The DC3 Dakota aircraft.
The DC3 Dakota aircraft.

Sky-high centenary celebrations

FINAL preparations are on track to celebrate one of Coffs Harbour's most important historical developments - the arrival of rail transport to the region.

The advent of rail in 1915 brought a period of prosperity to the district and helped establish the town as a commercial centre.

The four-day Coffs Harbour Centenary of Rail festival will remember all those who made it happen; from the local pollies who forced the NSW Government to act, the surveyors and engineers who overcame technical problems and the workers whose hard yakka paved the way.

As part of the festivities, residents will also have the opportunity to discover the magic of the region's naval and aviation history.

Few aircraft can generate the kind of reverence attracted by the DC3, and the young and old of Coffs Harbour will have the opportunity to remember or discover the magic aura of the "Dakota" when the aircraft owned and operated by Nostalgia Air visits Coffs Harbour between August 28 - 31.

The visit will permit a fortunate few to experience a truly unique opportunity: to fly into Coffs Harbour in a genuine piece of history.

The aircraft coming to Coffs Harbour is a genuine war-bird. She was built in 1945 under the military designation C-47 and delivered to the United Stated Air Force.

Later that year she was transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force where she served in a variety of roles until 1980.

She changed hands in the private sector several times until 1996, then commenced a four-year total rejuvenation, restoration and conversion to a 28-seat passenger aircraft.

She will be flying from her base in Essendon, Victoria to Coffs Harbour in a series of stages, and for each of these stages seats will be available for an unforgettable, unique experience flying low up the NSW coast in a genuine piece of history.

The stages are Essendon to Sale, Sale to Bankstown via Merimbula, Bankstown to Port Macquarie and finally Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour. 

Coffs Harbour Centenary of Rail organising committee chairman Neil Manson said while flights are available for all the legs, the leg from Port Macquarie will be of particular interest to Coffs Harbour residents.

"Our committee has put together a package which includes a coach trip to Port Macquarie so there are no logistical issues, then a leisurely trip up the coast," Mr Manson said.

'There are only 24 seats available, and when they're gone they're gone.

"This may be your only opportunity to experience such a flight, or to give Dad the ultimate Fathers' Day present.

"The DC3 is an iconic piece of aviation history, but its place in that history is timeless, and you can be part of that history."

For further details of the DC3 visit, contact the Centenary of Rail  Committee through the website, or contact Airside Coordinator Susie Robson on or 0401 531 534 after hours.

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