Guinea Airways

IATA Code: -

ICAO Code: -

Known As: Guinea

Full Name: Guinea Airways Pty Ltd

Country: Australia

Call sign: -




Objects in Collection







Brief History


On 18 May, 1926, Guinea Gold No Liability was formed & registered; with a nominal capital of £2,000.  On 27 July, the capital was increased to £10,000 & to £50,000 in early-September.

On 27 January, 1927, the formation of Guinea Gold No Liability, in Adelaide & the purchase of D.H.37 G-AUAA for £2,500, was formally announced, with C.V.T. Wells as Chairman of Directors.

The force behind the proposal was Cecil John Levien, an ex-District Officer, at Morobe, who had moved heavily into gold-mining.  Others involved were ex-Patrol Officer McKenzie & a Melbourne businessman named Holdgate (previously trading as Salamaua Development Co. P/L), who had purchased D.H.37 G-AUAA in late-1926 & sold it to Guinea Gold No Liability on 13 January.

E.A. ‘Pard’ Mustar became their 1st pilot & Mechanic Mullins was hired.  Whilst the D.H.37 was on a ship on its way to Rabaul, ex-AFC Pilot Clarke, from Rabaul, visited & recommended the landing sites for Lae & Wau, which C.J. Levien immediately had cleared for Guinea Gold No Liability & ‘Pard’ Mustar set about organising a site at Rabaul, which he had identified whilst there with the RAAF.

On 31 March, E.A. ‘Pard’ Mustar operated their 1st flight from Rabaul to Lae (some 720km, much of it over open water), accompanied by his Chief Mechanic Bill Mullins.

On 14 April, Mustar attempted to operate the 1st service, with Mr. Holdgate as a passenger, but couldn’t locate the newly-completed goldfields airfield at Wau.

On 19 April Guinea Gold began operations; ‘Pard’ Mustar flew Guinea Gold's D.H.37 G-AUAA into Wau (his 4th attempt - having initially admitted that he didn’t even know where Wau was) - becoming the 1st aircraft to land at Wau; the aerodrome for the New Guinea goldfields.  His single passenger was Goldfields’ veteran Charlie Lewis.

The D.H.37 was capable of carrying some 600 lbs (270kg) of payload.  The Company charged a shilling per pound for freight & £25 per passenger, each way, with the D.H.37 being able to earn some £200 per day.

It was estimated that the D.H.37 could carry in 30 minutes what 24 natives would take 10 days to carry.  It reduced the round-trip time from 18 days by land (approximately 35 miles (56km) each way) to just 75 minutes & the cost of delivery to the Goldfields from 18d to 12d per pound.

During October, Airco D.H.9 VH-UFB was purchased as a stop-gap.
During October, a proposal was made for the formation of a new company, to handle the airfreight of Guinea Gold No Liability, which was not a common carrier & could not therefore carry freight, or people, for others.

On 04 November, the resulting company, Guinea Airways Limited., was registered in Adelaide, with a nominal capital of £50,000 in £1 shares & an initial capital of £20,000, in issued, fully-paid shares (of which 10,100 were paid to Guinea Gold for assets; giving them control of the new company).  The new company was to begin operations on 1 December.  ‘Pard’ Mustar was made Managing Director.

On 01 December, Guinea Airways began operations in New Guinea, using D.H.37 G-AUAA; taking over Guinea Gold’s aviation operations.  Guinea Gold No Liability continued its non-aviation operations for some years afterwards.  In its nearly 8 months of operations, it had carried some 8,000 lbs (3,628kg) of cargo & 150 passengers.


Fleet in New Guinea

Airco D.H.9        VH-UFB.
de Havilland D.H.37    G-AUAA/VH-UAA.
de Havilland D.H.60    G-AUGE, G-AUGN, VH-UHJ, UIO, UKL, ULJ, UMJ.
de Havilland D.H.61    VH-UTL.
de Havilland D.H.83    VH-UQR, UQS, UQU, UTY, UZL.
Ford 4-AT Tri-Motor    VH-UDY, USX.
Ford 5-AT Tri-Motor    VH-UBI, UTB (plus NC9686, used for spares in the rebuild of VH-UBI).
Junkers F13L        VH-UKW.
Junkers G31        VH-UOU, UOV, UOW, URQ.
Junkers G38        Guinea considered the purchase of the G38 in 1929/30, but ordered the G31 instead, via Bulolo Gold Dredging Ltd.
Junkers W34        VH-UGZ, UJD, UNM, UNR, UOX.
Junkers Ju52/3m        Guinea (& Bulolo Gold Dredging Ltd.) considered the purchase of Ju52s in early-1934, prior to the purchase of the 4th G.31 VH-URQ & again in April 1934.
Lockheed 10-A Electra    VH-AAU, UXH.
Stinson SR-7 Reliant    VH-ABJ, UGC, URC.
Waco Model 10T        VH-ULV.
Westland Widgeon III    VH-UGI.

Fleet in Australia

Auster J/5        VH-ADS, API, BWJ, BYU, PSM.
Convair CV-240        VH-TAO, TAR.
de Havilland D.H.60    G-AUID.
de Havilland D.H.83    VH-UTY.
de Havilland D.H.89    VH-ADE, UBN, UFF, UUO, UVI.
Douglas DC-2        VH-UXJ, UYB.
Douglas DC-3    VH-AEO, AEP, AEQ, AER, AES, AEU, AEX, AEZ, ANH, ANI, ANJ, ANK, ANL, ANN, ANP, ANQ, ANR, ANS, ANT, ANV, ANW, AVK, AVL, AVM, GAH, GAI, GAJ, GAK, GAL, INA, INB, INC, IND, INE, INI, INM, INN, UZJ, UZK, VH-CCB, VH-CDJ, VHC-DK, VH-CTQ.
Douglas DC-4        Guinea Airways used TAA DC-4s to service the Adelaide-Woomera contract from October, 1955 to January 1960.
Fairchild 24        VH-ACW, AVN.
Fokker F.27 Friendship    VH-TFA, TFB, TFC, TFD, TFE.
Ford 5-AT Tri-Motor    VH-UTB.
Lockheed 10-A Electra    VH-AAU, UXH, UXI.
Lockheed 12-A        In March 1936, Guinea Airways’ Board decided to order one Lockheed 12-A, plus an L-10-A.  This was later amended to two Lockheed 10-As.
Lockheed 14         VH-ABI, ADW, ADY, AEW, VHCXI, VHCXJ.
Lockheed 18 Lodestar    VHCAC, VHCEE.
Lockheed 414 Hudson    A16-22 was sold to Guinea Airways by the C.D.C. 27/2/46 & was ‘delivered’ 5/3/46, for spares.  Fuselage was sold late-1946 to H. Parrott, Blackwood, SA.
Messerschmitt Bf108B    VH-UZI.
Percival D Gull Six    VH-UTP.
Short S.16 Scion        VH-UTV.


