MMA

MacRobertson-Miller Aviation
MacRobertson-Miller Airlines
MacRobertson-Miller Airline Services

IATA Code: MV

ICAO Code: -

Known As: MMA

Full Name: Mac.Robertson-Miller Aviation Co. Pty. Ltd.

Country: Australia

Call sign: Miller




Objects in Collection







Brief History


During 1919, Captain Horatio (later Horace) ‘Horrie’ Clive Miller H.C. Miller purchased Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8 G-AUCF from the U.K.  He & his partner, Arthur A. Kennedy, also an ex-WWI pilot, launched the Commercial Aviation Company, in Rochester, Vic. (near Kennedy’s home).  It initially operated mainly joy-flights & charters, based in Victoria, but also serving N.S.W. & South Australia.

They toured N.S.W. with T.M. Burke’s Pastoralists.  Horrie Miller opened Australia's 1st commercial aerodrome at Rochester, Vic, in 1919.

On 08 October, 1920, the Commercial Aviation Company was registered, in Melbourne.  It was registered in Adelaide on 27 July, 1945.

On 08 July, 1921, Horrie Miller began correspondence with the Controller of Civil Aviation on his proposal to operate a subsidised Adelaide-Eyre Peninsula, SA service, using flying boats. Discussions, on variations of the proposal, continued, but lapsed in 1923.  Miller's planned flying boat service from Adelaide to SA coastal towns used two Curtiss Seagulls, G-AUCU & G-AUCV, which were loaned by Sydney businessman, & aviator Lebbeus Horden. 

Miller dismantled both at Double Bay, Sydney, & had them shipped to Adelaide, where he had leased a dirt-floored hangar at Albert Park Aerodrome.  He flew them on joy rides from Adelaide suburban beaches, using an anchorage at Outer Harbour, but found their operation exhausting, due to poor performance & continuous problems, due rough seas & windy weather.  His proposal for flying boat passenger services to SA country towns failed to gain any backing from the state government.

Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8 G-AUCF, affectionately known as the ‘Ack-W’, was operated from 1921.
Horrie Miller ordered an Airco D.H.9 from England, but, facing a 6-month wait for its delivery, took a temporary flying job in Brisbane.
In December, Miller’s partnership with Kennedy at Rochester was dissolved by mutual consent, as Kennedy was about to get married.  The Commercial Aviation Company had been successful, returning a profit of £1,457 over 14 months, a tidy sum for the time.  They split the proceeds, allowing Kennedy to buy a small country hotel.  Miller returned to Melbourne in his F.K.8, which he sold in September 1922, to the small struggling business Queensland & Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd. (Q.A.N.T.A.S.), at Longreach.

During 1923, the Commercial Aviation Company was launched in South Australia.  However, an attempt to establish an Adelaide-Port Lincoln flying boat service failed, & Horrie Miller joined the RAAF in 1925,
until he resigned in May, 1926.  Airco D.H.9 G-AUEU was operated between July, 1926 & 16 February, 1928, when it was damaged in a gale at Port Pirie.

By early 1927, Miller believed an Adelaide-Broken Hill air service would be viable.  He knew that Broken Hill, although in western NSW, had always done business with Adelaide, rather than Sydney, or Melbourne.  He made a trial flight Adelaide-Broken Hill in his D.H.9, staying there 9 weeks, while earning good money giving joyrides.  Now convinced the route would be profitable, he erected his own hangar on Albert Park Aerodrome, close to Larkin's & painted above the door ‘COMMERCIAL AVIATION COMPANY’, the name he had used for his 1920 Victorian business with Kennedy.  Until he had a suitable aircraft to start the Broken Hill service, Miller was kept busy with charters, joyrides, aerial photography, & medical emergency flights, carrying out all flying & maintenance himself. 

Broken Hill services eventually began in January 1930.
For many years Miller had been friends with David Robertson, a younger brother of Melbourne businessman Macpherson Robertson, widely known for his MacRoberton's Chocolates confectionary empire.
During 1927. Miller flew the D.H.9 to Melbourne, to seek David's advice for the airline venture.  Horrie Miller approached old friend Macpherson Robertson, founder of MacRobertson Company, makers of the then famous ‘Old Gold’ chocolate, seeking £5,000, to cover the purchase of an 8-passenger, enclosed-cabin D.H.61 Giant Moth, which Miller had identified as being ideal for his plans.  MacRobertson quickly agreed, subject to the provisos that the arrangement be a partnership & the new aircraft be called ‘Old Gold’.  The D.H.61 was ordered in May.  Miller now conducted his business through MacRobertson's Adelaide office, which he found to be an excellent arrangement.  He received a salary of £5 per week, which remained unchanged for many years.

During 1927, the Commercial Aviation Company commenced weekly Adelaide-Mt. Gambier services, using Airco D.H.9 G-AUHT. Scheduled airline services commenced with Adelaide-Renmark, but expanded to include Whyalla, Kimba, Kangaroo Island, Streaky Bay, Mount Gambier & Broken Hill.

During late-1927, the MacRobertson-Miller Aviation Company Ltd. was founded by Horrie C. Miller & Macpherson Robertson.  It was not registered until 28 May, 1928. MMA was initially based at Albert Park, South Australia & commenced operations in late-1927; taking over from the Commercial Aviation Co., although the company still used the name The Commercial
Aviation Co. as a holding company.  The company initially used Airco D.H.9 G-AUHT, to operate local services out of Adelaide.  It was sold in 1936.  Horrie Miller planned an Adelaide-Broken Hill service, but considered the D.H.9 inadequate for such a service, which eventually began on 08 January, 1930.
          
On 16 February, 1928, D.H.9 G-AUEU was wrecked , when Miller ran into a severe dust storm, after leaving Kimba for Adelaide.  It was rebuilt by July.
On 03 March, the 8-passenger D.H.61 G-AUTL ‘Old Gold’ was test-flown at Essendon, for the MacRobertson-Miller Aviation Co.  It arrived at Adelaide on 08 March.

On 26 April, MMA began 3-times-weekly Adelaide-Renmark services.
On 28 May, the MacRobertson-Miller Aviation Company Ltd. was formally registered, with an initial capitalisation of £50,000.  The Commercial Aviation Company was retained.  The new airline's business was conducted through the MacRobertson company office in Adelaide, which ensured the struggling flying venture was run on sound business lines.  The original holders of £1 shares were MacPherson Robertson (4,472), D. Robertson (100), L.G. Atkinson (100), R.B. Patterson (100), H.C. Miller (3,844) & May & Davis (125).

MMA moved its Adelaide base from Albert Park to Parafield in mid-1928 - Horrie Miller being the 1st pilot to land at Parafield.
A 2nd airliner was needed.  Horrie Miller decided on the 6-passenger Fokker Universal range.  Learning of a Universal being offered for sale by an American building firm, a deal was struck.  It was U.S.-built, under licence from Fokker by the Atlantic Aircraft Corp., at Teterboro, New Jersey, fitted with a 220 h.p. Wright Cyclone engine. 

Fortunately it was already at sea-bound for Adelaide, when the Civil Aviation Branch imposed a ban on importing U.S.-built aircraft, because the United States was not a signatory to the International Convention for Aerial Navigation (ICAN).   The Fokker was registered G-AUJT on 16 January, 1929.

During January, 1929, MMA introduced Fokker 4 Universal G-AUJT (changing to VH-UJT later that year, when the new Australian registration series came into effect) to operate services out of Adelaide.
The Universal gave MMA long service, but was underpowered.  Miller later replaced the Wright radial with a P&W Wasp Junior, which gave an additional 160 h.p. for take-off.

The airline’s first two D.H.60 Moths G-AUJW & G-AUJX (later VH-UJW & VH-UJX) were also purchased, mainly to handle charter work.  A 2nd hangar was built to house them & a 3rd pilot hired.
On 19 August, MMA began twice-weekly services Adelaide-Streaky Bay.
During September D.H.60G VH-UMA joined the fleet, but crashed on 09 October.

On 08 January, 1930, MMA began weekly services Adelaide-Broken Hill.
During May, D.H.60M VH-UNX joined the MMA fleet.
During 1930, MMA began an Adelaide-Port Pirie service with D.H.61 Giant Moth VH-UTL (later replaced by Fokker Universal VH-UJT). Late in 1930, MMA ceased their services to Mt. Gambier & Renmark, & other services cut back, due to the Great Depression. MMA's airline services were not subsidised by the Federal Government, which considered road, or rail, transport to be adequate.  A flying school, which had started at Mount Gambier, with a D.H.60 Moth, & resident instructor had to be closed.

During 1931, MacRobertson-Miller Aviation started services between Adelaide, Renmark, Mt. Gambier & Port Pirie.  It later introduced 8-10 seat D.H.84 Dragons into regular service.
During 1931, MMA began Adelaide-Whyalla services.  Later in 1931, operations were suspended, due to the Depression.  They were restarted in 1933.

0n 06 April, D.H.61 VH-UTL was sold to West Australian Airways.

During 1933, operations were restarted, after the winning of a mail contract between Adelaide & Kimba & Cowell with a 6d-per-mile subsidy & Adelaide-Whyalla, with a 5d per mile subsidy.
During 1933/4 MMA occasionally chartered Western Mining Corporation's D.H.84 Dragon VH-URG 'Golden West', when its own aircraft were not available.

On 19 January, 1934, MMA began Adelaide-Port Pirie-Whyalla-Kimba-Cowell-Whyalla-Port Pirie-Adelaide services, using Fokker Universal VH-UJT, flown by C.N. Kleinig.
On 19 April, the Commonwealth Government awarded the 5-year Perth-Daly Waters route contract to MMA, rather than W.A.A., to the great surprise of many.

When advised he was the successful tenderer for the Perth-Daly Waters route, Horrie Miller immediately placed an order with the de Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney for three new production D.H.84 Dragons, to be shipped from England to Perth.  Leaving the Adelaide operation in the care of his trusted pilot/engineer Cyril Kleinig, Miller departed Parafield in June 1934, flying his D.H.60M Moth VH-UNX to Perth, to start the preparations.  On arrival at Maylands Aerodrome, Perth, he found the site allocated for the new MMA hangar was a muddy quagmire from Maylands' ongoing flooding problems from the adjacent Swan River.  He set about establishing a new airline organisation, everything from a city office, ticket booking & fuel contracts.  He encountered sullen resentment that he had taken the air service from local hero Norman Brearley, but Miller's genuine personal manner soon eliminated that. 

During July, Miller & Mr. G. Gregory, aviation manager of Vacuum Oil Co. left Maylands in the Moth to inspect the route & make business arrangements at each of the ports.  Horrie Miller needed a chief pilot, who knew the route, & persuaded WAA chief pilot Captain James Woods to take up the rôle.  The deal was made even more attractive by the plan that Woods would be sent to England to fly the Lockheed Vega Gull, which Miller had entered in the October 1934 London-Melbourne Air Race.  Horrie Miller would be staying in WA, to manage the introduction of the new air service.
Daly Waters was substituted for the originally-specified Katherine, NT, as the northern connection for the Perth airmail route.  During his route survey in the Moth, Miller was pleased to find a substantial hangar at Daly Waters, one of the few along the route, & requested the northern MMA terminus be changed from Katharine, 170 miles north.  All parties agreed &, by the time of MMA's first service in October 1934, the route was Perth-Daly Waters.

