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Emergency plane landing on Winnacott Reserve

July 20, 2020

55 year anniversary of plane landing on Winnacott Reserve.

Local Willagee resident recounts her memory of the event.

July 2020 marks the 55th anniversary of the forced landing of a plane on Winnacott Reserve Oval in Willagee.

According to Geoff Goodall’s Aviation History Site, a Pawnee 235 VH-KSD plane was leased by Air Culture from Duttons Aerial Sowing in NSW in 1965. On 16 July 1965 the plane suffered the humiliation of a forced landing. What appeared to be a spacious green landing spot was in fact Winnacott Reserve in Willagee. It was a miracle that there was no damage to the plane or injury to the pilot or bystanders.

The historical photo (above) shows the Air Culture pilot giving his details to a policeman, surrounded by excited kids who had finished school for the day.

Jean, a long standing Willagee resident of over 60 years, was there on the day and recounts her story.

“I heard the sound of a plane that sounded very close, so I went outside to investigate. As I looked up I saw the plane start to glide down towards the oval – it looked like it had run out of fuel. It was lucky the plane landed when it did – half an hour later and the oval would have been full of kids that would have just finished school.” Jean said.

After 55 years the oval is still there, with a lot of the existing trees that surrounded the oval – they’re just a bit bigger now.

A lot of the existing homes still adjoin the northern side of Winnacott Reserve and Alchera Living’s new over 55s apartment complex, The Reserve, is on the southern side. The park-side views from apartments would have provided a great view of the landing over half a century ago.

The Reserve balcony view
Winnacott Reserve views from The Reserve balcony

Alan Marshall, Alchera Living’s CEO said “This 55-year milestone marks a memorable event in Willagee’s history. It is certainly out of the ordinary that a plane landed on the Winnacott Reserve oval never mind it being, just as the kids were about to finish school for the day. While the oval hasn’t changed much, Willagee definitely has, with major revitalisation in recent years. Being a well-connected suburb, just 12km south of Perth and 10 minutes to Fremantle, it has proven to be a popular spot to live. Willagee offers something for everyone. The new housing, retirement villages, aged care accommodation, land development and shopping centre expansions in the past couple of years have transformed the suburb. For those who haven’t seen the new face of Willagee now is the time to see it for yourself.

Can you see yourself living with views like this of Winnacott Reserve? Want the chance to witness history (though a plane landing on the Oval again is probably unlikely!)?

Contact us today to enquire about apartments available at our Over 55s Lifestyle Complex.

Display Apartment Opening Hours:

Wednesdays 1pm – 2:30pm
Saturdays 9:30am – 11am

Image Source:
Geoff Goodall’s Aviation History Site
Article:
PerthNow- Melville Gazette article

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