August/September 2021 News
Stradbroke Air P/L Comes Out of Hiding
Stradbroke Air P/L has come out of hiding with new signage directing traffic to the two most used airfield access tracks together with the Lie that the airfield is private property.
The sign is actually not on the airfield, but is about 50 metres from the airfield lease boundary and located on government reserve land(formerly mining lease) administered by SEQ Water.
Stradbroke Air P/L has held the lease of the airfield under various directors since 1996. Since 2002, the airfield has been under the directorship of the Bowdens and subject to varying degrees of influence from the Southport Flying Club. Originally the husband Ian Bowden(then Vice-President of the Southport Flying Club) bought into the lease gradually from 2001-2003 from the four shareholders.
After Ian Bowden and caretaker Larry Carlssen were killed in their crash at Dunwich Airfield in October 2003, the lease mostly reverted to Pat Bowden in 2004, then entirely in 2005. She was warned at the time that this was too much for an ordinary housewife with no business skills or qualifications or knowledge of aircraft or aviation to take on but she went ahead anyway.
In 2006, in the face of the realisation that she could not run the airfield by herself, Straddie Aero Club Inc was formed so that aviation and business capable committee members and club members could be conned or cajoled into running the airfield for her.
Straddie Aero Club Inc operated for the next 12 years at the direction of Stradbroke Air P/L through the Committee dominated by Pat Bowden, her accountant and two shadowy silent directors who were also members of the Southport Flying Club. This illegal conflict of interest did not seem to bother hardly anyone and the situation continued until the Club’s closure and deregistration in May 2018.
Stradbroke Air P/L has also operated under the made-up name Stradbroke Air Park to give the impression that the airfield was a proper Air Park. It was advertised by two strangely-worded signs, one on the airfield and one on the track.
Since the aero club’s closure, Stradbroke Air P/L also operated under the made-up name Stradair( or Straddie) and Friends to give the impression that an aero club still existed and to cover up the reality that all earnings from the Fly-in Breakfasts now went directly to Stradbroke Air P/L.
In October, 2018, Redland City Council came down hard on Pat Bowden when they found out that she was attempting to operate a food business without a food business licence.
In addition to the new Stradbroke Air P/L sign, the Aero Club sign at the top of the access track where it starts at Alfred Martin Way has now been removed after three years of misinforming the public that an aero club still existed.
What next? Is this just the usual routine of re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic or is it an attempt to reassert some sort of corporate image of competence for a sale of the lease or preparation for an application to extend the lease?
June/July 2021 News
Vehicular Track in Good Condition
The vehicular access track, aka Airport Drive, is now freshly graded and reportedly in good condition thanks to the efforts of the caretaker. This is a long job as the track is over 2km long and the equipment used is a very old and sad tractor with a scraper grader blade attachment on the back.
April/May 2021 News
Runway and Track Conditions
The runway is as good as it ever is(i.e. borderline operational - at least it is nicely mown), while the vehicular access track, is in appalling condition, mainly due to recent heavy rain and the heavy machinery used for forest mulching. It has many deep holes including one very large one which will certainly damage your front end if you hit it too fast. Hopefully the caretaker, or Redlands Council or even the forest mulching contractors will attend to this soon.
The reasons why a certain pilot lands at Dunwich Airfield at no charge are:
1. Payment Rejected. Three years ago, after the Straddie Aero Club was unceremoniously closed, the pilot attempted to pay an annual landing charge but the airfield lessee, Pat Bowden refunded the money. Why should this pilot pay a landing charge when the last time he paid, the money was sent back to him?
2. No Charge for Landings. She and her caretaker, John Moore, then proceeded to make false complaints of trespass to the Dunwich Police every time this pilot landed. After this pilot contacted the Dunwich Police, the Police Sergeant attended the airport immediately where he explained to Pat Bowden and assembled relieving caretakers, Brian and Heather Rule and caretaker, John Moore that there was no trespass as far as the police were concerned.
Using his considerable people skills, he negotiated with Pat Bowden an agreement of no further false complaints of trespass, continued use of the shower and toilet and no charge for landings in return for certain minor and completely redundant "concessions" by the pilot.