During 1934, MMA received a subsidy for their Adelaide-Whyalla services (operated by Fokker Universal VH-UJT) & extended the route to Iron Knob.

The ship carrying the three boxed D.H.84s (VH-URW ‘The Pilbara’, VH-URY ‘The Murchison’, & VH-URX ‘The Gascoyne’) reached Fremantle on 17 August.  They were transported to Maylands, where Horrie Miller supervised their assembly initially in the open weather because the MMA hangar had not been completed.  MMA was scheduled to take over the North West route on 03 October, 1934. 

So Miller had 6 weeks to get the aircraft ready, & his selected pilots trained on the new type.
During early-October, MacRobertson-Miller Aviation transferred its main base to Perth, W.A., after it won the Commonwealth Government’s contract for North-West services, previously operated by West Australian Airways (MMA bid 1/6 per mile for the air-mail subsidy, against W.A.A.'s 1/11).  Pilots Bert Hussey & George McCausland were transferred to W.A.
Horrie Miller moved to Perth & Cyril Kleinig took over as the Manager of the South Australian operations, which continued until they were transferred to Guinea Airways in April 1939.

MMA's Adelaide operation was to continue for another 5 years, with engineer/pilot Cyril Kleinig replacing Horrie Miller as Manager.  Kleinig had also begun with Miller, as a young man, willing to work in the
Parafield hangar, without pay, just to be close to aviation. 

Miller soon taught him to fly & Kleinig took over much of the flying.  In later years Kleinig went on to become Managing Director of MMA, in Perth. As the effects of The Great Depression eased, a new airline service Adelaide-Port Pirie-Whyalla-Kimba-Cowell was planned.  He applied for a Federal Government subsidy & was partly successful, having the
Adelaide-Whyalla sector only subsidised.  The route was to continue until 1939, with changes to Eyre Peninsula towns served.

At 11:00 Wednesday 03 October, MMA inaugurated a subsidised, weekly passenger service Carnarvon-Onslow-Roebourne-Whim Creek-Port Hedland-Broome-Fitzroy Crossing-Halls Creek-Ord River Station-Wave Hill-Daly Waters; initially using D.H.84s VH-URW ‘The Pilbara’ ,VH-URY ‘The Murchison’, & VH-URX ‘The Gascoyne’.  The service took 3 days, with overnight stops at Geraldton & Broome.

The service connected with a QANTAS service from Daly River to Darwin & (from 09 December), at Darwin, with the Empire Air-Mail service to Singapore & Imperial Airways’ service to London.
Early W.A. pilots were Bert Hussey, George McCausland & Jimmy Woods, with Horrie Miller also flying when required.
As back-up for delays en-route, Horrie Miller had pilot Arthur Affleck standing by at Maylands with a reserve Dragon.  It was good planning, which was needed the very next day, when Hussey wiped off VH-URW's undercarriage at Onslow on the second morning of the first northbound service.  Affleck was despatched from Maylands that afternoon, carrying company engineers & spare undercarriage parts.

They reached Onslow the following day, where Affleck handed his Dragon over to Hussey to continue the first northbound service.  This first MMA return service arrived back at Perth nine days later on 12 October, 1934.  A supplementary Kimberley feeder service to cattle properties between Wyndham to Ord River Station 06 October, with the Moth VH-UNX, but was suspended when the Moth crashed at Ord River on 09 November, 1934.  The passenger died, MMA's first ever fatality.  The feeder service resumed the next year, when a D.H.83 Fox Moth was based at Wyndham.
On 11:00 Wednesday 06 October, MMA began an Ord River Station-Wyndham service.

During November, ex-Western Mining D.H.84 Dragon I VH-URF ‘The Kimberley’ joined the fleet.
On Sunday 09 December, MMA’s Daly Waters-Carnarvon ‘North-West’ services were extended south, from Carnarvon to Perth, with the Daly Waters-Perth D.H.84 service taking 4 days.  The 1st service was
flown by Captains George McCausland & Jim Branch.  On that date mail was carried for the 1st time.  The 1st northbound mail service was flown by Bert Hussey, but reached only Onslow, as its undercarriage failed during take-off from Onslow, leaving the brand-new aircraft sitting on its belly.  Another pilot, George McCausland, later flew the mail on to Wyndham in a replacement aircraft.  Bert Hussey later flew on to Wyndham in another aircraft, & immediately resigned from MMA

An early version of the Perth-Daly Waters schedule departed Perth on Mondays to Geraldton & Carnarvon (overnight, at a hotel), then on to Onslow, Roebourne, Whim Creek, Port Hedland & Broome (overnight, at a hotel) and on Wednesday in to Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Ord River Station, Wave Hill Station, Victoria Downs Station &, finally, Daly Waters.  During the Wet Season, another overnight stop was made at Ord River Station.  The QANTAS service from Brisbane arrived at Daly Waters on Thursdays, allowing connections to Darwin & Singapore, with connection at Singapore to Imperial Airways’ service to London.  The MMA D.H.84 scheduled to arrive at Daly Waters on Wednesdays had to wait there until Saturdays, to await the arrival of the inbound QANTAS service from Singapore & Darwin - hardly efficient, or economic, use of the aircraft, or crew.  For the crew, Daly Waters was hardly ideal, as it then consisted of a hotel, a post office, & two houses.

Passenger fares included Perth-Geraldton £4, Perth-Daly Waters £25.  Freight rates included 1s 6d per pound Perth-Geraldton & 4s per pound Perth-Daly Waters. MMA carried 206 passengers in W.A. between October & December, 1934.  They carried 830 passengers, 12,887km of freight & 5,450 km of mail in their 1st full year of operations in W.A.

As of 14 January, 1935, MMA's fleet was shown as D.H.84s VH-URF, URW, URX & URY plus a damaged & unregistered Lockheed Vega (later VH-UVK). MMA's January 1935 route was Perth-Geraldton-Carnarvon-Onslow-Roebourne-Whim Creek-Port Hedland-Broome-Derby-Noonkanbah-Fitzroy Crossing-Halls Creek-Ord River-Wave Hill-Victoria River-Daly Waters; departing Perth at 1100 Sundays & arriving at Daly Waters at 12:00 Wednesdays.
During July, D.H.83 Fox Moths VH-USJ & VH-UTF joined the fleet.  VH-UTF was sold in September, 1938 & VH-USJ in August, 1941.

On 08 July, MacRobertson-Miller Aviation D.H.83 Fox Moth VH-UTF was located at Wyndham, to participate in the Australian Aerial Medical Service in Western Australia.
On 09 July, MMA began permanent D.H.83 Fox Moth Ord River-Wyndham services, using VH-UTF, following temporary services October-December, 1934.
During September, D.H.83 Fox Moth VH-UVL entered service.  It was badly damaged in a storm on 11 January, 1939 & was sold. On 31 October, a MacRobertson-Miller Aviation D.H.83 Fox Moth was located at Port Hedland, to participate in the Flying Doctor Service in Western Australia.

During January, 1936, D.H.83 Fox Moth VH-UDD joined the fleet.  It was sold in January, 1940.
On 07 February, the Aeroplane Taxi Company (associated with MMA/Commercial Aviation Company) was registered in Adelaide. During July, D.H.84 Dragon II VH-UVN joined the fleet.  During 1936, the Perth-Daly Waters service was increased from weekly to twice-weekly, due to the increased traffic.

By 01 May, 1937, the airline operated Perth-Onslow-Port Hedland-Broome-Derby-Halls Creek -various stations-Daly Waters- Ord River-Argyle-Ivanhoe-Wyndham. During 1937, MMA flew 5,450 hours, 3,790 flights, 523,481 miles (842,461km), carrying 1,721 passengers & 60,312 lbs (27,357kg) of mail & freight.

Early in 1938, MMA placed an order for two new all-metal 10-passenger Lockheed 10-A Electras, powered by two 450 hp P&W Wasp Junior engines. Horrie Miller was delighted, as he had long admired the new American airliners, & was frustrated by the Australian embargo on U.S.-manufactured aircraft.  The Government had been persuaded to drop the ban in November 1935, & Miller had chosen the Lockheed Electra as most suitable for the North West route. 

The order was placed with Australian Lockheed agents Brown & Dureau Ltd. which advised they would be shipped from California with a delivery date of December that year.  Meanwhile, years of talks between the Australian & British governments had resulted in the UK-Australia Air Mail undergoing major changes, with land planes being replaced by an Empire Air Mail flying boat service to commence in August 1938. 

QANTAS would operate Singapore-Darwin-Brisbane-Sydney, with Short S.23 Empires.  That caused a rearrangement to the Australian connecting airmail routes.  MMA's contract was to be changed to Perth-Darwin return twice weekly, using two D.H.86As (VH-USC & VH-USD), purchased from QANTAS Empire Airways, no longer needed for the land-plane airmail service to Singapore.  Although still fabric-covered biplanes, these 4-engined D.H.86s brought MMA improved size, speed, & cabin comfort over the plodding Dragons & were a good stop-gap until the arrival of the Lockheeds.
MMA was also contracted to operate a revised Kimberley feeder service between Wyndham & Daly Waters weekly return using Dragons.  This Wyndham-based Dragon & pilot would also service the AAMS flying doctor contract.  The D.H.86As were plagued with ‘ground-looping’ problems.

From 01 August, MMA extended its operations from Wyndham to Darwin, using D.H.86s, to provide a connection to the Australia-U.K. flying boat service.
Also on 01 August, D.H.84 VH-URF replaced D.H.83 VH-UTF as the Australian Aerial Medical Service (AAMS) aircraft at Wyndham.  The new AAMS/MMA contract called for an annual payment of £262/10/- for operations up to 3,400 miles (5,470km) & 1/- per mile excess. During 1936-1937, MMA’s D.H.83 VH-UTF had flown 9,354 kilometres for the Australian Aerial Medical Service. In 1937-1938 the figures flown by VH-UTF & later VH-URF rose to 10,814km & by 1938-1939 had reached 30,891 km.             

In December 1938, the much-anticipated Lockheed Electras VH-ABV & VH-ABW arrived on schedule..  Because of shipping delays from North America to Perth, they were sent to Adelaide where they were assembled by Guinea Airways, which was experienced with the type on their Adelaide-Darwin route. 

As was usual in those days, Lockheed sent two company test pilots with the aircraft, to supervise their assembly & test flying & carry out the paperwork for the handover to the customer.
It was planned that VH-ABV would be first delivered from Parafield to Perth.  However, at 07:00. on 17 December, James Woods taxied out for the ferry flight. While stationary prior to commencing take-off, the port undercarriage leg gently folded & the left engine & propeller hit the ground. Guinea Airways Chief Engineer Jack Gething said he could have it repaired within two days, but VH-ABW was hurriedly readied & Woods had it in Perth in time for the first scheduled MMA Lockheed service to Darwin leaving on 21 December, 1938.

After their arrival in Perth, the Electras were painted with company name, MacRobertson-Miller Aviation Co Ltd, & names on the nose, VH-ABV ‘RMA Gascoyne’, VH-ABW ‘RMA Kimberley’.  They brought much higher ground speed, sturdiness, & general reliability to the Perth-Darwin route, & allowed one of D.H.86s VH-USD to be quickly sold in February 1939, & ferried to India by James Woods.