During October, 1927, a proposal was made for the formation of a new company, to handle the airfreight between the Mandated Territory of New Guinea Goldfields of Guinea Gold No Liability (which was not a common carrier & could not therefore carry freight, or people, for others).  The man behind the proposal was Guinea Gold No Liability's Cecil John Levien.
On 24 October, the Guinea Gold board requested that AB Flygindustri, Linhamm, Sweden, be cabled, to seek details of the earliest possible delivery of a Junkers W33.

On 04 November, the resulting company, Guinea Airways Limited, was registered in Adelaide, with a nominal capital of £50,000 in £1 shares & an initial capital of £20,000, in issued, fully-paid shares (of which 10,100 were paid to Guinea Gold for assets; giving them control of the new company).  Of the remainder, 2,400 were reserved for future issue, at par, to Guinea Airways staff & the balance for Guinea Gold shareholders.  These 9,900 shares were all fully underwritten by C.J. Levien.  The new company was to begin operations on 1 December.

During September, E.A. ‘Pard’ Mustar departed for Europe, seeking an aircraft which could lift 5 short-tons (4.53 tonnes).  On the way, at Brisbane, he purchased D.H.9 VH-UFB, shipping it to Lae & hiring pilots H.D.L. McGilvery & W.E. Gardiner.  In Germany, Mustar purchased a Junkers W34, which arrived at Rabaul 20 March, 1928 & later became G-AUGZ.  Alan Cross flew the D.H.37 whilst ‘Pard’ Mustar was away.

On 01 December, Guinea Airways began operations in New Guinea, using D.H.37 G-AUAA & D.H.9 VH-UFB (flown by Managing Director 'Pard' Mustar); taking over operations from Guinea Gold No Liability.

During March, 1928, Guinea Airways began operating a new contract, to carry freight & personal for the Territory's Administration.

On 14 April, G.A.L. began using its first Swedish-built Junkers W34, G-AUGZ, in New Guinea.  It was the 1st all-metal aircraft in Australasia & could carry 1,800 lbs (816kg) of cargo.  It reportedly was paid for out of profits within 3 months  During its 1st 4.5 months of operation, it carried over 400 passengers & 295 tons of freight, earning some £29.500 from freight & £1,500 from passengers – some 4 times its capital cost.  That represented more than 3 times the 1928 freight total for all aircraft in Australia.  , Guinea Airways went from a £6,000 deficit to a £6,000 profit within 3 months of the 1st W34 entering service.
During its 1st 9 months of operation Guinea Airways carried 367,000 lbs (166,468kg) of freight & 498 passengers between the coast & the goldfields. 

The highest passenger charge for Lae-Wau had been £33/6/8 before the formation of Guinea Airways, when aircraft were mainly required for the carriage of cargo & passengers were discouraged.  This was later reduced to £25 in & £15 out, then £10 out & gradually fell to £5 in & 30/- out.  The cargo rate started at 1s 6d per lb from Salamaua to Wau, but gradually reduced (it was 3d per lb in October, 1934).

The second W34, G-AUJD, was flown from Melbourne to Lae in 6 days & entered service during December.  The third W34, VH-UNM, followed in December, 1929, the fourth W34 ,VH-UNR, in March, 1930 & their fifth & last W34, VH-UOX, in January, 1931.

During 1928, D.H.60 Moths G-AUGE & G-AUGN joined the G.A.L. fleet.  Both crashed in the 2nd half of 1928.  VH-UIO & VH-UMJ were added during 1929, VH-UHJ in July, 1930, VH-UKL in September, 1931 & VH-ULJ in July, 1937.
In the year to February, 1929, GAL carried 434 short-tons of freight (at an average price of £99 per ton) & 869 passengers.
In the year to 28 February, 1930, its aircraft carried 1,375 short-tons (1,247 tonnes) of freight & 3,000 passengers - reflecting the massive improvement provided by the additional W34.

Bulolo Gold Dredging Limited (BGDL), which wished to transport (initially) 2 large dredges & equipment for a planned hydro-electric scheme near Bulolo (initially estimated at some 2,400 short-tons (2,177 tonnes, plus approximately 200 short-tons (217 tonnes) per month after construction), were impressed by Guinea Airways’ success with their W34s. 

However, they realised that the W34’s 1,800 lbs (816kg) payload limit & cabin dimensions made them unsuitable for carrying large dredge parts.  Aircraft capable of carrying dredge parts of up to 7,000 lbs (3,175kg) in one trip were sought in the U.K. (Bristol Aeroplane Company, which replied that the idea was impractical & they weren’t interested - thus throwing away a potential £90,000 contract) the U.S.A. (Ford Airplane Co., which advised that they had an aircraft, which could carry the load, but it would be 25% overloaded), the Netherlands (Fokker Aircraft Co. said that they had an aircraft, which could carry the load, but they didn’t know how anyone could get the load into the aircraft) & Germany (Junkers Flugzeugwerke AG, at Dessau). 