The Sergeant of Dunwich Police kindly reported back to the pilot immediately after the meeting with these idiots for an exhausting 45 minutes on the phone, then emailed him all the points of the agreement so they were recorded in writing, giving Pat Bowden no chance of trying her usual stunt of reneging on an agreement because it was only verbal.
Actually, she did try but failed completely - see February/March 2020 News below.
3. Landings paid in advance for the next 90 years! Pat Bowden and Stradbroke Air P/L owe this pilot approximately $10,000 for lease payments fraudulently invoiced since 2011 when she was first advised by caretaker Lance Billman that this pilot’s van site lease and all the caravan sites on the western side of the airport were actually on the lease next door and not on her airport lease.
On the amount owed, this pilot is good for landings for about the next 90 years!
She was advised of the true location of her western boundary by other pilots in 2011 and a former director of Stradbroke Air P/L in 2016. She was advised that to continue to invoice for these caravan sites was fraud by both her solicitor in 2017, and by the Sergeant of Dunwich Police in 2018, advice which she chose to ignore.
There is no hope of recovering this money as she is an old age pensioner and her company, Stradbroke Air P/L has been trading while insolvent for many years.
And yes, the owner of this website does hold a copy of the fraudulent invoice entitled "Yearly Rental on Van Site" for $1413.95, dated 6 August 2018 sent from Pat Bowden's email address for a van site that is not on her airport lease.
This invoice even charges GST, when she confirmed publicly at the former aero club AGM 6 months prior to this, that her company Stradbroke Air P/L was no longer registered to collect GST as its annual turnover did not exceed the threshold of $75,000! That's two attempted frauds contained in the one document! Stradbroke Air P/L is still not currently registered for collecting GST.
The van site is residential accommodation and GST is not applicable anyway. She was told this over 10 years ago, and she stopped charging GST until the new renters arrived in 2015 who where unaware of what had happened before and she tried it on again with them.
February/March 2021 News
Dunwich Walking Track Upgraded
The Dunwich Track has now been recently cleared by a forestry mulcher to a width of 3 - 4 metres from the lookout turn-off the whole way down to the mine security gate.
Duncan and Kathryn Shiels’ clearing workload for the 3 bushwalks has been reduced by about 80% - Yay! The track has had no attention apart than from them for about 25 years since the Bayside Mine closed and this recent effort is very welcome.
For all you 4WD hopefuls who might be looking for a more exciting, scenic and shorter route to Dunwich, the track is not cleared to the bitumen road and you will not be able to access the new cleared track from this end as the forest mulching was stopped just before the security gate and can only be accessed by walkers or trail bikes(with care) via the access track around the end of the fence(see picture). In other words, while this track is 4WD capable, it is a No Through Road for 4WDs.
New Caretakers Arrive
Husband and wife caretakers have arrived and have immediately attended to the sorry state of the Airfield access road, known as Airport Drive. They have a mini excavator for hire and this has helped greatly in restoring the road. Most of the holes have been graded out and gutters have been graded at the edges of the road so the water can get away.
December 2020/January 2021 News
New Caretakers - again
New caretakers, a couple, will be arriving mid-December.
Much work for the Lessee's business partner from Southport. R recently flew up to Straddie within a few hours of John, the caretaker announcing his resignation on his Facebook page, to try and talk him out of it. He failed but at least John got a free lunch out of him at the Little Ship's Club.
Now, more problems to solve. Fires to put out. Maximum smarm to be applied. Promises to be made, then quickly broken after the caretakers have settled in and committed themselves.
Folding chair and bucket of popcorn are at the ready as we watch history repeat itself - again.
Advice to the Caretakers(expanded 27 Jan 2021):
Read this website thoroughly. Read the Head Lease thoroughly so you know when the Lessee or her helpers are breaking the rules e.g. allowing non-aviation people to camp or stay in the caravans, trying to refuse someone permission to land etc.
Take note of every promise made to you in writing. Send an email to confirm. Don't believe anything you are told unless you can see it backed up in writing.
Don't be suckered in by taking on more and more tasks and duties out of your good nature.
Beware of the bribe of the free dinner(s), free joyflights and false bonhomie. These people are not your friends. They are the Lessee's cronies and spies, part of the personality cult that she maintains around herself. Anything and everything you say will be reported back to her, often verbatim. If they seemingly casually approach you at all from time to time, it is because they have been sent by the Lessee to find out about something.