On 12 January, 1939, MMA introduced its 1st Lockheed 10-A Electra, VH-ABW ‘RMA Kimberley’, into service.  The 2nd, VH-ABV ‘RMA Gascoyne’, followed the next month.
During February, D.H.86 VH-USD, which had been damaged the previous month, was sold to Tata Airways, in India.
During April, Lockheed 10 Electras & D.H.86s commenced operations of the Perth-Darwin route.
During April, after a Department of Civil Aviation ruling, MacRobertson-Miller Aviation handed over their South Australian routes to Guinea Airways.

MMA decided to close the Adelaide section, & consolidate all operations in Perth.  All the hangar workshop equipment was packed up, & Fokker Universal sold to New Guinea.  The Fox Moth
VH-UDD was left behind until sold, departing Parafield on 16 January, 1940.
As of June, the fleet, for licensed airline services, consisted of Lockheed 10s VH-ABV & ABW, D.H.83 VH-USJ & D.H.86 VH-USC.

Great Britain's declaration of war against Germany on 03 September, 1939 was joined by other British Commonwealth nations, including Australia.  This was the beginning of World War II, which would last the following six years.  The impact on MMA's Adelaide & Perth operations was soon felt, as pilots & engineers applied to enlist in the RAAF.  Even senior pilot Captain James Woods attempted to enlist in RAAF, despite his age, 46.  Jimmy was disappointed to learn he had been ‘man-powered’, i.e. ruled essential to the civilian war effort, & was not to be released for military service. 

The recently-established Department of Civil Aviation (which replaced the Civil Aviation Branch & Civil Aviation Board under the Department of Defence) wrote to Australian airlines, explaining the wartime regulations, under which the Australian Government could summarily requisition aircraft & other facilities needed by the military.  DCA would act as liaison between civil aviation & military authorities, & the senior men of the Department were to play a pivotal role in maintaining skeleton air services throughout the war. 

The  RAAF needed D.H.60, D.H.82, D.H.84 & D.H.86 types, to establish aircrew training schools across the country as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme. DCA attempted to balance RAAF requirements against civil operators' minimum needs, to keep an airline network operating, albeit at a much reduced level. MMA was served with Impressment Requisition Notices for four of its aircraft:

D.H.84 VH-URX    27/12/39 delivered to RAAF Point Cook from Adelaide by James Woods.  To the RAAF, as A34-1.
D.H.86 VH-USC     30/09/40 delivered to RAAF Point Cook from Perth by James Woods.  To the RAAF, as A31-5.
D.H.84 VH-URF     05/05/41 delivered to RAAF Essendon from Perth by Horrie Miller.  To the RAAF, as A34-9.
Vega VH-UVK       11/11/41 delivered to RAAF Point Cook from Perth by Horrie Miller.  To the RAAF, as A42-1.

The two MMA Lockheed Electras were spared impressment, because of their strategic importance in maintaining an effective air route between Perth & northern Australia. The pair were to carry many military personnel to the northern commands & were diverted from WA to Melbourne for several weeks, to fill in on A.N.A. services, when A.N.A.'s Douglas airliners were seconded to carry troops to New Guinea.

In late-1939, the MMA Adelaide operation, managed by Cyril Kleinig, was closed.  The remaining airline route was a 3-return-services-per-week Adelaide-Whyalla-Iron Knob (via various Eyre Peninsula towns), of which one service per week received a Government subsidy. 

A 1939 Government review of airline service subsidies determined that Guinea Airways at Parafield, already operating D.H.89 Rapide services to other SA ports, would take over the Whyalla route effective 06 September, 1939.  MMA's Dragon VH-URX, which had flown the Whyalla service, was listed to be impressed by RAAF.  Cyril Kleinig closed down the Parafield business, & flew the remaining aircraft, Cessna C.37 VH-UZU, to Perth, departing Parafield at 3.45 a.m. on 19 December, 1939.  Kleinig went on to a long successful flying, & management career with MMA Perth, later replacing Horrie Miller as General Manager.

As the war effort built up, MMA was among airlines selected by RAAF as Authorised Civilian Contractors, to carry out scheduled overhauls & crash repairs to RAAF aircraft.  MMA was issued Tiger Moths from 9.EFTS Cunderdin, Avro Ansons from 4.SFTS Geraldton, & Dragons from 35 Squadron Pearce. 

Additional workshops were built at Maylands aerodrome for this extra maintenance work.  Women were employed to replace men, who had joined the armed services.  As well as the RAAF maintenance work, MMA carried out repairs on fabric control surfaces removed from US Navy PBY-5 Catalinas, based at Nedlands, Perth. US Navy Curtiss Seagull & Vought Kingfisher floatplanes, landed on the Swan River along the Maylands airfield boundary on occasion to have work done by MMA.         
   
As of 30 June, 1940, MMA operated 2 return L-10/D.H.89 services Perth-Darwin per week, & a weekly D.H. service Wyndham-Daly Waters.
During September, D.H.86 VH-USC was impressed, for service with the RAAF.
During October, MMA applied to have Cessna C37 Airmaster VH-UZU added to their operating licence.

During August, 1941, MMA applied in writing to have Lockheed DL-1A Vega VH-UVK added to their operating licence.  D.H.83 VH-USJ was sold to the same month to Australian Aerial Medical Service (W.A.), for £750.  The fleet became Lockheed 10-As VH-ABV & ABW, D.H.84 VH-UVN, Cessna C37 VH-UZU & Lockheed Vega VH-UVK.  However, VH-UVK was impressed into RAAF service during November. 

Other than that, the 1st two years of World War II impinged little on MMA’s operations.  However, Japan entering the war soon changed that. When Japan entered the war in December 1941, the MMA Lockheeds Electras flew military charters, as well as the scheduled Perth-Darwin route. 

In February 1942, after Japanese bombing raids on Darwin commenced, the MMA northern terminus was moved south to Batchelor (Katherine) NT, & only high priority civilian passengers were carried into the northern Australia war zone.  The two Lockheeds were to be involved in events which displayed remarkable levels of determination & physical endurance by MMA staff:

There were also later air-raids on Wyndham, Broome & Port Hedland.
MMA soon found itself in the ‘Front Line’ & its Wyndham base was moved to Broome, & did not return until after WWII.  One Lockheed 10-A Electra, piloted by Capt. Jimmy Woods, took off from Wyndham for Derby, carrying its maximum limit in spare-parts.  During take-off, it narrowly missed a D.H.84, which crossed their take-off path.  Only when the aircraft reached Derby was Woods told that Wyndham had been strafed by Japanese aircraft & the D.H.84 was being chased by Japanese aircraft.

During March, Jimmy Woods & others also took part in the evacuation of survivors from Broome to Port Hedland, after the 16 flying boats, which had brought Dutch refugees from Batavia, moored in front of the Continental Hotel, Roebuck Bay, were bombed & machine-gunned. 

On one trip Woods carried 22 passengers in the 10-seat Electra.  During one landing at Broome, his L-10-A hit the wreckage of a USAAF B-24, bending the tip of one propeller back some 90 degrees.  Time did not allow proper repairs, so Woods cut off the tip of the propeller with a hacksaw, completed loading & took off.  A plaque at the Air Force Association Museum, Bull Creek, Perth, includes the cut-down propeller.  Jimmy Woods reportedly received expressions of gratitude from the Dutch, displeasure from the DCA, & a reprimand from Horrie Miller for damaging one of his beloved aircraft.
When returning to Broome later that day, Woods sighted a Dutch Navy Dornier Do24 flying boat on a remote beach, well south of Broome.  It was X-36, commanded by Flying Officer Petschi, who was evacuating Java carrying Dutch civilians to Broome. He could not locate Broome at night & landed off the beach. Woods circled & dropped a message written on a passenger airsick bag, which he weighted, & threw out with a white ribbon. Petschi contacted him on the nominated radio frequency & following Woods' instruction not to betray his position, explained their situation & that they were low on water.  On arrival Broome, Woods reported the position of the missing Dornier &, on his next trip south, dropped a message at the Mardie Station homestead & another message to the Dornier party on the beach.

The following morning Woods again circled the Dornier & could see the occupants were still there, with no ground party in sight.  He landed at the homestead where the manager told him they had been out all night searching on horse-back, along the coast without success.  Woods took off, carrying the manager to show him the exact location, & dropped bottles of water, milk for the children, a sack of bread & other supplies.  He also dropped another message with a map to a windmill with water tank, & to tell them to expect to be rescued that afternoon. The Captain then set the Dornier on fire to stop it falling into Japanese hands.   For his efforts helping Dutch civilians & military following the Broome attack, Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands bestowed on Captain James Woods the Chevalier of the Order of Orange Nassau.

From the Department of Civil Aviation in Australia he was threatened with pilot licence suspension for flying a damaged aircraft & from his company he was criticised for ruining a valuable propeller.
On 03 March, 1942 Japanese fighters from Timor attacked Wyndham & Broome.  That morning James Woods with young Broome-based company engineer John Fisher as crew, departed Wyndham for Broome in Electra VH-ABW loaded with spare parts & equipment.  They became airborne just minutes before the raid on Wyndham commenced, but were not seen by enemy pilots.  Many miles out from Broome inbound they could see the smoke from burning military aircraft on the aerodrome & 16 flying boats destroyed on Broome harbour.  After landing, while taxying in thick smoke, a propeller blade struck aircraft wreckage, damaging the blade tip. 

With another raid expected & injured civilian refugees from the Netherlands East Indies desperate to escape Broome, Woods ordered Fisher to use a metal saw from his tool kit to cut off the damaged tip & cut the other blade tip back to match, to keep the propeller balanced.  Woods loaded 22 persons on board his 10-seat Lockheed & flew them to Port Hedland, returning to Broome to collect more survivors.  John Fisher remained at Broome, helping organise the evacuees anxiously waiting to be flown out.  He departed several days later on board an American B-24 Liberator, being dropped off at Adelaide still in the clothes he was wearing when he left Wyndham.
 
Between 15 May & 24 August, 1943, D.H.84 VH-ABK was used, whist Lockheed 10 VH-ABV was being repaired.  It was returned to the RAAF.  In December 1942, L-10-As VH-ABV & VH-ABW were flown to Essendon & loaned to A.N.A. for approximately 2 weeks, whilst most of A.N.A.’s heavier aircraft were assisting with war supplies to New Guinea.  The 2 Lockheeds were used for a courier services from Essendon to Perth, Sydney & Launceston.  The temporary loss of their two major aircraft damaged MMA’s reputation in the North-West & wartime security restrictions meant that MMA could not tell the true story to the local population.

On 11 October, 1944, MMA advised that, for post-war operations, they were examining operations from Perth to Bunbury, Busselton, Pemberton, Nornalup, Albany, Katanning, Wagin, Narrogin, Collie, Newdegate & Ravensthorpe, subject to suitable landing-strips being made available.  They also expressed interest in serving a Perth-Brookton-Narembeen-Southern Cross-Kalgoorlie-Kununoppin-Dowerin-Perth route & wished their interest "on the record".

During 1944-1945 DCA leased the twelve C-47s to QANTAS Empire Airways, Australian National Airways & Guinea Airways. MMA was not considered because it was felt they should be satisfied with the two D.H.86s, which the DCA had facilitated for them.  Not surprisingly, Horrie Miller & his Directors protested vigorously to Federal politicians, with the result that VH-AEU, which had been leased to QANTAS, then Guinea Airways at Adelaide, was allocated to MMA, from November 1945.