Only Junkers were able to offer an aircraft capable of loading & carrying such loads, which had never been attempted anywhere worldwide at that stage.  Junkers offered to adapt the passenger-carrying Junkers G31 design, (8 had been ordered by Luft Hansa AG, for long-distance European operations), into a pure-freighter, capable of carrying very large freight loads, by including a large roof hatch, which could be removed & the cargo loaded via cranes.  Whilst its payload for the long distances required in Europe (5,800 lbs (2,630kg), with fuel for a 3.5-hour flight) would have been inadequate, because of the required fuel load, the G31 could carry 7,100 lbs (3,220kg), when the far smaller amount of fuel required, with more than adequate reserves, for the normal return flying time Lae-Bulolo-Lae (just 75 minutes) was taken into account. 

A scale model of the G31 cabin was built & all required dredge parts, including the largest part - the 6,950 lb upper tumbler shaft - were successfully tested for fit, weight & CofG compatibility.

 The BGDL evaluation found that:
- The cost of sectionalising the dredges & the extra cost of erection in the field would not be excessive.
- With proper precautions, the risk of losing parts would be very slight.
- The saving in time, when compared to land transport, would be enormous.

Therefore, in December, 1929, Bulolo Gold Dredging Limited (formed by Placer Development Limited, of the U.S.A.) decided to abandon the idea of building a road from the sea to the goldfields (at an estimated cost of up to £300,000 & an annual upkeep cost of some £30,000) & to fly in all the machinery for its planned gold dredges & hydro-electric power-plant in the Bulolo area.


On 22 May, 1930, Bulolo Gold Dredging Ltd. (via Placer Development) ordered their 1st two Junkers G31s (VH-UOU & VH-UOV), at a cost of £31,000 each, plus nine P&W 525hp Hornet engines, for operation by Guinea Airways, under a management fee contract.  Guinea Airways soon ordered its own Junkers G31 (VH-UOW) to serve such mining companies as New Guinea Goldfields Ltd &, Day Dawn Limited.

During July, Guinea Airways Ltd. acquired the assets of Airgold Limited.
During August, Westland Widgeon III VH-UGI joined the fleet, but lasted only until January, 1933.
During 1930, Guinea Airways consistently carried more freight per month than the rest of the World's airlines did in the whole of 1930 (mainly using its 4 Junkers W34s).

From April, 1931, Guinea Airways began carrying dredging equipment for Bulolo Gold Dredging Ltd. (BGDL) in Junkers G31s, in what was probably the World’s first large air freight operation.  G.A.L. began flying some 16 short-tons (14.51 tonnes) of freight per day.  The first BGDL dredge had been successfully transported by November, 1931.  By March 1932, some 2,500 short-tons (2,267 tonnes) had been carried, without a single mishap.  Guinea Airways eventually (1934) operated three G31s owned by BGDL (VH-UOU, VH-UOV & VH-URQ) under a management contract & one they owned themselves (VH-UOW).
The G31s could each carry a payload of some 3.5 short-tons (3.175 tonnes).

During February, 1932, Junkers F13 VH-UKW joined the Guinea Airways’ fleet.
On 23 March, Guinea commenced Port Moresby-Wau passenger services, once every 3 weeks, using Junkers F13 VH-UKW; at a passenger fare of £15.

The service was very popular & by August, VH-UKW had been supplemented by Junkers W34 VH-UNM, converted to an 8-seat passenger configuration.  The 1st air-mail operation was 30 September.

During March, 1933, Guinea's 1st D.H.83 Fox Moth, VH-UQR, entered service.  It was followed by VH-VH-UQS in November, 1933, VH-UQU in March, 1938, VH-UZL in December, 1938 & VH-UTY in October, 1940.
On 27 July, Guinea Airways’ pilot Ian Grabowsky established a world record, when he flew G31 VH-UOW on 6 return trips between Lae & Wau in one day, carrying 33,360 lbs (15,163kg) of freight.
During 1933, G.A.L. commenced unsubsidised Lae-Port Moresby services.  By late-1933, Guinea Airways was serving 27 aerodromes, up to 300 miles (480km) from Lae.  It was reportedly carrying 60-80 short-tons (54.4-72.5 tonnes) of freight into Wau per day.

During May, 1934, Guinea Airways acquired 60% of the shares (15,000 of 25,000) of Holdens Air Transport Service Ltd. (H.A.T.S.). In June, Bulolo Gold Dredging Ltd.’s 3rd Junkers G31 (VH-URQ) entered service, after VH-UOU was badly damaged on 1 May. By October, Guinea Airways served some 35 aerodromes & had transported 4 complete BGDL dredges to the Goldfields.  The airline had flown thousands of passengers & kilos of freight, well over 1 million miles (1.6 million km), with few mishaps, one passenger fatality & two crew fatalities.

According to a G.A.L. pamphlet dated 31/10/34, the airline’s fleet then consisted of:
- 1 Junkers G31         (capable of carrying 7,100 lbs/3,220kg) (excluding the 2 owned by BGDL, but operated by Guinea Airways).
- 2 Junkers W34s         (capable of carrying 1,800 lbs/816kg each)
- 1 Junkers F13        (capable of carrying 1,800 lbs/816kg, or 6 passengers)
- 1 Ford 4-AT            (capable of carrying 2,700 lbs/1,224kg, or 10 passengers)
- 2 D.H.83s            (capable of carrying 600 lbs/270kg each)
- 2 D.H.60             (capable of carrying 300 lbs/135kg each)

for a total uplift capability of 17,000 lbs (8.5 short-tons)/7,711kg.

In the period 01 December, 1927-31 August,1934, Guinea Airways own aircraft (excluding the BGDL G31s) flew 7,619 Junkers W34 trips, 1,154 Junkers G31 (VH-UOW only) trips & 3,335 trips by other types for a total of 12,108 trips, over some 1,364,868 miles (2,183,788 km) carrying 9,096 short-tons (8,251 tonnes) of cargo & 19,899 passengers.