If you are not happy with the workplace, health and safety implications of any of your duties or equipment that you have to operate, say so and lodge a complaint if necessary(and without warning).
Ensure the Lessee does not take the cash float when she leaves. Otherwise you will have to give change and pay for incidental expenses out of your own pocket, then keep track of it for an eventual refund.
Finally, if you know you are right, keep on insisting because the Lessee will back down(or just forget) rather than lose you. Make sure you deal only with her and not her underlings, hangers-on or "representatives."
Don't sign anything! Remember the disgraceful manner in which former caretaker(2005-2013), Lance Billman was treated!
October/November 2020 News
Airport Access track in Poor Condition
The Straddie Airport access track, known as Airport Drive, is in very poor condition with deep holes which hold veritable lakes of water, following the heavy rain lately. While it is trafficable by 2WD vehicle, 40 km/h is the recommended maximum speed.
Runway 33 very rough
Runway 33 is very rough for the take-off run at the moment. The centre-line of the runway should be avoided and your take-off made to the right(east) of it for the smoothest possible run.
Caretaker resigns – again
The Caretaker is reported to have resigned and will be leaving the airfield on December 1, 2020. This story must be treated with a great deal of caution as he has already resigned twice before, the first time within 4 months of his arrival.
Once, he left so quickly, he left the kettle to boil dry on the kitchen stove!
August/September 2020 News
Mystery Buyer Prospect Visits Straddie Airfield.
On Friday, 4th September, a mystery prospective buyer visited Dunwich Airfield.
He was most impressed with the improvements that the two remaining caravan owners had made to their respective areas, the rest of the caravans being in a state of disrepair and abandonment.
His visit finished with an excellent lunch with views back to Brisbane at the nearby Straddie Golf Club.
Straddie Golf Club Reopens.
The Straddie Golf Club has now fully reopened subject to its COVID Safe Plan. Golf facilities, breakfast and lunch are all available as before. (Tel: 3409 9999).
June/July 2020 News
Bushwalks Clearing Progress.
All bushwalks have been cleared and re-marked with orange flagging tape. Some places will be better defined and marked in the next few weeks but are adequate for the moment for anyone with a good scanning technique – and all you pilots should have that.
One place that will be improved soon is the track that starts on the curve of the rear airport access track behind the caravans and heads in a more or less straight line up to the ridge road adjacent to the old Bayside Mine Crater ring road. The other place that will be better defined and marked is the northern end of the PMG track which is trying to peter out in places.
The Dunwich Track which leads from the intersection near the lookout, is now cleared all the way down to the mine security gate.
It is clearly marked but is narrow in places due to the mine misguidedly planting what can only be described as fast-growing weeds in sections of the track which are choking out the naturally occurring carpet of ferns which is trying to recover from the 2014 bushfire.
The Glade Track between the Lookout and the old Bayside Mine ring road has also been cleared. This section was the worst with multiple trees down in just 400m of track.
Covid-19 Update for Dunwich.
Have morning tea or lunch in Dunwich at the Bakery. The bakery now has a few tables available subject to the COVID-19 restrictions. At the rear of the SPAR, the formerly Skip’s kitchen is still open for excellent burgers and chips. Unfortunately, the tables and chairs have been removed due to the restrictions, so you will need to find somewhere else to eat your burger. The Dunwich RSL is closed at the moment except for takeaway alcohol and takeaway Thai food in the evenings.
April/May 2020 News
Nice Tank Platform, Shame About the Tank!
Caretaker, John Moore, has constructed a sturdy and functional tank stand; a visiting helicopter operating out of Dunwich aerodrome for a few days has lifted the tank into position. Head lessee has purchased a new tank to replace the badly damaged old one – er no . . .
The Head Lessee, Pat Bowden has insisted that the old tank be used despite a new one costing only approximately $700. Why were donations for a new tank being sought if the decision had already been made to use the old one?
The tank is now open at the top allowing mosquito larvae to breed and causing a mosquito plague far worse than what is usually experienced here during the evening and night.
Note the nifty water level indicator hanging over the side.
February/March 2020 News
Dunwich Airfield Management Slammed Again for False Complaints to the Dunwich Police.