In February, 1945, MMA reluctantly purchased two D.H.86As (VH-USF & VH-USW) from the RAAF, despite their pre-war experiences with the type, as no other aircraft were available.

The Company’s concerns about the type proved to be well-founded, as VH-USF crashed on its 1st service on 24 June.  VH-USW, which entered service during May, 1945, was sold in November 1946.
From April until 21 November, according to one report, DC-3 VH-AER was leased by MMA from the Commonwealth Government.  There appears to be real doubt on this report.

On 24 June, D.H.86 VH-USF ‘RMA Melbourne’ crashed at Geraldton, during its 1st service with MMA
On 30 June, their fleet consisted of Lockheed 10s VH-ABV & ABW, D.H.86 VH-USW & Cessna C37 VH-UZU.  However, MMA had applied for the charter of surplus C-47 aircraft.

On 27 July, 1945, the Commercial Aviation Company was registered in Adelaide; rather than Melbourne.
On 31 July, MMA formally applied to the W.A. Deputy Premier for permission to serve the destinations covered in their letter of 11 October, 1944.  On the same date, they also applied to operate Perth (Maylands)-Narrogin-Brookton-Perth either twice, or four times, per week, using Lockheed 10 aircraft.

In September, the Perth-Geraldton fare was £5 single, £9 return.  By that stage, MMA were operating daily except Friday services Perth-Geraldton & daily except Saturday services Geraldton-Perth.  A Perth-Albany-Perth service was proposed; to operate 4 times per week.

During October, 1945, MMA advised that the Federal Government had allocated them a war-surplus C-47, which could commence service on the North-West route from 20 November.
On 31 October, MMA also expressed a continued interest in operating Perth-Albany-Perth, which they had first requested in 1934, but had been refused, as it would compete with the state railway.  Despite their requests, the route was later awarded to Airlines (W.A.) Ltd.

On 22 November, MMA introduced leased 21-seat Douglas DC-3 VH-AEU.
With VH-AEU on lease from DCA, it was imperative that MMA acquire its own DC-3s.  The U.S. Foreign Liquidation Commission had an office in Manila, Philippines, to dispose of thousands of fighters, bombers & transports retired in long rows at the nearby Clark Field. Airlines in Australia, NZ & SE Asia were sending purchase teams to Manila to begin negotiations.

MMA sent senior Captain Cyril Kleinig & Chief Engineer Frank Colquhoun, who successfully bid for a low-hours C-47A.  An import permit was approved by DCA 18 May, 1946 & it was ferried to Perth.  After civil conversion to a DC-3, in the MMA hangars at Maylands, it emerged as VH-AXM, was test-flown on 14 March, 1947 & entered MMA scheduled service on 25 March, 1947, named ‘RMA Fitzroy’.  In October that year it flew MMA's first International charter to India, to collect an Indian cricket team.

On 28 November, Adrianne Shooter became MMA’s first air-hostess, when she flew on their 1st Perth-Darwin DC-3 service, via Geraldton, Carnarvon, Onslow, Port Hedland, Broome, & Derby (flown by Capt. Jimmy Woods).  The schedule provided for Perth to Broome on Day 1, Broome-Darwin-Broome on Day 2 & back to Perth on Day 3.  The Perth-Darwin-Perth services were the only MMA one to initially offer air-hostess service, which included cold meals & only non-alcoholic drinks.  Unfortunately, Miss Shooter suffered from chronic air-sickness & was soon forced to resign.  She was replaced by Kitty O’Neill.  A 2nd air-hostess joined her & the hostess number remained at 2 for some years.
During 1945, Lockheed 10-A Electras were introduced to the Kimberley Stations service, in conjunction with the Darwin to Halls Creek Service, via Katherine & the Northern Territory stations.

On 29 January, 1946, MMA applied to operate Perth-Rottnest Island, using either Cessna C37 VH-USU, or D.H.86 VH-USW, with provision to operate the Lockheed 10s during peak periods.
The fare was to be £1 single.

On 01 February, leased DC-3 VH-AEV joined the fleet. It was returned to the Commonwealth on 18 June.
On 11 February, DC-3 VH-AEV was formally added to MMA's operating licence.
In May, Gordon Blythe approached MMA to take a load of beef from Mt. House to Derby, in what would have been the possible forerunner of Air Beef Pty. Ltd.  MMA agreed to provide an L-10-A free-of-charge, as an experiment.  But, unfortunately, the Derby freezing works caught fire a week before the planned flight.  However VH-ABV did fly 4 bullock carcasses to Perth in July, to prove the viability of such flights.

Both MMA & A.N.A. submitted plans to the W.A. & Federal Governments for the subsidised carriage of such beef.  They later combined to form Air Beef Pty. Ltd. in November 1948.
(See Part 3 for more information on MMA Air Beef operations).
 
By June, MMA operations included Perth-Carnarvon-Learmonth-Port Hedland-Broome (overnight)-Derby-Wyndham-Wave Hill-Victoria River Downs-Katherine-Darwin:
Perth-Carnarvon - Daily except Mondays & Fridays
Perth-Learmonth - Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays
Perth-Port Hedland - Daily except Mondays & Saturdays
Perth-Broome - Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays
Perth-Derby - Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays
Perth-Wyndham - Sundays & alternate Mondays & Fridays
Perth-Katherine - Alternate Fridays
Perth-Darwin - Sundays

During June, MMA sought a state licence to operate Perth-Boyup Brook-Pemberton-Cranbrook-Cape Riche.
On 17 June, Lockheed 10 VH-ABW was badly damaged in a forced-landing at Broome & was never rebuilt.

On 05 July, MMA formally applied to operate Perth-Kalgoorlie, should A.N.A.'s then current licence for that route be terminated.
Part of the post-war expansion plan was to acquire a fleet of civilianised Avro Ansons, to operate local runs to small towns & properties from most of the northern ports. In 1946 RAAF Ansons were coming available from Commonwealth Disposals Commission & MMA was familiar with the type, from its wartime rebuilds of Ansons from RAAF Geraldton. In fact some of the Ansons in the early CDC auction lists were aircraft, which MMA had overhauled only a year, or so, earlier.

During August, the airline acquired 5 ex-RAAF Avro 652A Ansons, for £200 each,(plus 2 for spares) to operate feeder services from Darwin, Port Hedland, Ashburton Station service & Arnhem Land Missions service.  They were also used for local feeder services.  The Ansons were fitted out for 6, or 7, passengers, with window panels replacing the RAAF cabin Perspex glasshouse.  The noses were modified, to allow baggage storage through a hinged nose cap.  They were based between Port Hedland & Darwin, to fly scheduled ‘station runs’ to cattle stations, missions & remote towns, as well as Flying Doctor Service contracts.  They also flew whaling crews to/from the Exmouth, general freight work, inland photographic mapping, & coastal fishing surveys, proving to be very reliable aircraft.

The 1st two Ansons to enter service were VH-AYN 'RMA de Gray' & VH-AYO 'RMA Ord'.

On 29 October, the airline advised that the 'Daily News' had approached them to operate an aerial-dropping (non-landing) newspaper delivery service from Perth to Bunbury, Bridgetown, Collie & other smaller towns en-route.  The proposal was confirmed on 05 November, with the services departing Guildford at 02:00, dropping at Pinjarra, Waroona, Yarloop, Harvey, Collie, Bunbury, Brunswick Junction, Busselton, Nannup, Manjimup, Bridgetown & Donnybrook, taking 2 hours 40 minutes.

On 07 March, 1947, the single fare for Perth-Geraldton was reduced from £5 to £4.
On 14 March, DC-3 VH-AXM ‘RMA Fitzroy’ , was test-flown & entered MMA scheduled service on 25 March, named ‘RMA Fitzroy’.  In October that year it flew MMA's first International charter to India, to collect an Indian cricket team.  on 24 March.
On 21 March, approval was sought to operate Perth (Guildford)-Garden Island
On 24 March, the leased DC-3 VH-AEU was returned to the Commonwealth.
The Company's 3rd Avro Anson, VH-AYQ 'RMA Greenough' also entered service during the 1st quarter of 1947.  Their 4th, VH-AYP 'RMA Drysdale', followed by 07 May.

By 30 June, the fleet list was shown as Douglas DC-3 VH-AXM, Lockheed 10 VH-ABV, Cessna C37 VH-UZU, & Avro Ansons VH-AYN, AYO, AYP, AYQ & MMB.
Anson VH-MMC 'RMA Strelley' joined the fleet soon afterwards.
On 20 September, MMA sought approval to include Mingenew on their Monday morning Perth-Geraldton service.  The Perth-Mingenew fare was £4.

On 22 September, MMA’s Perth-Katherine service ceased.
On 01 October, MMA's 2nd DC-3 VH-MMA 'RMA Ashburton' joined the fleet.
On 03 November, MMA commenced Darwin-Wyndham services.

An MMA paper, entitled 'STATISTICS 12 MONTHS ENDED 30TH JUNE 1948' included the following:

Period                                   Passengers    Freight (Pounds)    Mail (Pounds)    Miles Flown    Hours Flown
Oct-Dec 1934                              206            8,166                     2,084                  61,592            623
1 Jan-31 Dec, 1935                     893           28,426                  12,004                248,760         2,651
1 Jan-31 Dec, 1936                  1,358           37,098                  15,246                425,804         4,421
1 Jan-31 Dec, 1937                  1,753           43,155                  17,309                521,401         5,450
1 Jan-31 Dec, 1938                  1,978           53,685                  36,470                565,208         5,308
1 Jan-31 Dec, 1939                  2,495           68,884                  43,857                591,679         4,287
1 Jan-31 Dec, 1940                  2,858           77,376                  24,409                560,899         4,295
1 Jan-31 Dec, 1941                  3,088           82,768                  46,740                564,033         4,245
1 Jan-31 Dec, 1942                  2,892         159,989                  27,019                478,025         3,344
1 Jan-31 Dec, 1943                  3,666         135,652                  30,773                516,821         3,806
1 Jan-31 Dec, 1944                  5,617         166,526                  36,483                665,912         4,663
1 Jan-31 Dec, 1945                  8,383         204,094                  39,591                745,284         6,069
1 Jan-31 Dec, 1946                10,789         294,229                  37,083                798,260         5,542
1 Jan-31 Dec, 1947                13,801         504,336                  60,247             1,074,379         7,794
1 July, 1947-30 June, 1948    17,739          687,045                 59,875             1,313,731         9,598
                                                 

On 14 March, 1948, MMA commenced Perth-Broome services.
On 19 March, MMA commenced Broome-Halls Creek services.
On 10 May, MMA commenced a once-per-week 7-seat Avro Anson ‘Stations’ service from Port Hedland to the De Grey, Pardoo, Wallal, Mandorah, Callawa, Warrawagine, Yarrie, Muccan, Nimingara, Coongan, & Mulyie stations.
During 1948 MMA offered the Flying Doctor Service the use of an Avro Anson, based at Broome, for 2/- per mile for a guaranteed 7,000 miles (11,265 km) per year.

On 01 June, MMA transferred its West Kimberley base from Broome to Derby Aerodrome, where a ‘large’ hangar had been constructed & hostel accommodation provided for a staff of 6 engineers & 3 Lockheed
10-A pilots.  Derby also became the base for the Flying Doctor Service.