From the time of their introduction in April, 1931 until 31 August, 1934, the three BDGL/GAL G31s alone had flown 3,916 trips, 394,173 miles (6,306,768km), carrying 9,269 short-tons (8,408 tonnes) & 1,430 passengers.  So, the combined fleets of Guinea Airways & BGDL had conducted 16,024 trips, covering some 1,759,041 miles (2,814,465 km) , carrying 18,365 short-tons (16,660 tonnes) of freight & 21,129 passengers - a truly remarkable feat.
On 12 December, Guinea Airways’ 1st Ford 5-AT Tri-Motor (VH-UTB) joined the fleet.  It was joined by VH-UBI in October, 1935.


During late-1935, D.H.61 VH-UTL joined the fleet.  It served only until September, 1936.

During March, 1936, Guinea Airways decided to order a Lockheed 10-A Electra & a Lockheed 12-A Electra Junior.  This was later amended to two Lockheed 10-As.
During 1936, Guinea Airways acquired a further 30% of Holdens Air Transport Service Ltd. (H.A.T.S.), bringing its shareholding to 90%.

During June, Stinson SR-7 Reliants VH-UGC & VH-URC entered service.  VH-URC crashed 28 August, 1937 & was replaced by VH-ABJ in February, 1938.  Both remaining aircraft were destroyed by enemy action in early-1942.
During July, Guinea introduced Waco Model 10T VH-ULV.  However, it did not fit into their operations & lasted only until December, 1936.

During September, Guinea's 1st Lockheed 10-A Electra, VH-UXH ‘C.J. Levien’ entered service Port Moresby-Wau.  However, although popular with passengers, it was uneconomic & was transferred to Australia during February, 1937.  L-10-A VH-AAU was introduced on the Port Moresby-Goldfields services in October, 1937, but, like its compatriot VH-UXH, was soon transferred to Australian services.

During December, the operations of Holdens Air Transport Service (H.A.T.S.) were absorbed into those of Guinea Airways.

On 13 February, 1937, a survey flight was made Adelaide-Darwin, for a planned regular service.
On 22 February, G.A.L. commenced a weekly, unsubsidised Adelaide-Whyalla-Quom-Farina-Oodnadatta-Alice Springs-Tennant Creek-Daly Waters-Katherine-Darwin service, using Lockheed 10-A
VH-UXH ‘C.J. Levien’.  This was Guinea Airways’ 1st Australian domestic operation & involved the 1st aircraft to land at Alice Springs.  Initially there were overnight stops at Tennant Creek northbound & Alice Springs southbound.  But this was later amended to Alice Springs, in both directions (the accommodation at Tennant Creek was politely described as ‘rough’).
Katherine was added to the route on 11 April.

By 25 March, Guinea Airways Limited had acquired the remaining 10% of the shares of Holden Air Transport Service Ltd.
During April-July, G.A.L. transferred Holden Air Transport Service’s two Ford 4-ATs (VH-ADY & VH-USX) to their operations.
By 01 May, Guinea Airways Limited operated Adelaide-Mildura-Hay-Leeton-Cootamundra-Sydney & Adelaide-Farina-Oodnadatta-Alice Springs-Tennant Creek-Daly Waters-Katherine-Darwin services.
On 16 August, G.A.L. began daily-except-Sundays Adelaide-Mildura-Hay-Cootamundra-Sydney services, using Lockheed 10s.  This was possible after the arrival of GAL's 2nd L-10-A (VH-UXI); giving GAL an Adelaide-based fleet of 2 L-10-As, 1 Ford Tri-Motor & 1 Messerschmitt 108 Taifun.  Fares included Adelaide-Sydney £10/10/- single & £19 return & Adelaide-Mildura £3 single & £5/10/- return.

During October, Guinea Airways’ 3rd Lockheed 10-A, VH-AAU ‘Salamaua’ entered service, initially operating Port Moresby-Goldfields.  It was not a great success there & was transferred to the Adelaide-Darwin service during 1938, joining VH-UXH & VH-UXI.

During G.A.L.’s financial year to 28 February, 1938, Guinea Airways carried 1,918 passengers & 40,320 lbs. (18,290 kg) of freight.
On 10 June, G.A.L.'s 1st Lockheed 14 Super Electra, VH-ABI, entered service.  It crashed on 18 January, 1939.
During July, Guinea Airways were granted a contract by the Federal Government to carry overseas mail between Adelaide & Darwin, under the Empire Air Mail Distribution Scheme.

On 18 July, Guinea Airways flew its last Adelaide to Sydney service, due to the increased aircraft demands for the Adelaide-Darwin service.  The route was transferred to Ansett Airways.
During July, Guinea Airways won an airmail contract for Adelaide-Darwin, 3 times-per-week, commencing 5 July.  During February, 1939, a 5-year government contract was signed.

On 01 August, Guinea Airways began operating a subsidised 3-times-per-week L-10/L-14 service Adelaide-Darwin, replacing the weekly, unsubsidised service.

Between 1 December, 1927 & 30 September, 1938, GAL’s own aircraft in New Guinea performed as follows:
-    W34s had flown 12,902 trips
-    G31 had flown 2,492 trips
-    All other GAL aircraft had flown 17,502 trips
for a total of 3,266,575 miles (5,257,042km), carrying 22,626 short-tons (20,525 tonnes) of cargo & 64,427 passengers.
From the time that the 1st of the three BGDL G31s had entered service in April, 1931 to 30 September, 1938, they had conducted 9,361 trips, covering 962,137 miles (1,548,409km), carrying 26,419 short-tons
(23,966 tonnes) & 5,315 passengers.  That gave a combined operation of 42,257 trips, flying 4,228,712 miles (6,805,452km), carrying 49,045 short-tons (44,492 tonnes) of cargo & 69,742 passengers.

