Missing link in Uiver story

A piece of missing history relating to one of the border’s most remarkable events has been returned to AlburyCity after an absence of almost 40 years.

An anonymous donor has provided the city with a plaster cast replica statuette linked to the famous Uiver DC2 emergency landing in 1934.

AlburyCity has now resolved to investigate using the replica to cast two new bronze statuettes – one to be kept in the city’s Uiver collection and the other to be presented to the City of Amsterdam as a gesture celebrating the strong links between Albury and the people of Holland, forged by the Uiver emergency more than 80 years ago.

The original statuette was created by sculptor Paul Montford after the Uiver crashed in the Syrian desert late in 1934, killing all seven people on board.

Albury’s links to the Uiver (“The Stork”, in Dutch) were formed on a dark and stormy night earlier that year when the townsfolk rushed to the racecourse in their cars to illuminate an emergency landing strip for the DC2 after it flew into trouble during the London to Melbourne International Centenary Air Race.

Thanks to the quick thinking of Albury’s residents, the Uiver landed safely that night and went on to come second in the great air race.

The tragedy of the Uiver’s crash in 1934 led to the creation of Montford’s statuette as a gesture of condolence to the people of Holland. In 1935, the bronze statuette was presented to the Mayor of Amsterdam, in Amsterdam, by the Mayor of Albury, Alfred Waugh.

A plaster replica of the statuette was put on display at the Town Hall in Dean Street in 1935, and remained with the council until 1979, when it was removed for repair but not returned.   Almost 40 years later, the replica statuette has been confidentially donated back to AlburyCity.

The statuette, which has been returned to Albury residents with the assistance of local historian Noel Jackling, depicts a draped female figure with an outstretched arm holding a rope, representing Australia protecting a crowned rampant lion that represents Holland.

Although it has suffered some damage, the cast remains a valuable link to Albury’s past and tangible evidence of the special relationship between the city and the people of Holland.

Please join AlburyCity’s Dutch-born councillor Henk van de Ven at the LibraryMuseum tomorrow to film the plaster statuette and hear of the plans to renew our community’s bonds with our friends in Holland.