On 01 October, MMA introduced ‘one-day’ DC-3 services Perth-Darwin (departing Perth at 01:50 & arriving Darwin that afternoon) & Darwin-Perth (departing Darwin at 06:00 & arriving Perth 19:15).

On 04 November, Air Beef Pty. Ltd. was founded by A.N.A., MMA & a group of W.A. pastoralists, with the aim of transporting beef from the remote West Kimberley stations from Glenroy Station to Wyndham; generally from May to September.  The new abattoirs were completed during the 2nd week of May, 1949 & Air Beef operations began 13 May.

On 26 November, DC-3 VH-AXM was reregistered VH-BXM.  It was reregistered VH-MME on 14 December.
During 1948, MMA moved their Perth operations from Maylands to Guildford Aerodrome.
During 1948, MMA replaced its Broome-Wyndham services with Derby-Wyndham services.

On 22 February, 1949, MMA unsuccessfully applied to the Federal Government for approval to operate a weekly service between W.A. & Indonesia.

During 1949 the Company decided to standardise on the VH-MM registration series.
On 14 April, MMA applied to have DC-3 VH-MMF 'RMA Fortescue' included in its operating licence, for operation for Air Beef Pty Ltd.  (See Part 3 for more information on MMA Air Beef operations)

On 13 May, the Air Beef Scheme was inaugurated; with MMA DC-3 VH-MMF operating Glenroy-Wyndham.  In general, initially some 3 round-trips were operated per day, from Glenroy Station, near Mt. House, by air to Wyndham, plus a few trips to Derby from 1955, using non-refrigerated aircraft.  They operated for a period of some 4.5 months per year, during the Dry Season; usually May to August/September.  Glenroy was used as the base for surrounding stations, such as Bedford Downs, Fossil Downs, Gibb River, GoGo, Mt. Hart, Mt. House, Karunjie, Lansdowne, Springvale, & Tableland.

A complete abattoir was flown into Glenroy & assembled there, to allow the cattle to be slaughtered & chilled.  At Wyndham, they were quartered, frozen & wrapped at the Government abattoir, mainly for shipment to the U.K. (the early operations to Derby were mainly for transhipment within W.A.).  In 1949, 1,776 cattle were processed.  (See Part 3 for more information on MMA Air Beef operations).

As of 30 June, MMA's fleet was shown as: Douglas DC-3s VH-MMA, MME & MMF, Ansons VH-AYN, AYO, AYP, AYQ, MMB & MMC, Lockheed 10 VH-ABV & Cessna C37 VH-UZU.
On 02 July, MMA's DC-3 VH-MME ‘RMA Fitzroy’ crashed at Guildford, WA.  It was replaced by DC-3 VH-MMK 'RMA 'Durack', later 'RMA Kimberley' in August.

On 04 January, 1950, Onslow was approved for DC-3 operations.
As of 30 June, the fleet was: Douglas DC-3s VH-MMA, MMF & MMK, Ansons VH-MMB, MMC, MMG (ex-AYN), MMH (ex-AYO), MMI (ex-AYP) & MMJ (ex-AYQ) & Lockheed 10 VH-MMD (ex-VH-ABV).  Avro Anson VH-MMI was scrapped in August, 1950.
On 04 July, the company's name was officially changed to MacRobertson-Miller Aviation Co. Pty. Ltd.    (The new company had been incorporated & registered on 13 June)

During 1950 the airline offered the Flying Doctor Service an Avro Anson to supplement their D.H.83 & two D.H.84s at Port Hedland, on a ‘when available’ basis.  It was utilised from about April.
The Flying Doctor Service sold their two D.H.84s in November 1951, & later sold their D.H.83.  Later MMA based an Anson at Port Hedland exclusively for use by the Flying Doctor Service.
In 1955 the Flying Doctor Service was renamed the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia.  The RFDS’s own Cessna replaced the Anson in June 1956.

The fleet list for 30 June, 1951 through 30 June, 1953, remained unchanged from a year before, except for the deletion of Anson VH-MMI in 1951.

From November, an MMA-operated Avro Anson began a monthly routine 3-day Flying Doctor Service covering most of the Kimberley towns & stations.

During the financial year ending 30 June, 1953, MMA flew 24,538 passengers, 2,243,769 lbs (1,017,756kg) of freight & 114242 lbs (51,819kg) of mail.                      

In early-1954, MMA replaced Lockheed 10 VH-MMD with Ansons on the Kimberleys station runs.  It was flown Guilford-Sydney 07 February, for sale to the U.S.A.

During June, Douglas DC-3 VH-MML 'RMA Lyndon' was added to the fleet.

During April, 1955, Douglas DC-3 VH-MMM 'RMA Murchison' joined the MMA fleet.
During the financial year ending 30 June, MMA carried 29,825 passengers, 2,047,711 miles (3,295,471km), over an unduplicated route mileage of about 13,000 miles (20,920 km), covering some 97 regularly-served destinations.  It carried 3,684,346 lbs. (1,671.20 tonnes) of freight & 126,477 lbs (57.37 tonnes) of mail.

Airlines (WA) Ltd. had been MMA's only competitor for West Australian domestic air services.  It began in 1936, as a modest operation from Perth to Wiluna, Leonora & Meekatharra, but had expanded to include Kalgoorlie, Esperance, Albany, with Ansons & D.H.104 Doves.  In general terms, MMA did the routes to the north while Airlines (WA) Ltd, known locally just as ‘Airlines’, covered southern WA ports.  T

hat all changed in 1947, when Airlines beat MMA's bid for a Government subsidised air service between Perth & Wittenoom, where Colonial Sugar Refinery had purchased the blue asbestos mine from Lang Hancock.  Production was rapidly increased for use in the manufacture of the popular post-war fibreboard building materials.  Airlines (W.A.) was approved to open a Perth-Wiluna-Wittenoom-Port Hedland route, to carry workers & supplies to the remote mine site.

Government reviews of Australian airline subsidies expressed concern at WA duplication, where MMA & Airlines (W.A.) were both receiving subsidies, along variations of Perth-Meekatharra-Wittenoom-Port Hedland.  MMA flew mainly coastal routes, plus the N.T. Mission Service to Arnhem Land.  Airlines (W.A.) flew from Perth to Albany, Esperance, Kalgoorlie, Meekatharra, Norseman, Port Hedland, Roebourne, Wiluna, Wittenoom & various intermediate points, with a fleet less than half the size of MMA’s, but with a larger Government subsidy. 

There was a general perception that the W.A. aviation industry was being over-subsidised.  It came to a head in 1955 when the Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Athol Townley, stated it could not continue, & called on the two airlines to merge.  Talks began to discuss how this could be achieved.  MacRobertsons Pty. Ltd. of Melbourne still owned 62% of MMA shares, whilst Airlines (WA) Ltd. was a public company, listed in Perth.  A merger proposal was announced to the Perth Stock Exchange on 23 June.

During June 1955, a new company, MacRobertson Miller Airlines Ltd. (no hyphen), was established, to continue the merged operations of both airlines.  The Managing Director position was initially shared by Cyril Kleinig from MMA & Don Cameron from Airlines.  The merger included management, admin & booking staff, pilots & engineering staff in addition to aircraft & building assets.  It was an uncomfortable period at first with differing management & operational procedures & staff seniority to be standardised.  Although it was stressed to be a merger, not a takeover by MMA, in reality it seemed to most to be just that.

On 05 August, details of the proposed merger of Mac.Robertson-Miller Aviation Co. Pty. Ltd. & Airlines (W.A.) Ltd. were announced.  As a device to cover the merger, a temporary company, called M.M. Airlines Ltd., was formed, with Evan Shaw, Chairman of Airlines (W.A.) as its Acting Chairman.  That company was to last only until the new, combined, company, Mac.Robertson Miller Airlines Ltd. commenced operations.  For the previous 5 financial years the average annual profit for MMA had been £27,654, before taxation & Airlines (W.A.) £7,644.  The proposal valued Airlines (W.A.) at £118,800; down from £128,069 a year before.

On 19 August, Mac.Robertson-Miller Aviation Co. Pty. Ltd. & Airlines (W.A.) Ltd. were merged, to form Mac.Robertson Miller Airlines Ltd., at the request of the Federal Government,  Airlines (W.A.) remained, technically, a subsidiary of MMA, until it was liquidated in 1969.  The new company had a nominal capital of £2 million (4 million 10/- shares), 45 pilots (30 Captains & 15 F/Os) & 23 Hostesses, in a staff of 403.  £475,000 worth of shares (950,000 10/- fully paid-up shares were to be issued, on the basis of 273.33 10/- shares for each 100 fully paid-up MMA share & 120 10/- shares for each 200 fully paid up 5/- share in Airlines (W.A.).  The recommended dividend for the year was 7.5%.  Both airlines agreed to pay the dividend from their profits for the year ended 30 June. 

The new airline’s Board consisted of 2 representatives from MMA, two from Airlines (W.A.), two from Mac.Robertson Pty. Ltd. & an independent Chairman (which became Sir Reginald Rushton).
On 29 September, the name of the still legal entity of MacRobertson-Miller Aviation Company Pty. Ltd. was changed to Commercial Aviation Pty. Ltd.

On 01 October, 1955, Mac.Robertson Miller Airlines Ltd. began operations; combining the operations of Mac.Robertson Miller Aviation Co. Ltd. & Airlines (W.A.) Ltd., over a network of more than 32,000 km, from Esperance to Darwin.  The 1st ‘combined’ operation was DC-3 freighter Flight 722L from Perth to Geraldton, Carnarvon, Learmonth, Onslow, Roebourne, Port Hedland & Broome to Derby, which departed at 00:50. 

The 1st ‘combined’ passenger service was a DC-3 departing Darwin at 04:15 to Meekatharra & Perth.  The 1st passenger service ex-Perth was the 05:30 DC-3 service to Port Hedland, via the ‘Inland Route’.

MacRobertson Miller Airlines had a combined staff of over 400, including 49 pilots. Chief Pilot was Captain Alex Whitham, Managing Director Cyril Kleinig with James Cameron, previously Managing Director of Airlines (WA) Ltd., was appointed Executive Manager.  Chairman of the new combined Board was Perth businessman Reginald Rushton.  Airlines (WA) Ltd.'s three remaining Doves became VH-MMN, VH-MMO, & VH-MMP, & replaced Ansons at Port Hedland & Derby for the station runs & Flying Doctor Service. They were operated with 8 removable passenger seats & a toilet.
de Havilland D.H.104 Doves VH-AWA (later VH-MMN), VH-AWB, VH-AWD (later VH-MMO) & VH-AWF (later VH-MMP) initially joined the fleet of the combined airline.  VH-AWB was sold in November.

The 1954 calendar year figures for both airlines were:

                                                         MMA        A(W.A.)

Unduplicated route miles               10,413          5,720
Aircraft Miles (000)                          1,652          1,325
Revenue Passengers                    26,787        15,627
Revenue Passenger Miles (000)   16,753          4,598
Mail & Cargo Ton-Miles (000)         1,008             217


On 04 February, 1956, Avro Anson VH-MMG 'RMA de Gray' crashed into Hawkestone Peak, in the King Leopold Ranges, W.A., whilst operating a RFDS emergency flight.