The airline’s 1938 Australian domestic fleet consisted of:

3 Lockheed 10-A Electras (VH-AAU, VH-UXH & VH-UXI), carrying 10 passengers each.
1 Lockheed 14-H Super Electra (VH-ABI), carrying 12 passengers
1 Messerschmitt Bf108B (VH-UZI), carrying 3 passengers.


On 10 January 1939, a one-day service began Darwin-Adelaide, with the overnight stop at Alice Springs retained northbound.  Mt. Eba later replaced Whyalla, Quom & Farina on the Adelaide-Darwin services.
On 18 January, Guinea Airways’ Lockheed 14 VH-ABI ‘Koranga’ crashed at Katherine, NT.
During February, a 5-year contract was signed with the Federal Government, providing for 3-times-weekly Adelaide-Darwin service (although this was varied after WWII started, until 1943, because of the need to move large numbers of service personnel).

During April, after a Department of Civil Aviation ruling, MacRobertson Miller Aviation handed over their South Australian routes to Guinea Airways.

On 15 April, Guinea Airways commenced operating Adelaide-Kingscote services; using D.H.89s.
On 16 April, Guinea Airways commenced operating Adelaide-Cowell-Cleve-Port Lincoln services; using D.H.89s.
On 24 April, Guinea Airways commenced Monday/Wednesday/Friday D.H.89 services from Adelaide to Port Lincoln, Cleve & Kangaroo Island; taking over the routes from A.N.A.; initially using leased A.N.A. D.H.89 Rapides & later their own D.H.89s, VH-UUO & VH-UVI, purchased from A.N.A. & entering Guinea Airways’ service in July & August, respectively.  VH-ADE also served briefly with GAL between June & September, 1940.  VH-UUO & VH-UVI were impressed into the RAAF in July, 1940, but were replaced by VH-UBN in April, 1942 & VH-UFF in November, 1943.

On 07 September, Guinea Airways began Adelaide-Whyalla services.
During 1939, Guinea Airways uplifted a record 8,804 short-tons (7,986 tonnes) of freight; thanks mainly to its Goldfield operations.  To give some idea of the relative enormity of this, all Australian airlines combined uplifted just 8,394 short-tons (7,614 tonnes) in 1946.

By 1939, five Bulolo Gold Dredges Ltd. (BGDL) dredges & a complete hydro electric plant had been flown to the Bulolo area & 2 other dredges were being flown in.

According to a G.A.L. notes, the airline’s 1939 fleet consisted of:

1 Junkers G31         (capable of carrying 7,100 lbs/3,220kg) (excluding the 2 owned by BGDL).
2 Junkers W34s         (capable of carrying 1,800 lbs/816kg each)
1 Junkers F13        (capable of carrying 1,800 lbs/816kg, or 6 passengers)
2 Ford 5-AT            (capable of carrying 3,500 lbs/1,587kg, or 14 passengers, each)
2 Ford 4-AT            (capable of carrying 3,000 lbs/1,360kg, or 10 passengers, each)
Stinson SR-7 seaplane        (capable of carrying 1,000 lbs/453kg)
Stinson SR-7 Reliant        (capable of carrying 700 lbs/317kg)
1 D.H.61            (capable of carrying 1,600 lbs/725kg)
3 D.H.83s            (capable of carrying 600 lbs/270kg each)
2 D.H.60             (capable of carrying 400 lbs/181kg each)

For a total uplift capability of 31,000 lbs (15.5 short-tons)/14,061kg.  That meant that GAL’s own aircraft in NG could up to 90 short-tons (61 tonnes) per day.  The 3 BDGL G31s could carry up to some 60 short-tones per day, giving a total of some 150 short-tons (136 tonnes) per day.

For the year ending 30 June, 1940, Guinea Airways’ received an annual subsidy of £43,667 for its twice-weekly Adelaide-Darwin L-10-A services & a combined  annual subsidy of £3,642 for its Adelaide-Whyalla 6 times per week D.H.89 services, its weekly Adelaide-Iron Knob  D.H.89 services, its 6 times weekly Adelaide-Kingscote D.H.89 services & its 3 times weekly Adelaide-Cowell-Port Lincoln-Adelaide D.H.89 services.

During August, Guinea Airways introduced two ex-Aer Lingus Lockheed 14s Super Electras (VH-ADW & VH-ADY) into service.
VH-ADW became VH-AEW later that month.  VH-ADY crashed in April, 1942.  VH-AEW remained with G.A.L. until it was withdrawn-from-service on 22 September, 1949.

During G.A.L.’s financial year to 28 February, 1941, Guinea Airways carried 13,392 passengers & 280,000 lbs. (127,000 kg) of freight on its Australian operations.
In the 12 months to February, G.A.L. carried 10,740 passengers & 15,955,520 lbs (7,237,302kg) of freight in New Guinea.  In the 10 months to December, 1941, they carried 7,848 passengers & 11,173,120 lbs (5,068,041kg) of freight in New Guinea.

During World War II, the Adelaide-Darwin route became a life-line between the southern states & the north-west.  Guinea Airways not only provided that service, but undertook major operations on behalf of the U.S.A.A.F./A.D.A.T. & undertook extensive overhaul work on RAAF aircraft & engines.
Guinea Airways Limited                                 

On 21 January, 1942, Guinea Airways’ bases at Lae, Bulolo, Salamaua & Wau were attacked by Japanese aircraft, destroying 10 aircraft in their fleet & almost wiping out the Lae base (G.A.L.’s NG headquarters) itself.  A number of other Guinea Airways aircraft had narrow escapes.

During February, Guinea Airways was forced out of New Guinea by the war, after losing all but 6 of its PNG-based aircraft (VH-UBI, VH-UDY, VH-UMQ, VH-UOW, VH-UOX & VH-UTY) to the air-raids on 21 January, 1942.  Despite its fantastic pre-war record, it was never allowed to return there by various Australian Commonwealth Governments.  Between 1931 & 1942 it had uplifted some 80,000 short-tons (72,574 tonnes) of freight - a figure unmatched by any airline in the World.  It had carried 8,000 short-tons (7,257 tonnes) of freight & 10,000 passengers in PNG, during 1940-41 alone.