Following on from their series of false complaints of trespass to the Dunwich Police in July and August of 2018, for which they were rightfully hauled over the coals when the police paid them a visit on the morning of 16th August 2018, the management of Dunwich Airfield tried a similar stunt on the afternoon of Saturday 29 February, 2020.
The toilet and shower, freely available to any visitors, were unexpectedly padlocked without warning.
In attempting to access the toilet a visiting pilot was blocked by in-your-face abuse and screaming by one relieving caretaker(Nicky). She, with the support of her male conspirator(Ian Thompson), then had the hide to make a false complaint of assault to the police which they then had to waste their time attending to on a very busy Saturday evening on North Stradbroke Island.
This young policeman could not believe that he had been called to broker an argument about access to a dunny in the bush at the end of a 2 km access track in a shocking state of disrepair!
Result: Complaint of assault withdrawn and toilet now open at the direction of the Dunwich Police and the agreement of the airfield management! Now these lazy caretakers might clean the toilet as it is filthy.
Post-script: The padlock on the shower was removed by the regular caretaker on his return. The latch on the shower was quietly removed about a month later. The screw holes on the toilet and shower doors are the only evidence now that bear testament to this sorry affair and the sort of bottom-dwellers that the lessee sees fit to use as caretakers.
A New Low.
On Sunday 23 February, 2020, an attempt to extort money from the caravan site sub-lessees was made by the caretaker of Dunwich Airfield, John Moore. When refused a donation for a replacement water tank and tower to Stradbroke Air P/L(broke and currently trading while insolvent), the caretaker stated that the gravity feed water supply to the van-sites would be cut off immediately if no donation was made. This was despite gravity-feed water supply being part of the lease agreement and having been paid for. He was then observed walking off to try his luck with any hangar site lessees who were present on the airfield at the time.
Dunwich Airfield Water Tank Tower Collapses
Edited quote from email to previous caretakers of Dunwich Airfield - 27th January 2020:
“After years of neglect and Pat taking no notice that the water tank had developed a bit of a lean and some repairs should be done, it suddenly collapsed at about 4.00 pm Friday, 24th January. There was a huge thump, a whooshing sound and a plume of water which went as high as the shed, flooded the rear laundry of the shed and flowed around Pat's caravan.
It was a good thing that no-one was under it at the time. Being hit on the head by 3000 kg of water would ruin your day.
Pat is crying poor of course and says she has no money having spent the $30,000 she would have received from the hangar owners back in September. To quote R, “She’s f__ked, she’s got no money.”
Some of the more gullible newbie pilots, who don't realise that R has been paid for his "volunteering" at the airfield, are trying to organise donations on their facebook group page. R has announced that he will donate a $100 - very generous from a millionaire member of the Southport Flying Club.
R and his hangers-on turned up on Saturday morning to make a temporary repair. They righted the tank, hammered it straight and refilled it up to where it had split and attached it to the water pump behind the outside toilet. With the tank sitting on the ground, there is no gravity feed and no water to the taps unless the pump is on and there is power for it.
The bargain basement price for the airfield is now $250,000 which R was bandying about on Saturday morning when he couldn't get any donations out of anyone. He is trying to get her to sell as he does not want the responsibility of running the airfield for her anymore.”
December 2019/January 2020 News
Straddie Airfield is a very pleasant place to camp over this Christmas and New Year. There have been a few hot days but most of the time, the prevailing south-east to north east winds have brought cooler but humid days and cool nights. The winds have also been relatively benign with few really windy days. In recent weeks, the smoke haze has cleared as well.
Pictured is the view from the edge of the airfield of the sun setting on the grass runway and Bob’s mob of Eastern Grey kangaroos enjoying their evening meal while this visiting pilot and his wife enjoy some afternoon drinks and nibbles after a hard but rewarding day either maintaining the caravan site or the bushwalking track network.
Straddie airfield morning attractions are our butcher bird friend who has mastered a perfectly in tune descending Major 3rd in his call from the top of his Norfolk pine. Meanwhile, Bob and one of his senior does lie comfortably together in the shade by Doug and Joan’s abandoned caravan after breakfast, enjoying their view of their fellow visiting human campers.
