Cover art for Air Disaster Canberra
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Air Disaster Canberra The Plane Crash That Destroyed a Government

Published
New South Books, April 2013
ISBN
9781742233574
Format
Hardcover, 304 pages
Dimensions
23.4cm × 15.3cm × 3.6cm

Wartime Australia 1940. Key members of Menzies' government die in a fiery plane crash. What went wrong and what happened next? In August 1940 Australia had been at war for almost a year when a Hudson bomber, the A16-97, carrying ten people, including three cabinet ministers, crashed into a ridge near Canberra.

In the ghastly inferno that followed the crash, the nation lost its key war leaders. Over the next twelve months, it became clear that the passing of Geoffrey Street, Sir Henry Gullett and James Fairbairn had destabilised Robert Menzies’ wartime government. As a direct but delayed consequence, John Curtin became prime minister in October 1941. Controversially, this book also tells the story of whether Air Minister Fairbairn, rather than the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) pilot Bob Hitchcock, had been at the controls. Andrew Tink tells an engrossing and dramatic tale of a little-known aspect of Australia’s political history.