On 21 April, Lockheed 14 VH-ADY crashed at Annaburroo Station, north of Pine Creek, near Burrundi, NT.
On 15 May, the Allied Directorate of Air Transport (A.D.A.T.) was formed by the Commonwealth Government, the U.S. forces, A.N.A., QANTAS Empire Airways & Guinea Airways, for the Australian airlines to operate U.S. transport aircraft (mainly Douglas C-47 types & Lockheed Lodestars) for military transport purposes.  Later, Ansett Airways was also involved.  Many U.S. transport aircraft were available, but with no crews to fly them & Australian airline crews had insufficient aircraft to fly.  So, during November, arrangements were made between the Australian Commonwealth Government & Australian National Airways Pty. Ltd., Guinea Airways Ltd., QANTAS Empire Airways Ltd. & the American forces for the operation of these transport aircraft under the direction of the Allied Directorate of Air Transport.  An agreement was finalised so that the airline crews could fly the military transports, using radio call-signs. These were not full registrations, but thirty-six certificates of registration were issued & prefixed X, to enable these aircraft to carry passengers on war-related duties.

 Guinea Airways operated the following military call-sign aircraft during/after WWII:

Lockheed Lodestar -         VHCAC (11/42-02/44 & 06/44-08/85), VHCEE (03/44-04/44 on the Adelaide-Darwin courier run).
Lockheed 14            VHCXI (05/43-02/44), VHCXJ (03/44-05/44 & 07/44-01/45).
Douglas C-53/C-50/C-47        VHCCB (C-53, 05/44-07/44), VHCDJ & VHCDK (C-50s, 05/44-11/45), VHCTQ (C-47A) 09/46-02/47.

With the threat of Japanese air-raids, Adelaide-Darwin-Adelaide services were temporarily quickly turned around at Darwin & through passengers & crew overnighted at a newly-completed hostel at Katherine.
During November, G.A.L. signed contracts with the USAAF for the operation & maintenance of USAAF aircraft (initially Lodestars & later C-47s) under charter.  The charters lasted until 1946.

During December, Guinea Airways began a weekly (Sunday) Adelaide-Renmark-Broken Hill Lockheed 10-A service.  The service became known as ‘The Mail’, as it carried the Sunday Mail newspapers.
During December, G.A.L.’s two Lockheed 10-As were flown to New Guinea, to operate between Port Moresby & Buna, sometimes without fighter cover, to assist the war effort.

In May, 1943, Guinea Airways introduced Short S.16 Scion VH-UTV into operations.  It was sold during October, 1944.
During 1943, Guinea Airways reached an agreement with A.N.A., for A.N.A. to provide maintenance, reservations & ground-handing for G.A.L. at A.N.A. airports.

During July, Fairchild 24-R9 VH-ACW has charter from Bonds Airways, whilst D.H.83 VH-UTY was undergoing maintenance.
During October-November, Guinea Airways chartered Percival Gull VH-UTP, when D.H.83 VH-UTY was not available.
From 24 December, Guinea Airways’ Adelaide-Renmark-Broken Hill Lockheed 10-A service was operated on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays.

During G.A.L.’s financial year to 28 February, 1944, Guinea Airways carried 26,091 passengers & 300,244 lbs. (136,190 kg) of freight.
On 27 July, Guinea Airways’ D.H.89 VH-UBN crashed at Mt. Kitchener, SA.
During July, Douglas DC-3s VH-AEX & VH-AEZ, chartered from the DCA, joined the GAL fleet; serving until 14 March 1947 & 12 October, 1944 respectively.

On 03 October, the Allied Directorate of Air Transport (A.D.A.T.) was disbanded & reformed as the 5298th Troop Carrier Wing.  This did not affect the charter arrangements with Australian airlines.
In late-1944, A.N.A. made a £275,000 offer, in the form of £1 A.N.A. preference shares, for Guinea Airways.  It was rejected at an extraordinary general meeting in January 1945.

During January, 1945, a proposal for a merger of Guinea Airways Limited & A.N.A. was placed before G.A.L.’s shareholders (for £275,000, in 6% £1 preference A.N.A. shares).
Shareholders, including R.M. Ansett, who had acquired 100 ordinary shares in 1944, rejected the proposal, during a fiery meeting & the Board of Directors of G.A.L. resigned.

During January, DC-3 VH-AEU joined the fleet, on charter from the DCA; serving until 28 March, 1947.
During August, after the cessation of hostilities with Japan meant that revenue from G.A.L.’s main route, Adelaide-Darwin, declined sharply & G.A.L. were seeking to reduce their costs, A.N.A. reached an agreement with Guinea Airways in relation to maintenance (heavy maintenance was done by A.N.A. at Essendon), engineering, bookings & passenger-handling for G.A.L.  Guinea Airways became, operationally, but not legally, a subsidiary of A.N.A.  Whilst most ground staff & hostesses were A.N.A. staff, Guinea Airways maintained their own Captains & First Officers (although they had the right to ask for additional technical crews from A.N.A., as required).

During December, arrangements between the Allied Directorate of Air Transport, Australian National Airways & Guinea Airways ceased.
During 1945, DC-3 VH-AER, again chartered from the DCA, joined the GAL fleet; serving until 30 June, 1946.
                               

From May, 1946, A.N.A.’s Douglas DC-3s VH-ANH & VH-ANI temporarily joined the G.A.L. fleet, until June & July, 1946, respectively.
In July, Lockheed 10-A VH-UXH was withdrawn from service, after it was replaced by a DC-3 (VH-AVK, the ex-VH-ANY).  VH-AAU followed in August.  Both were sold to Union Airways, N.Z.
During July, DC-3 VH-AVK (ex-VH-ANY) joined the Guinea Airways fleet, serving until April, 1955.
During September, DC-3 VH-AVL (ex-VH-ANK) was added to the fleet, serving until May, 1954.
DC-3s VH-AEO, VH-AEP, VH-AEQ, VH-AES, VH-ANJ, VH-ANK, VH-ANQ, VH-ANR & VH-ANV were used during 1946.

