August 2013. I was driving to Swan Hill from Melbourne for a job interview. On the way I stopped at Lake Boga for a toilet break. And before I got back into my car, I paused and looked out at this lake that I had no idea existed until five minutes earlier, and thought to myself, ‘I want to live here. I really want this job.’
As it turned out, I did get the job and nearly four years later, I get to drive past this gorgeous lake on a daily basis. Each morning I’m greeted by stunning sunrises and calm waters and experience pangs of desire for a ski boat and a house on the lake. But turn the clock back 75 years and the lake was being used for a different purpose. Set up as a repair and service depot for flying boats in WW2, Lake Boga has a special place in the hearts of war historians Australia-wide. A hive of activity back in the 1940s, with more than 1050 aircraft arrivals/departures and an estimated 800 test flights, it is hard to imagine the quiet town of Lake Boga being influxed with 39 officers, 802 airmen and 102 WAAAFs staffing the repair depot during it’s peak.
But that’s exactly what happened and this weekend the Lions Club of Lake Boga, along with a number of local community groups, are celebrating the town’s important contribution to the WW2 efforts 75 years ago. Tomorrow (Saturday) is going to be an action filled day, with activities for all ages to enjoy. Flight shows and water skiing demonstrations will be happening on and over the lake throughout the day, as well as performances by the “Pacific Belles”, the RAAF band and local singer Jess Joy on the shoreline. The first sea planes will depart at 10am and the displays will continue into the late afternoon, concluding with an outdoor screening of “The Return of the Catalina” at Catalina Park. Community groups have been invited to set up food and drink stalls and there will be entertainment for children as well. War history enthusiast Michael Veitch will be performing his show ‘Flak’ at Saturday night’s theatre restaurant and the weekend will be concluded with a community market on Sunday. The Catalina Museum will also be open and it’s well worth a visit.
Further information can be found online at www.flyingboat.org.au
Entry on Friday night and to Sunday’s market are free. Admission prices for Saturday’s events are as follows:
Adults: $15 – (No concessions)
Children (10 to 16yrs): $10- (No concessions)
Children (Under 10): Free
Family (2 adults & 3 kids): $40 – (No concessions)
Flying boat Museum