About the RAAF Association Queensland Division (Cairns Branch)
The RAAF Association is a non-profit organisation promoting social activities, welfare, commemoration events, aviation history and the memory of fallen friends.
The Cairns Branch of the Association meets every month at the Cairns RSL Esplanade Every second or third meeting is a Chicken and Ham luncheon or BBQ at 104 Squadron HQ AAFC, when we have a guest speaker who joins us for lunch before speaking on a subject of interest to veterans, usually the guest speaker will speak prior to the lunch. In addition, the Cairns Branch holds several luncheons through the year including socials events, Anzac Day an end-of-year Christmas dinner or luncheon.
Membership is open to all serving and ex-RAAF, WRAAF, AAFC ex-AAFC and members of other Air Forces and those with an interest in aviation. The Branch is always looking for new members to assist in Association activities and to contribute their expertise. Duties are not onerous and many find it most rewarding.
Informality is the key to activities. Ranks and post nominal’s are only used for official and formal occasions if at all.
The Association participates in Commemoration Ceremonies throughout the year, including the RAAF Anniversary Ceremony, Anzac Day (marching under the EX-RAAF or Association banner), Battle of Britten Day the Battle of the Coral Sea, Korean Veterans Day, Malaya Borneo Confederation, Vietnam Veterans Day, Battle for Australia and Remembrance Day including the more recent, East Timor and the Solomon Islands along with the Middle East Wars and Conflicts. All members are welcome at these activities.
Cairns Branch is active in the ex-service community and attends briefings on special topics by Department of Veteran Affairs and attends other ex-service commemorations.
A brief history of the Australian Flying Corps and Royal Australian Air Force Association
Formation of the Association
The event officially accepted by the RAAF Association as marking its commencement was a gathering in Melbourne outside St. Paul’s Cathedral. Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith and their crew had just completed the epoch-making first flight from England to Australia on 10 December 1919. Mr H.V. Leckie, a former member of the Australian Flying Corps, then living in Melbourne, believed that he and his fellow airmen should welcome the Smith brothers in a fitting manner to recognise their achievements and to establish a lasting organisation to keep the ex-AFC members together.
The AFC members entertained the Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith and their crew at an informal dinner. Following the dinner, attendees agreed to form the Australian Flying Corps Association in Victoria, which was established in 1921. Similar Australian Flying Corps Associations were established over the following months in the other States.
Throughout the subsequent inter-war years, the AFC Associations were linked with the aim of keeping the former members of the AFC together, through reunions and similar functions. In addition, the Associations assisted by raising funds to look after those of their members who needed assistance.
Objects of the Association
- To foster the spirit of comradeship developed during Service
- To foster the development of air defence
- To promote the welfare of the Association and its members
Title Changes and Development
As the AFC itself had been a relatively small organisation, the numbers in the AFC Associations were small. However, with the coming of World War II and the existence of very much larger air force than had existed in World War I, the Australian Flying Corps Associations in each State had to consider their future. Making the right decision, they opened the doors of the AFC Association to the thousands of young Australians who were now, literally, pouring into the Royal Australian Air Force. The title of the Association was changed to Air Force Association in 1943.
Records indicate a constant detailed attention to pension matters, war service homes, housing and the interests of air defence. The Air Force Association differed from most other ex-service bodies in that it retained its links with one of the armed services and has always regarded one of its prime aims as supporting flying and the Air Force.
Leadership and Membership
Among the former members of the AFC were many whose names were significant in the aviation history of Australia. The most well known was Lieutenant Colonel Williams. He became the first Chief of Air Staff (CAS) of the Royal Australian Air Force, formed on 31 March 1921, some months after the AFC Association was formed. He was CAS for seventeen years, rising to the rank of Air Marshal, the first member of the Royal Australian Air Force to do so. Air Marshal Sir Richard Williams long career as National President of the Association continued until 1966, when he became the Association’s first President of Honour.
Since its inception, the Association has enjoyed the privilege of having the Governor-General as its Patron.
Relations with other Ex-Service Organisations
The Association took a lead, at the suggestion of the then Minister for Repatriation, in the formation of The Australian Veterans and Defence Services Council Inc. (AVADSC. The RAAF Association is a member of the World Veterans Federation and was the first Australian National Veteran’s Organisation to join the Federation in 1954.
The Queensland Division of the AFC & RAAF Association is an independent organisation in concert with the other State Divisions that form the Federation of Associations known as the AFC & RAAF Association.
The Queensland Division was incorporated under Letters Patent in 17th October 1946
The Division consists of a State Executive and currently 20 branches.
The active branches are as followed.
Bundabeg & District Link to Website. Cairns Link to Website. Fraser Coast Gold Coast Ipswich Kawana Waters Logan City Nambour National Servicemen North Brisbane Pine Rivers/Sandgate Queensland University Redcliffe Redlands Rockhampton (Disbanded 2011) South Brisbane Tewantin Noosa Toowomba Townsville Link to Website. WAAAF (Disbanded 2011) WRAAF Link to Website. Headquarters List
Current State President: Mr Edmond Mildren CSM
Immediate Past State President: Mr Lindsay M Bennett Queensland Division
Past State President: Mr Douglas Bower JP (Qualified)
Past State President: Mr John Carlile JP (Qualified)
Patron Emeritus: AVM G.W. (Bill) Reed Immediate Past Patron Emeritus
Current Patron 2017: Mr Michael BRYCE, AM AE