During G.A.L.’s financial year to 28 February, 1947, Guinea Airways carried 43,745 passengers & 796,745 lbs. (361,397kg) of freight. During March, DC-3 VH-AVM joined the GAL fleet, serving until January, 1950.
On 31 October, Guinea Airways' DC-3 VH-AVL flew their last Adelaide-Darwin-Adelaide service.  On that date, after a court decision went against it, Guinea Airways finally handed over its Adelaide to Darwin route to Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA).  Its last operation had been on 31 October.  That left Guinea Airways with only one interstate service - Adelaide-Renmark-Broken Hill.

During 1947, the Commonwealth Government refused Guinea Airways’ request to return to New Guinea & granted the exclusive rights to QANTAS Empire Airways.
During 1947, DC-3 VH-ANL operated GAL services.

During 1948, A.N.A. DC-3s VH-INA, VH-INC & VH-IND operated GAL services.

During September, 1949, Guinea Airways’ Adelaide-Renmark-Broken Hill Lockheed 10-A service was increased to 5 times weekly.On 19 September, Guinea Airways began operations from Adelaide to Renmark & Mildura, six days per week, as a ‘Joint Venture’ with A.N.A. (which had previously included Mildura on its Adelaide-Sydney services).  G.A.L. had previously served Renmark on its Adelaide-Broken Hill services.  Due to poor loadings, the frequency was gradually reduced to twice-weekly & ceased on 13 December, 1957.

During December, the Adelaide-Renmark-Broken Hill Lockheed 10-A service was increased to 6 times weekly, although the frequency was reduced during winter & quiet periods.
During 1949, DC-3 VH-INI served with Guinea Airways, for unknown dates.

During December, 1950, the Adelaide-Renmark-Broken Hill Lockheed 10-A service was increased to 8 times weekly, although the frequency was reduced during winter & quiet periods.
During 1950, A.N.A. DC-3s VH-INM & VH-INN operated Guinea Airways services.

On 17 January, 1951, Guinea Airways began scheduled DC-3 operations from Adelaide to Woomera, via Whyalla, three times per week.  Due to lack of support, the services to Woomera were gradually reduced to one-per-week, before being discontinued on 3 October, 1955, when they were replaced by a charter operation for the Department of Supply.
During December, Guinea Airways’ Adelaide-Renmark-Broken Hill Lockheed 10-A service was increased to 10 times weekly, although the frequency was reduced during winter & quiet periods.
During 1951, A.N.A. DC-3sVH-INE operated GAL services.  VH-ANJ also operated ad-hoc Guinea Airways services.

As of 13 May, 1952, there were £435,076 worth of G.A.L. shares (with a book value of £404,689); £72,622 more than a year before.  The profit for the year was £20,319, up from £19,319 the previous year).
During October, Auster J/5B VH-ADS (the 1st of 5 Austers to serve the airline) was added to the fleet.  It was sold in October, 1954.

On 17 December, Guinea Airways began operations from Adelaide to Ceduna (taking over from A.N.A., which had served Ceduna on its Perth services) on a once-per-week basis.

From 14 January, 1953, Guinea Airways’ Adelaide-Ceduna service was operated via Cowell & Cleve, on a thrice-weekly basis.
From 16 February, the Adelaide-Ceduna service became Adelaide-Port Lincoln-Ceduna, twice weekly.
On 20 July, DC-3 VH-ANN joined the fleet, serving until 23 July, 1965 (although it was temporarily registered VH-GAH August, 1958-24 January, 1960).

On 11 September, Minnipa was added to the Adelaide-Port Lincoln-Ceduna route.
On 15 December, DC-3 VH-ANS joined the fleet, serving until 28 January, 1966 (although it was temporarily registered VH-GAJ August, 1958-24 January, 1960).     

On 09 February, 1954, Guinea Airways added Radium Hill to their DC-3 Adelaide-Broken Hill route, operating twice-weekly - Tuesdays & Thursdays.  Radium Hill were allocated 4 seats each way, at a fare of £2/10/-.  The first passenger Radium Hill-Adelaide was Mrs. Jo Harding-Kif.

On 31 May, DC-3 VH-ANW joined the fleet, serving until 4 October, 1971 (although it was temporarily registered VH-GAK August, 1958-24 January, 1960).

On 08 October, Fairchild 24W-41A Argus II VH-AVN entered Guinea Airways service.  It was sold in December, 1955.
On 14 October, Auster J/5F VH-BWJ was chartered for a one-off medical emergency flight.

During February, 1955, operations transferred from Parafield to West Beach Airport, Adelaide.
During March, Auster J/5G VH-API joined the fleet, but was sold in August, 1957.
During April, DC-3 VH-INB joined the fleet, serving until 26 January, 1960 (although it was temporarily registered VH-GAL August, 1958-24 January, 1960).

During May, Auster J/5B VH-PSM was leased by Guinea Airways.
On 18 June, DC-3 VH-ANP joined the fleet, serving until 16 December, 1961 (although it was temporarily registered VH-GAI August, 1958-24 January, 1960).

By mid-1955, the Company's fleet consisted of four DC-3s (VH-ANN, VH-ANP, ANS & ANW), one Fairchild 24 (VH-AVN) & an Auster J/5 (VH-API).

During August Auster J/5G Autocar VH-BYU joined the Guinea Airways fleet.  It remained with GAL/ASA until August, 1960.
On 03 October, G.A.L.’s scheduled services to Woomera were replaced by a charter operation for the Department of Supply, using DC-3s and TAA DC-4s.

