been identified? Not last time I asked.  


On 16-Mar-12 at 10.15 pm Ian Patching wrote ... Hi Chris, As the list of "missing Kookaburra's gets shorter, Geoff and I are now down to only 5 unknowns, not bad out of 34 built, we think we are getting close to the one with Emilis. His is a Mk 4 and came to him from (I can't remember his name) who reportedly got it from WA. Our records show that GRP s/n 49 wqs in WA and was crashed while in service with the Leichart SC. It is the only one we can't account for in WA. so although reluctant to say definitively it is the one, there is only one other Mk 4 we don't know of (GQF) and it was last known to be in NSW. 


On 16-Mar-12 at 8.51 pm Ian Patching  wrote ... Kevin, Woo Hoo, Now that didn't take long, I found the list that was compiled by Geoff Hearn and it does cover every one that was built (including those overseas) and their final destination. Unfortunately GLG hasn't been sorted completely and its final fate is still unknown. We continue to seek answers but as a matter of interest there were three wrecks within the Riley collection (Tocumwal) which were unidentifiable. Just bits so it is becoming a bit harder to follow up. Can you please put these notes onto the Gliding Queensland web page and, if any information comes to light, please let me know so our notes can be completed.  


On 16-Mar-12 at 8.51 pm Ian Patching wrote ... Jeez, you won't get better service than this. The definitive answer to Kevin's query. ES-52 Mk3 Kookaburra VH-GLG built 1958 s/n 32. Originally with Kingaroy SC. Registration changed to VH-GZA (probably when GLG was transferred to the power plane). Then did time with Wolongong GC and Bendigo GC. Ended flying days when blown over whilst with Swan Hill GC. Wreckage to Kevin Olerhead. Destroyed by bushfire in 2005. Some parts in my collection - tailplane and ailerons. That should fix that one.  


On 17-Mar-12 at 8:26 am Ian Aspland wrote ... I can't even remember which club we sold it to. I looked up my old log book and my last recorded flight in ot was 12-Apr-71 at Warwick. In the comments column (I flew it for QIT) maybe Easter Comps? which suggests we had already sold it to Qld College Club? Col Norman was instrumental in this operation. (Col was later killed in a mid-air at Warwick). The last flight I had in GLG at Kingaroy was 30-Aug-70. My first flight was 12-Jul-58 ... the club's first day at Mooloolaba. I recorded no more flights in Kooka GLG after Apr'71 ... instead we had another brand new K13 SL on the line to K13 PX company.  



19 year old Ian "Aspro" Aspland sitting proudly in GLG without an instructor  - he was now solo!

 (Photo provided by Ian Aspland)


On 17-Mar-12 at 12.10 pm Ian Aspland wrote ... I found the Year Book for August 1971 published by Australian Gliding. In the list of aircraft ownership stats our Kooka GLG is owned by QIT. The build serial number is 32. 


On 17-Mar-12 at 9.20 am Don Woodward wrote ... Hi all, many moons ago my dad had two wrecked Kookaburras in Perth. One had a damaged tail and one had a smashed nose. he joined the good nose with the good tail and made one good Kooka out of it. If anyone wants any more info re call signs etc, I could ask my dad - not sure whether he would remember though. I do have a couple of pics around somewhere.


On 17-Mar-12 at 9.20 am Ian Patching wrote ... Morning Don, Those Kookas were GRZ and GRK. The logbook had a little side view with a dotted line through it showing where the join was made. GRZ was bought by Caleb and Dave at Bacchus Marsh who returned it to service. it is now in SA with Cathy Conway.


The Bendigo Gliding Club's website confirms ... (a) the club was established in Nov'79 and it's first aircraft was a short winged ES52 Kookaburra VH-GZA , (2) it was purchased for $4,500 on 16-Mar-80 from Doug Vanstan, Bacchus Marsh Aviation Services, (3) it was previously owned by federation Soaring Group, Canberra, and (4) it was sold to Swan Hill on 04-Nov-84.



photos of GZA from Bendigo GC website 



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