During the financial year ending 30 June, MMA made a net profit of £69,661, carried 48,008 passengers (compared with 44,389 the previous year for the combined companies), 6,862,501 lbs (3,112.80 tonnes) of freight & 185,162 lbs (83.98 tonnes) of mail, over an unduplicated route mileage of 19,589 miles (31,525 km); serving 115 regular ports-of-call throughout W.A. & the N.T.  There were also 49 additional destinations, where landings could be made, if required.  MMA flew 3,068,728 miles (4,938,638 km), involving 20,634 revue hours & 228 training flight hours, using 4 DC-3 passenger aircraft, 1 DC-3 freighter, 3 D.H.104 Doves & 4 Avro Ansons.  As of 30 June, MMA had 399 employees, including 50 pilots & 21 hostesses.
During September, Avro Anson VH-MMC was sold to Papuan Air Transport.

As of 30 June, 1957, the fleet was shown as: Douglas DC-3s VH-MMA, MMF, MMK, MML & MMM, Ansons VH-MMB, MMH & MMJ & D.H.104 Doves VH-MMN, VH-MMO, & VH-MMP.
On 16 November, DC-3 VH-MMA operated MMA’s 1st DC-3 service to/from Rottnest Island.

c. 1957/1958, D.H.104 Dove VH-MMN was modified for aerial dingo-baiting for the WA Government; dropping baits.

During March, 1958, Avro Anson VH-MMJ 'RMA Drysdale' was sold to Carsair Air Services, Port Moresby.
As of 30 June, the fleet was shown as: Douglas DC-3s VH-MMA, MMF, MMK, MML & MMM, Ansons VH-MMB & MMH & D.H.104 Doves VH-MMN, MMO & MMP.

During October, Douglas DC-3 VH-MMD 'RMA Durack' was added to the fleet.
During 1958, MMA advised the Royal Flying Doctor Service that, with the introduction of their planned F.27s, they would no longer need to maintain a base at Derby, which convinced the RFDS’s Derby-based Victorian Section that they had to own their own aircraft.  VH-MMO was purchased from MMA & commissioned in February 1959.
On 04 December, MMA announced that they planned to sell their three D.H.104 Doves, as they were not large enough.  VH-MMO was sold to the RFDS on 31 January, 1959 & VH-MMP, which had been damaged at Derby on 03 May, 1958, was sold in April, 1959.  VH-MMN was retained until December 1967 & used for charter work.

On 03 March, 1959, Avro Anson VH-MMB was withdrawn from service.
On 24 March, having considered the Handley Page Herald, Avro 748 & Convair CV-240, MMA announced that TAA would supply a new Fokker F.27 Mk. 2002 Friendship to MMA It was delivered to MMA at Perth, incorrectly marked as VH-TFL, 16 December & was reregistered VH-MMS 'RMA Swan' on 24 December.  It entered MMA service on 28 December.  It later became the first F.27 in the World to reach 20,000 flying hours.

The MMA Board had been discussing ways to finance the acquisition & introduction costs of the new generation of turboprop airliners.  An early opportunity was presented in 1959, when Trans-Australia Airlines management decided that three new F.27s from their initial order would be excess to needs & offered them to East West Airlines, Guinea Airways & MMA on extended repayment terms. 

MMA negotiated the purchase of VH-TFL while it was on the Fokker production line.  It was delivered from Fokker's Amsterdam factory to Perth by MMA Captains Alex Witham & Sid Goddard, arriving at Perth Airport on 16 December 1959.  It had been painted by Fokker in a newly-designed blue, white & red MMA Jetstream Service scheme.  This was quite a change from the all-metallic DC-3s for which Managing Director Cyril Kleinig consistently refused pilot requests for a white roof to reduce cabin temperatures, because the weight of the paint would reduce payload.

The F.27 was repainted as VH-MMS, with name ‘RMA Swan’ during its pre-service overhaul at Perth.  Crew training commenced & a naming ceremony on 28 December was a lavish affair which gained wide publicity. Following the ceremony, dignitaries & press boarded for a flight to Port Hedland & return, on which hot meals were served, a first for MMA due to the limited DC-3 galley facilities. 

The inaugural revenue flight for the Friendship was a scheduled 5 a.m. departure Perth-Port Hedland-Broome-Derby crewed by Captains Syd Goddard & Ken Beer & F/O Norm Dorrington.  The F.27 took over the Perth-Darwin mainline schedule, leaving the DC-3s to cover the coastal ports & station services.  VH-MMS operated an average of 10 hours flying time per day, 7 days a week logging over 3,000 hours in the first year, all maintenance at home base Perth overnight.
The Friendship proved highly popular with passengers & crews alike, bringing reduced flight times & the comfort of cruising above most of the turbulence endured on the DC-3s.  Additional new Friendships were ordered, but the MMA Board's struggle to finance this expenditure was soon to be eased by a change of ownership of the airline - Ansett Transport Industries.

On 01 January, 1960, the fleet consisted of Fokker F.27 VH-MMS, DC-3s VH-MMA, MMD, MMF, MMK, MML & MMM, Anson VH-MMH, & Dove VH-MMN.

On 01 July, Connellan Airways took over the Darwin-Groote Eylandt route from MMA
Statistics for the year ended 30 June, 1961 show that MMA carried 53,092 passengers, with a load-factor of 48.7% & carried 3,124.5 short-tons (2,834 tonnes) of freight.,

On 02 January, 1961, MMA sought a state licence to operate Perth-Kalgoorlie and/or Laverton-Warburton Mission to the W.A. border (presumably extending to Alice Springs, or Uluru (Ayers Rock)).
During September, MMA’s last Avro Anson, VH-MMH 'RMA Harding', was deleted from the airline's operating licence.  It was used for charter/photography in last months & made a farewell Anson flight over Perth on 29 June, 1962.

On 15 June, 1962, the airline advised the state licensing authority that they would call at Bulgeeda, at the request of Conzinc Rio Tinto. On 29 June, MMA’s last Avro Anson, VH-MMH, was officially withdrawn from service.
During the 1961/62 financial year, MMA carried 66,855 passengers - a rise of over 50% in 5 years.  It also carried 7,240,000 lbs of freight & 390,497 lbs of mail.  The airline made a consolidated net profit of £45,106, on gross revenue of £1,542,813; declaring its usual 7.5% dividend
.
From 01 September to 27 October MMA leased TAA F.27 VH-TFD.
During December, Douglas DC-3 VH-MMO 'RMA Ord' was added to the fleet.
After the 1962 'Killing Season', Air Beef services ceased.  (See Part 3 for more information on MMA Air Beef operations)
 
On 19 April, 1963, A.T.I. purchased Mac.Robertson (Australia) Ltd.’s 62% share in MMA, plus some 8% of MMA owned by Horrie Miller, via Miller Investments Pty. Ltd., to give it 70.49% (654,716 of 953,314 shares) of MMA shares, for a reported £490,000; paying slightly more than the then market price of 14/6 per share. 

This was after Mac.Robertson Miller Airlines, in desperate need of funds for their 2nd F.27 aircraft (& planned new jet equipment), approached it to purchase a major share., after the Federal Government (to which MMA was required to offer any major share percentage that it wished to sell, under the ‘Development Service’ subsidy arrangements) had refused an offer for them to buy the shares (or nominate a purchaser, as required under the agreement).  MMA’s Federal Government subsidies (then £128,339) restricted its dividends to 7.5%; insufficient to attract the necessary capital for purchasing jet aircraft.  The remaining 298,598 MMA shares (29.51%) were held by 803 individual shareholders.

In November, 1968, ATI offered two ATI shares, or $1.25 cash, for each of the remaining shares.
MMA became a subsidiary of A.T.I.  A.T.I. took over the £293,907 debt (due in 4 remaining payments) still owed to TAA for MMA's 1st F.27 & paid it off within days.

The impact of solid financial backing came at just the right time. Massive reserves of iron ore in the Pilbara district, inland from Port Hedland & Dampier, had resulted in huge new mining operations being built & new towns for their employees, with air-conditioned brick homes boasting gardens & lawns, shopping centres, medical services & other amenities.  These mining centers, & their coastal iron ore shipping ports, had new airports with modern facilities constructed by the mining companies & were added to the MMA timetable during the 1960s: Mount Newman, Paraburdoo, Mount Tom Price, Karratha. Port Hedland's port went from a weekly Coastal Ships visit to a vast development which loaded the largest bulk ore carriers for shipping to Japan.

The MMA Board could now place firm orders for new F.27s & consider the new medium-sized jet airliners for the future.  But, in the meantime, capacity on services to the Pilbara was stretched to the limit.  Air cargo rose by 54% in the 1965-66 financial year.  ANSETT-ANA F.27s were leased to MMA for varying periods, & two ANSETT-ANA Douglas DC-4s leased: VH-INX from August 1965 initially as a freighter & VH-INY from November 1965, in a 54-passenger configuration & freight, all flown by MMA crews.  VH-INX returned to Melbourne on 20 July, 1966 from extended MMA service.

DC-3s were leased from East West Airlines at Tamworth NSW: VH-EWE for two weeks from 17 July, 1965, VH-EWD two weeks from 13 August that year, followed by VH-EWB from 06 October, 1965, for three months.  Each was collected from Tamworth by MMA crews & ferried to Perth. VH-EWB was returned to Tamworth by an MMA crew on 15 January, 1966.
A three-year lease of a Philippine Airlines F.27 commenced in January 1966, painted in MMA Jetstream Service scheme as VH-MMU with the non-standard name ‘Mabuhay’, the Filipino greeting.  It was a Friendship Mk.100 series, which did not have the performance of MMA's Mk.200s, & was not popular with flight crews.  It also suffered significant maintenance problems, which caused so many customer complaints that questions were asked in State Parliament.  It was ferried back to Manila in November 1968.

On 23 April, MMA advised that they would be calling at Camballin, east of Derby, on Flights 884/5 & 886/7.
During April, Douglas DC-3 VH-MMO 'RMA Ord' was reregistered VH-MMB & renamed 'RMA Blackwood'.
On 03 July, TAA lodged an application to the Director-General of Civil Aviation to operate a weekly Vickers Viscount service Perth-Darwin.  The request was rejected.

During 1963 MMA carried 73,829 passengers.  F.27 VH-MMS achieved an amazing 4,150-hour utilisation.
As of December, MMA’s fleet consisted of 1 F.27 & 7 DC-3s.

In February, 1964, Piaggio P.166 VH-MMP 'RMA Pilbara' joined the fleet; for charter operations.  It was owned by Commercial Aviation Co, but had titles 'MMA Air Charter'.

During June, the Company's 2nd Fokker F.27 Friendship VH-MMO 'RMA Ord' (ex-VH-FNF) joined the fleet.
In 1964 MMA carried 87,633 passengers, with a passenger load factor of 52.1%.  MMA’s ‘Development Service’ subsidy fell from 1963’s £128,339 to just £97,430, despite the integration of their 2nd F.27.
As of December, MMA’s fleet consisted of 2 F.27s & 7 DC-3s.