October/November 2019 News
There are no weather cameras for Dunwich Airfield. The nearest camera of any use is this Cleveland webcam located at Raby Bay looking West, which is quite reliable: https://www.clevelandweather.net/webcam/default.php
In early 2018, this author made the suggestion that the remaining funds left from Straddie Aero Club’s impending closure be spent on donations to the surrounding airfield clubs at Redcliffe, Caboolture, Heck Field and Boonah for the provision of webcams at those locations. This was shouted down at the time by many ignorant pilot members of the Straddie Aero Club who wanted the remaining money spent on Dunwich airfield, not being aware(or not giving a sh!t) that the Office of Fair Trading regulations did not permit the spending of funds on the facilities of a club that was being closed and certainly not on the facilities that were the responsibility of a company to maintain.
It is interesting that in the 18 months since the winding up of Straddie Aero Club, the clubs or other organisations at these locations have all erected cameras at their own expense which are featured here: https://mywebcams.com.au/ . Even the Southport Flying Club has recently replaced their old cameras, whose images were very difficult to find, with new ones and allowed links to the images to be placed on this site.
Hopefully the next lessee of the Dunwich Airfield lease will be more interested and knowledgeable in aviation than the present one and will be more proactive in providing some weather cameras for Straddie Airfield.
Another Tree Collapse
One caravan at the airfield is available from time to time when the caretakers aren't living in it. This particular caravan was under threat of being crushed under a very large "widow-maker" gum tree, part of which collapsed with a loud roar and a bang onto the wall and roof of the adjacent hangar in mid-September, leaning against the buckled hangar wall.
This website at the time recommended that it was probably not a good idea to stay in this caravan at the moment!
The collapsed section and the whole of the rest of this very large tree have now been removed entirely as of late-October, leaving the caravan looking rather naked, stuck out in the open all by itself.
August/September 2019 News
Patch, the four-legged canine caretaker, faithful caretaker's companion, show-off and kangaroo-chaser has had to be put down. His owner reportedly decided on this after his arthritis deteriorated to the point where he could not get up or down from his favourite couch anymore.
Patch will be remembered for his meet and greet skills as well as his pretence at being a guard dog, when he knew he had to put on a show for those watching. He also had great skills in catching a tennis ball mid-air, a game he never tired of until he reached the point of collapse.
For a dog that was rescued from Death Row at the animal shelter, he never looked back on his arrival at the airfield. Patch was 15.
As of mid August 2019, all maintained walks are clear of fallen trees. While there wasn’t that much to do, there were about 6 trees down.
The track up to the lookout, which is the only track that is trafficable by 4wd, is showing some rutting and wear and tear from all the vehicles using it. There was evidence of someone getting bogged halfway up the dune.
It is best to be in the correct gear and range at the start of the climb and not to touch the clutch and attempt to change gear halfway up. Someone obviously has, and has left a large hole where they got stuck.
June/July 2019 News
Welcome to our inaugural news update for Straddie Airfield aka Dunwich Airfield, North Stradbroke Island.
Fog: At airfield lessee, Stradbroke Air P/L's June fly-in breakfast, fog prevented all landings bar one early arrival at Dunwich until about 8:35 a.m. resulting in mostly sensible decision-making by pilots and some not so sensible decision-making.
Go-arounds in fog were witnessed from the ground and a mid-air collision was feared at one stage as so many aircraft circled above.
Most pilots were observed on radar making better decisions to divert back to their home base or to Kooralbyn Resort for breakfast. Others chose to treat
their passengers to a scenic up at Point Lookout and Moreton Island or do some whale-watching off the coast and then come back.
Kangaroos: On a quiet Saturday in July, there were two incoming aircraft at about 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon with about 25 kangaroos and wallabies quietly grazing on the entire length of the airfield from threshold to threshold. The caretaker made an attempt to move them out of the way with the airfield ute, but they moved back as soon as he left. He then ran out on foot and tried to move two of them but they completely ignored him and continued to graze. The final aircraft landed after a noisy go-around effectively cleared the runway, at least temporarily.
Comment: The longest-serving airfield caretaker, now happily ex-caretaker, has stated that the main reason for this problem is that there is no dog at the airfield now to chase the kangaroos and wallabies every so often and keep them from getting too comfortable.
Patch, the four-legged canine caretaker took his job very seriously for 12 years but he became too old and arthritic for the job and has been living a comfortable life of retirement in mainland suburbia for the last 3 years. Patch was never replaced.
Last updated 15th August 2021