On 04 December, 1956, Guinea Holdings Limited was registered, as the holding company for Guinea Airways. Ltd., taking over the share capital of Guinea Airways Limited from 17 December on the basis of nine G.H.L. shares for each G.A.L. Preference Share & 12 G.H.L. shares for each G.A.L. Ordinary Share.  Guinea Airways Ltd. became the operating company.

On 05 June, 1957, as part of the formation of the holding company, Guinea Investments Limited was formed, retaining the assets of Guinea Airways Limited.  It became a private company on 20 June, converting its preference shares to ordinary shares.

On 06 June, Guinea Airways Limited was registered as a private company - being the operating company for Guinea Holdings Limited; with the assets owned by Guinea Investments Limited.
On 18 November, Guinea Airways added Kimba to their Adelaide-Cleve-Cowell route.
13 December, the G.A.L./A.N.A. ‘Joint Venture’ Adelaide-Renmark-Mildura operation, which had begun 19 September, 1949, ceased.

On 01 July, 1958, Guinea Airways transferred ‘Managing Agents’ arrangements for ground support, aircrew training & checking, terminal & booking facilities & provision of relief aircraft to Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA).
On 28 July, Guinea Airways began operating Convair CV-240 VH-TAR, leased from TAA, to compete against Butler Air Transport's Viscounts, on the Adelaide-Broken Hill route.  G.A.L.’s services operated via Radium Hill.  Convair CV-240 VH-TAO replaced VH-TAR during planned maintenance.  From approximately August 1959, various TAA-operated Fokker F.27s replaced the CV-240s.

From August 1958 to 24 January, 1960, DC-3s VH-ANN, VH-ANP, VH-ANS, VH-ANW & VH-INB were temporarily reregistered VH-GAH to VH-GAL respectively.
On 15 December, DC-3 VH-ANS joined the fleet, serving until 28 January, 1966 (although it was temporarily registered VH-GAJ August, 1958-24 January, 1960).


During March, 1959, Ansett Transport Industries made a £200,000 offer for the aviation interests of Guinea Holdings Ltd. - Guinea Airways.  This was rejected by the Guinea Board.

On 01 July, Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. made a successful bid for Guinea Holdings Limited., including Guinea Airways Limited.  A.T.I. offered to buy all of Guinea Holdings Limited, for £1.7m (based on 2.5 fully-paid 5s 0d Ansett shares (then valued at approximately 20s 2½d), or 17s 6d cash, for each Guinea Holdings fully-paid share, then valued at approximately 12s 0d, which was accepted by Guinea’s shareholders, against the advice of the Guinea Board.  Guinea Holdings Limited's assets included a large portfolio of premium Australian company shares, with a then current value of some £848,000.
During August, various TAA Fokker F.27s replaced Convair CV-240 VH-TAR.

In 23 October, Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. took control of Guinea Holdings Limited, including Guinea Airways Limited & Guinea Investments Limited.

On 04 November, Guinea Holdings Limited was renamed Guinea Holdings Proprietary Limited.
On 21 December, Guinea Airways Limited was legally renamed Airlines of South Australia Pty. Ltd.    It actually operated under the new business name from 14 December.

On 17 January, 1960, Guinea Airways' 'Managing Agents' arrangements with TAA, started on 1 July, 1958, expired.

On 18 January, Airlines of South Australia began operations.  Its initial operations were Adelaide-Port Lincoln-Minnipa-Ceduna, Adelaide-Port Pirie-Whyalla, Adelaide Kangaroo Island, Adelaide-Renmark-Mildura, Adelaide-Cowell-Cleve-Kimba, Adelaide-Radium Hill-Broken Hill & the Adelaide-Woomera charter operation.  Its initial fleet was five DC-3s & one Auster J/5.
On 4 November, Guinea Investments Limited was renamed Guinea Investments Proprietary Limited.

On 11 December, 1964, the operating company’s name was changed to Guinea Airways Proprietary Limited, associated with the need to register the business name of Airlines of South Australia Pty. Ltd.
On 14 December, the business was sold as a going concern, to Australian National Airways Pty. Ltd., at book values.

On 19 November, 1965, Guinea Holdings Pty. Ltd., Guinea Investments Pty. Ltd. & Guinea Airways Pty. Ltd. were placed into voluntary liquidation.

Guinea Airways served the following Australian destinations, at some stage:
Adelaide, Alice Springs, Berri, Broken Hill, Cleve, Cootamundra, Cowell, Daly Waters, Darwin, Farina, Hay, Katherine, Kimba, Kingscote/Kangaroo Island, Leeton, Mildura, Minnipa, Oodnadatta, Port Lincoln, Port Pirie, Quom, Radium Hill, Renmark, Sydney, Tennant Creek, Whyalla & Woomera.

Information Source: Fred Niven
Accident History


Date
Registration
Aircraft Type
Location
Fatalities
20JUL1944
VH-UBN
De Havilland DH.89
Mount Kitchener
7
13FEB1944
VH-CXI
Lockheed 14 Electra
Adelaide
0
21APR1942
VH-ADY
Lockheed 14 Electra
Darwin
12
23OCT1941
VH-UTB
Ford 5
Wau
0
15SEP1941
VH-ULJ
De Havilland DH.60
Wau
0
18DEC1939
VH-UXI
Lockheed 10 Electra
Darwin
0
18JAN1939
VH-ABI
Lockheed 14 Electra
Katherine
4
27AUG1937
VH-URC
Stinson Reliant
Wau
1
20AUG1935
VH-UQJ
De Havilland DH.61
Wau
0
13JUL1935
VH-UKL
De Havilland DH.60
Kiapit
0
26DEC1932
VH-UMJ
De Havilland DH.60
Wau
2
22MAY1931
VH-UNR
Junkers W.34
Wampit
1
17JAN1931
VH-UJD
Junkers W.34
Wampit
0
07OCT1930
VH-UHJ
De Havilland DH.60
Bulolo
0
06MAR1930
VH-UGZ
Junkers W.34
Wau
0
03MAR1928
G-AUFB
De Havilland DH.9
Wau
0
Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives
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