ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION IN TASMANIA
Honouring our heritage, providing friendship and comradeship, and commemorating significant RAAF events.
Going above and beyond for the Air Force family.
The Associations’ National History
The event officially accepted as the genesis of the RAAF Association 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 10th 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 fittingly welcome the Smith brothers to recognize their achievements and to establish a lasting organisation to keep the ex-AFC members together. Australian Flying Corps Associations were established over the following months across the States.
Among the early 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 the Air Staff of the Royal Australian Air Force which was formed on 31st March 1921; some months after the AFC Association was formed.
Throughout the subsequent inter-war years, the AFC Associations were linked with the common 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.
As the AFC itself had been a relatively small organisation and the numbers in the AFC Associations were small. During World War II, with the RAAF expanded to over 182,000 members, the AFC Associations welcomed RAAF member. In 1943, the title of the Association was changed to Air Force Association.
The Tasmanian Story
The Tasmania Division was formed in 1944 and initially was one state wide group of members. In the early 1950s Branches began to be formed in Hobart, Launceston, the West Coast and the North West. The WAAAFs formed a Branch in the late 1950s. Regrettably, the WAAAF Branch closed down in March 2014 due to ageing and diminished membership.
The RAAF Memorial Centre at 61 Davey Street Hobart, was purchased by public subscription soon after WWll (a public appeal was launched in 1946), and assisted by member fund raising, the building at No 61 Davey Street, Hobart was purchased and now belongs to all the Division members. The RAAF Memorial Centre is managed by the State Executive of the Tasmania Division
One of the major activities organised by the Division is the annual Battle of Britain commemoration. The Battle of Britain was the first occasion when an air campaign was used by both the RAF and the Luftwaffe to determine the outcome of a battle. This Battle is considered the birth of modern Air Power and the commemoration is an important occasion in the history of military aviation. The activities are well supported by the RAAF, with the Chief of Air Force a frequent attendee, as are other senior RAAF leaders. The Defence Attaches from those allied nations that fought in the Battle of Britain (UK, France, Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the US) are also invited and they most often attend. The activities are held over the weekend closest to the 15 September which was the day the Battle of Britain reached its zenith in 1940.
- assistance to navigate government processes to access DVA support.
- social activities.
- commemorative events.
- preservation of military aviation heritage.
- support for media coverage.
- support Australia’s air power.
- honour the memory of fallen friends.
- make representation to Government bodies on matters affecting ex-Service personnel.
The Association comprises the State Division and three Branches. The Branches are located in Hobart, Launceston, and the Northwest of the State. The State Council, which manages the Division comprises 14 members who are elected annually from members of the Branches.
RAAFATAS is an incorporated not-for-profit charitable organization which is administered by volunteers. Its revenue is obtained from rental income from our Memorial Centre, membership subscriptions, and donations.
The Patron of the RAAFA in Tasmania is the Tasmanian Governor, Her Excellency the Honourable Barbara Baker AC.