On 15 January, 1965, TAA lodged a 2nd application to the Director-General of Civil Aviation to operate a weekly service Perth-Darwin.  The request was again rejected, as were those made on in January 1968 &
18 December, 1968 & a more detailed application in August 1969, which included stops at Tom Price, Dampier, Port Hedland, Derby & Kununurra.  Further applications were made on 26 January & 17 August, 1971.
As of 30 June, the MMA fleet consisted of: Fokker F.27s VH-MMO & MMS, DC-3s VH-MMA, MMB, MMD, MMF, MMK, MML & MMM, Dove VH-MMN & Piaggio P.166 VH-MMP.

The DC-3s were owned by MMA's fully-owned subsidiary Commercial Aviation Co., & were leased to MMA.  The P.166 was owned & operated by Commercial Aviation Co., using MMA crews.
The other aircraft were owned by MMA

From 17 July, East-West’s DC-3 VH-EWE was leased for 2 weeks.
During July-November, various ANSETT-ANA DC-4s, used for Essendon-Perth-Essendon freighter services, were used for two services per week Perth to Derby, with intermediate stops, as required.  The flexible arrangement for aircraft utilisation arrangement increased revenue, while satisfying the demands of the NW construction projects.  The ANSETT-ANA DC-4 fleet at that time consisted of VH-ANF, VH-INL, VH-INM, VH-INX & VH-INY.
From 13 August, East-West’s DC-3 VH-EWD was chartered for 2 weeks.
From 22 August, ANSETT-ANA's Douglas DC-4 VH-INL began operating Perth-Port Hedland-Derby & return services for MMA.  It was replaced by VH-INY from 15 November.

From 06 October, East-West’s DC-3 VH-EWB was leased, returning to Tamworth 15 January, 1966.
During November, another Douglas DC-3, VH-MMT 'RMA Turner', joined the fleet.  It was fully-owned by MMA & was initially used for work on the Hamersley Iron development Dampier-Tom Price.
Developments in the North-West meant that MMA carried 30,339 passengers to the North-West during March-June, a 39% increase over the same period of 1964.

From 15 November, ANSETT-ANA's Douglas DC-4 VH-INY was dry-leased, to service increased traffic at Derby & the north.
During December, DC-4 VH-INX replaced, or possibly joined, VH-INY.
Douglas DC-4 VH-INM was leased to MMA for a short period in the 2nd half of 1965, to handle increased cargo to iron ore mining developments in the Pilbara region of W.A.  Exact dates are not known.
The number of passengers carried on MMA charter services rose from 1,735 in 1964 to 3,058 in 1965.
As of December, MMA’s fleet consisted of 2 F.27s, 8 DC-3s, 1 DC-4, on loan from ANSETT-ANA, & 1 DC -3, on loan from East-West.

In 1965 MMA carried 111627 passengers (an increase of some 25.1% over 1964), with a passenger load factor of 59.4% & a weight load factor of 63.3%.

On 22 January, 1966, Fokker F.27 VH-FNL was chartered from ANSETT-ANA to handle increased traffic until June, & the arrival of MMA's own VH-MMR.  It was returned on 06 June.
From 20 February, MMA chartered Fokker F.27 Mk. 100 VH-MMU 'RMA Mabuhay' from Philippine Airlines.  Due to a number of extensions of the lease, it stayed until 29 October, 1968.

During the financial year ending 1 July, MMA earned a net profit of £179,358.
On 22 July, MMA's third owned Fokker F.27, VH-MMR 'RMA Robe', entered service.
On 17 November, DC-4 VH-INY was returned to ANSETT-ANA.
During November, DC-4s VH-ANF & VH-INM, in partnership with the three F.27s, carried some 200 guests Perth to/from Dampier, for the opening of the new Hamersley Iron Ore Project.
As of December, MMA’s fleet consisted of 4 F.27s (2 leased) & 8 DC-3s.

In January, 1967, MMA began regular F.27 services from Darwin to Gove & Groote Eylandt.
As of 01 June, the fleet consisted of Fokker F.27s VH-MMO, MMR & MMS (plus the chartered VH-MMU), DC-3s VH-MMA, MMB, MMD, MMF, MMK, MML, MMM & MMT, Dove VH-MMN &
Piaggio P.166 VH-MMP.

During the financial year ending 01 July, MMA earned a net profit of £138,834.  It carried 140,400 passengers, 8,023,032 lbs (3,639.tonnes) of freight & 706,705 lbs (320.55 tonnes) of mail.
By 30 June, it had 784 staff, including 116 pilots & 61 air-hostesses.
On 11 September, Fokker F.27 VH-FNA, leased from ANSETT-ANA, entered MMA service.  It was returned the following April.
On 15 December, MMA’s last D.H.104 Dove, VH-MMN 'RMA Nullagine', was sold to the N.T. Medical Service.
During 1967 MMA began non-stop F.27 services Derby-Perth - believed to then be the longest scheduled F.27 flight-stage in the World.

As of December, MMA’s fleet consisted of 5 F.27s (2 leased) & 8 DC-3s.
Mac.Robertson Miller Airlines Ltd. & Mac.Robertson Miller Airline Services

The mining industry brought other closed charters & contracts.  In 1967 DHC-6 Twin Otter VH-MMY was purchased new, to operate a lucrative contract with BHP/Australian Iron & Steel, to fly a courier service between Derby & the iron ore mines on Cockatoo Island & Koolan Islands in Yampi Sound, which had previously been supplied by a company Twin Pioneer.  It arrived at Perth on 12 January, 1968 in bare metal finish after ferry flight as N1566.  After being painted in the MMA Jetstream Service scheme & crew training, it was named RMA Yampi in a ceremony at Derby Airport on 05 February, 1968.  As well as the islands courier charter, it was to operate the Kimberley Stations services.

On 03 February, 1968, MMA introduced de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter 100 VH-MMY ‘RMA Yampi’ into service, Perth-Meekatharra-Wittenoom-Derby.  It was then normally based at Derby & used for the Kimberley services, replacing DC-3s, which had flown them since 1945.  It also serviced MMA's contract with BHP for the Yampi Sound mining centers of Cockatoo Island & Koolan Island.

During March, Fokker F.27 Friendship VH-MMV 'RMA Victoria' entered service.

During 1968 Ansett Transport Industries placed orders for Fokker F28 Fellowship jets, for which MMA would be the launch Australian airline.  Prior to their delivery, to help MMA with ever-increasing passenger & freight demand, an ANSETT-ANA Viscount 700 series would be leased to MMA.  On 18 April, Vickers Viscount 747 VH-RMO was ferried from Melbourne to Perth, & promptly repainted in MMA Jetstream Service scheme with name RMA ‘Oakover’.  It entered MMA service five days later, almost exclusively Perth-Port Hedland.

Despite its age, having been built in 1955 for Butler Air Transport, Sydney, the Viscount brought ‘big airliner’ prestige for MMA.  In the expectation that MMA would be operating Viscounts for some years, an extensive pilot training & endorsement program kept VH-RMO busy most evenings, with circuits & instrument approaches at Perth in those days prior to simulators.
From 13 September 1968 Viscount 720C VH-RMQ replaced VH-RMO as part of a routine ANSETT-ANA flight hours’ maintenance schedule.

VH-RMO was repainted back to ANSETT-ANA scheme before departing Perth 08 September for Melbourne, VH-RMQ ferrying Melbourne-Perth on 13 September & going into the MMA paint shop that same night to emerge in Jetstream Service scheme with name RMA Quininup.  This was an even older aircraft, first flown in October 1954 for TAA.
The MMA Viscount era ended abruptly on 31 December, 1968, when VH-RMQ was destroyed near Port Hedland with the loss of all 21 passengers & 5 crew.  At 11.30 a.m. that morning, it was on descent inbound from Perth, in moderate thermal turbulence, when the starboard wing spar failed & the wing broke away at 7,000 feet, striking the tailplane.  The wreckage was spread over 3 kilometres, on Indee Station. 

he DCA investigation determined that the cause was fatigue cracks emanating from an incorrectly-installed bolt in a spar section, which could not be inspected during routine maintenance.
DCA grounded all Australian Viscount 700s.  Because of different wing construction, Viscount 800s of Ansett & TAA were not affected.  But they were soon retired, replaced by newly-delivered DC-9 jets.

As of 10 June, the MMA fleet consisted of Viscount 747 VH-RMO, F.27s VH-MMO, MMR, MMS & MMV, DC-3s VH-MMA, MMB, MMD, MMF, MMK, MML, MMM & MMT, DHC-6 VH-MMY & Piaggio P.166 VH-MMP.  Its main routes were Perth-Darwin, via Geraldton, Meekatharra, Onslow, Port Hedland, Derby & Kununurra, Perth-Geraldton-Shark Bay-Carnarvon, Perth to Kalgoorlie, Norseman, Laverton, Leonora, & Esperance & Albany & Perth-Geraldton-Morowa-Yalgoo-Barloweerie-Mt. Magnet-Cue-Meekatharra.

On 08 September, Viscount 747 VH-RMO was returned to ANSETT-ANA.  It was replaced by Vickers Viscount 720C VH-RMQ 'RMA Quininup' on 13 September.

On 06 October, MMA operated its last service to Albany.
On 20 October, MMA ceased its own services to Leonora, Laverton & Norseman, with smaller aircraft being chartered pending their handing over to a 'third-level' operator, which became Noeska Aviation,
as of 21 November.

During October/November, MMA licences for a number of its services were transferred to 'third-level' operators, as follows:
- 01 October     - Services to Morowa, Yalgoo, Mt. Magnet, Cue, Sandstone & Wiluna - to Hicks Airlines Pty. Ltd.
- 12 November - Services to Shark Bay, Gascoyne Junction, Marble Bar, Nullagine, Roy Hill, Bamboo Springs, Hillside, Wallal, Mandora, Talgarno, Warrawagine, Callawa & Yarrie - to Murchison Air Services.
- 18 November - Services from Perth to Leonora, Laverton & Norseman - to Noeska Aviation Pty. Ltd.

During November-December, A.T.I. acquired the remaining 29.51% shares in Mac.Robertson Miller Airlines, from the remaining 759 ‘independent’ shareholders, after offering two Ansett shares, or $1.25 cash, for each MMA share.  The move to make MMA a wholly-owned ATI subsidiary related to the need for MMA to acquire expensive jet equipment, as part of its ongoing operational streamlining.

On 10 December, MMA ordered a Fokker F28 Mk. 1000 Fellowship, for delivery in February 1970.  The Cost was reported as being about $2,400,000 & it was the 1st purchase in Australia of a 3rd-level jet aircraft.
On 31 December, MMA’s Viscount 720C VH-RMQ ‘RMA Quininup’ crashed near Port Hedland, WA.                                      
          
In January 1969, MMA announced that its DC-3 fleet had been retired.  Fokker Friendships were now operating to all main ports & the new F28 Fellowship jets would enter service next year.  That happy situation had had been reached by DCA agreeing in 1967 to introduce Third Level airline services, by general aviation operators, under ANR Regulation 203.  DC-3 routes between Perth & Esperance, Albany, Meekatharra, Cue were taken over by Civil Flying Services with Beech Queen Airs, & other charter companies took on various other route sectors.

Other DC-3s were sold to Australian Aircraft Sales, Sydney.  MMA's DC-3s were considered among the best maintained examples of the type, so were quickly resold by AAS, despite large numbers on the worldwide market as airlines upgraded their fleets.

On 10 January, DC-3 VH-MML 'RMA Lyndon' was transferred to Ansett Airlines of PNG.
On 16 January, MMA chartered Civil Flying Services' Queen Air A65 VH-ASY to operate Perth-Esperance, pending the transfer of that route to Civil Flying Services (W.A.) on 19 May.

On 17 January, Press & TV publicity was arranged for the final MMA DC-3 scheduled service, when VH-MMA ‘Ashburton’ operated Newman-Meekatharra-Perth.  The aircraft had logged a total of 54,600 flying hours.  ATI transferred VH-MMA & VH-MMD to ANSETT-M.A.L., which had just been renamed Ansett Airlines of Papua New Guinea.  Both were repainted at Perth in an interim color-scheme, & VH-MMD was first to depart on delivery to Lae on 10 February.
On 31 January, VH-MMD 'RMA Durack' was officially withdrawn from service by MMA.  It was sold to the same airline on 10 February.

Despite the retirement publicity, DC-3 VH-MMF was quietly retained, & crews kept current for occasional charter work mostly in the north.  In December, it returned to Perth, after a month at Port Hedland, as a freighter, to have the passenger cabin reinstalled, &, for the next three months, flew scheduled services mostly Perth-Kalgoorlie return & Perth-Geraldton when passenger loadings did not warrant the usual Friendship.  VH-MMF finally left Perth on 07 March, 1970 on delivery to Ansett Airlines of Papua New Guinea. 

But having a DC-3 available to fill in when needed had been very useful.  To replace VH-MMF, ATI transferred two DC-3s to MMA, from storage in Melbourne: freighter VH-ANX & 28-passenger configured VH-ANZ.  They were ferried to Perth early-March 1970, where they were repainted in the new Ansett ‘Delta’ scheme with MMA titles.
VH-ANZ had the honor of operating MMA's final DC-3 scheduled service on 29 August, 1970, Port Hedland-Perth.  But the occasion received no publicity.  It was parked on the grass at Perth Airport & sold to Australian Aircraft Sales.  VH-ANX continued with occasional freight work for another year, until March 1972, when ferried away by Australian Aircraft Sales.

On 12 March, leased Ansett Fokker F.27 VH-FNE replaced VH-FNA with MMA.
As of 20 March, the fleet consisted of : F.27s VH-FNE, MMO, MMR, MMS & MMV, DHC-6 VH-MMY & Piaggio P.166 VH-MMP, with DC-3s VH-MMB, MMF, MMK, MMM & MMT withdrawn from service & available for sale.
On 15 May, DC-3 VH-MMB 'RMA Blackwood' was sold to an Indonesian airline.
On 19 May, MMA's Perth-Esperance route was transferred to Civil Flying Services (W.A.) Pty. Ltd.

On 01 June, Mac.Robertson Miller Airlines Ltd. was renamed Mac.Robertson Miller Airline Services & became a division of Ansett Transport Industries (Operations) Pty. Ltd. to reflect that status.
Cyril Kleinig, previously the Managing Director, became General Manager of Mac.Robertson Miller Airline Services.

A.T.I. continued to examine the jet needs for MMA, examining the Fokker F28 Fellowship
& a short-bodied version of the Douglas DC-9 (carrying around 70 passengers, with an All-Up-Weight of around 35 tonnes).  Major considerations included the need for low-pressure tyres (due to loading
restrictions at many W.A. airports).  Although A.T.I. reportedly initially favored the DC-9 version, the F28 won out, at least in part because the DC-9 would have required major redevelopment at various airports.

The introduction of turbojet airliners required much preparation.  The F28s would be operating into most of the F.27 airports.  As well as airport works to handle these much heavier aircraft carrying increased passenger loads, existing DCA regulations requiring ATC Towers at all airports served by jet airliners needed review - the only tower, on the MMA network, outside Perth & Darwin at that time was Port Hedland.

The first of the ATI order for F28 Fellowship 1000 Series was not due for delivery to MMA until mid-1970.  Increasing passenger & freight demand & the loss of the Viscount caused ATI to negotiate with Fokker to lease a Fellowship 1000 with an earlier delivery date. Norwegian airline Braathens-SAFE agreed to release a new F28, still on the production line, for a 10 month lease to MMA. 

The F28 was completed in MMA paint scheme, as VH-MMJ, & made its first flight on 30 June, 1969 with Fokker temporary test registration PH-ZAH.  After the test flight program & crew training, VH-MMJ departed Amsterdam 16 August, 1969 for Australia, flown by MMA Captains Sid Goddard & Nelson Hill, with Ansett Captain John Withecombe.  They reached Perth three days later, but continued on to Melbourne, for Australian certification inspection in the Ansett hangars at Essendon Airport.  Emerging with name RMA Pilbara painted on the nose, VH-MMJ was ferried back to Perth on 24 August, for an intense training period.

On 01 June, 1969, Fokker F.27 VH-MMV 'RMA Victoria' was transferred to Ansett Airlines of Australia.
On 07 June, DC-3 VH-MMK 'RMA Kimberley' was sold to an airline in Taiwan.  VH-MMM 'RMA Murchison' followed in July.
On 18 July, the state operating licences were officially transferred from MMA to Ansett Transport Industries (Operations) Pty. Ltd.

On 02 September, MMA entered the pure jet age, with the first Fellowship service Perth-Port Hedland return. It should have been the previous day but VH-MMJ went u/s pre-taxy & to everyone's disappointment an F.27 had to be substituted.  The new F28 was kept on the high-demand Port Hedland run until February 1970, when it continued to Kununurra, then hub of the Ord River Scheme.  VH-MMJ was now achieving over 8.5 hours daily utilisation, which grew as other airports were ready for the jet.

On 02 September, MMA introduced pure-jet services, when it operated Perth-Port Hedland, using chartered Fokker F28 Mk. 1000 Fellowship VH-MMJ ‘RMA Pilbara’; making W.A. the 1st state in Australia with intrastate jet services.  The F28 cut the flying time Perth-Port Hedland to 2 hours 6 mins, compared with 3 hours 30 mins for the Viscount, & 3 hours 40 mins for the F.27.

On 21 October, DC-3 VH-MMT 'RMA Turner' was also sold to an Indonesian airline.
From 07-20 December, Ansett Airlines of Australia's Fokker F.27 VH-FNA was chartered to MMA.
During 1969, Airlines (W.A.) was liquidated, & its remaining assets were transferred to Mac.Robertson Miller Airlines & MMA carried some 163,000 passengers.


1919 - 1927 Commercial Aviation Co
1927 - 1955 MacRobertson Miller Aviation Co
1935 - 1955 Airlines (W.A.) Ltd
1955 - 1969 MacRobertson Miller Airlines Ltd
1969 - 1981 MMA Airline Services
1981 - 1984 Airlines of Western Australia
1984 - 1984 Air WA
1984 - 1993 Ansett W.A.
1990 - Ansett Australia

Fleet:

Airco D.H.9 - G-AUEU, VH-UHT.

Armstrong Whitworth    G-AUCF.
 
Atlantic (Fokker) 4 - VH-UJT
 
Avro 504K - (G-AUBM).

Avro 652A Anson I - VH-AYN, AYO, AYP, AYQ, MMB, MMC, MMG, MMH, MMI, MMJ  (MMA purchased 5 Ansons from the RAAF at Geraldton in 1946, for £200 each).(plus 2 purchased from RAAF Base at Pearce, for £5 each, for spares, which may have been W1938, W1964, W2051, or MG447).

BAe 146-200- VH-JJP, JJQ, JJS, JJT, JJW, JJX.

BAe 146-200 - demonstrator G-5-146 was flown in ‘Air W.A.’ colors 15/08/84.  It was reregistered G-WAUS 30/08/84, for the Farnborough Air Show, in 09/84.It was repainted in the correct 'Ansett W.A.' titles 04/03/85 & visited the 1985 Paris Air Salon, in those colors.  It returned to the BAe house-colors 11-18/08/86.

Beech Super King Air - VH-AIH, SPQ, WNH, WNI.

Boeing 737-377 - Ansett W.A. utilised Ansett 737-377s on their Perth-Port Hedland-Darwin services.

Bristol Monoplane M.1 - VH-UQI (never operated airline services?).

C.A.C. CA-6 - VH-AIY.

Cessna C37 - VH-UZU

de Havilland D.H.60 - VH-UJW, VH-UJX, UMA, UMR (never operated), UNX.
 
de Havilland D.H.61 - VH-UTL.
 
de Havilland D.H.82 - MMA bought ex-RAAF A17-153, A17-156, A17-204, A17-226, 317, A17-509, & A17-612 from the C.D.C. (never registered).

de Havilland D.H.83 - VH-UDD, USJ, UTF, UVL.

de Havilland D.H.84 - VH-ABK, URF, URG, URW, URX, URY, UVN.

de Havilland D.H.86 - VH-USC, USD, USF, USW.

de Havilland D.H.104 - VH-AWA, AWB, AWD, AWF, MMN, MMO, MMP.
 
DHC-6 Twin Otter - VH-EWM, MMY, PGU.
 
Douglas DC-3 - VH-AER(?), AES, AEU, AEV, ANX, ANZ, AXM, BXM, EWB, EWD, EWE, MMA, MMB, MMD, MME, MMF, MMK, MML, MMM, MMO, MMT, VHCTL for spares.  One report suggests that MMA chartered an Ansett Airways’ DC-3 whilst VH-AXM was being converted.  But details are unknown.

Douglas DC-4 - VH-ANF, INL, INM, INX, & INY.

Douglas DC-9-30 - Various Ansett Airlines of Australia DC-9s were used for Perth-Port Hedland-Darwin services during 1978.  PK-GNO, PK-GNR, PK-GNT, PK-GNV.

Fairchild F-27F - N127HP.

Fokker 4 Universal - VH-UJT

Fokker F.27 Friendship - VH-EWY, FNA, FNE, FNF, FNG, FNL, FNO, FNQ, FNT, FNU, FNW, MMB, MMO, MMR, MMS, MMU, MMV, TFD, (TFL)

Fokker F28 Mk. 1000 - P2-ANE, VH-FKA, FKB, FKC, FKD, FKE, FKF, FKG, MMJ.

Fokker F28 Mk. 3000 - VH-EWG.

Fokker F28 Mk. 4000 - VH-EWH, FKI, FKJ.   

Fokker F28 Mk. 6000 - In early-1974, MMA considered replacing F28s Mk. 1000s with Mk. 6000s; to better compete with the proposed TAA service Perth Port Hedland.  No order was placed.

Lockheed 10 - VH-ABV, ABW, MMD.

Lockheed 414 Hudson - MMA purchased A16-116 from RAAF Station HQ. Pearce, WA, 01/04/47.   One engine was found to have problems & was sent to MMA for repairs.  It was flown Pearce-Guildford 20/05/47 by Cyril Goode & Cyril Kleinig & was ”immediately” stripped of engines (for DC-3s) & instruments, before going to a scrap dealer.

Lockheed DL-1A Vega - VH-UVK.

Partenavia P.68B -VH-IYE.

Piaggio P.166 - VH-MMP.

Rockwell 690 - VH-AAG, ATF, PCV.

Short SC.7 Skyvan - VH-FSG, FSH.

Swearingen SA226 - VH-SWN, SWO.
 
Vickers Viscount 700 - VH-RMO, RMQ.


Information Source: Fred Niven

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