Dave Darbyshire, our foundation Vice President, started gliding in the mid 1940's and was a very active member and former President of the Gliding Club of Victoria, helping to lay the foundations for the development of the most active gliding club in Australia. He was a driving force in the establishment of the club at Benalla.
Whilst business interests prevented him from actively participating in day to day Club activities during recent years he always maintained a close, active interest in the many aspects of aviation. He built a number of light aircraft, operated several aviation enterprises, and played a most active role in the early development of the Museum. At the time of his demise he was actively restoring the Museum's Olympia sailplane to flying standard. He had a major involvement in the rebuilding of this machine 50 years ago when it was imported from the UK in a very sad state.
Bill Riley is well known to members of the Gliding Federation of Australia. He created “Sportavia” at Tocumwal and he might also be called “Mr Blanik” as he was instrumental in bringing this important two-seater to Australia in large numbers. Later he introduced another important two-seater, the IS 28 to Australia. Bill collected a lot of damaged gliders over the years saving them from club bonfires and the local rubbish dumps. Some of these gliders are the only examples of the type; the museum's first restoration, the Club two-seater is one of these. The Olympia mentioned above is another.
Bruce recently donated a brand new large hangar at the Bacchus Marsh Airfield (known as the Bruce Brockhoff Annex to the Australian Gliding Museum), built to house many a donated vintage glider including Bill Riley's collection. Bill was Bruce's most influential and strongest mentor during Bruce's glider racing career. They did many an informative and fruitful overseas trip to nearly all the glider factories of Europe, Eastern Europe and the UK as well as the major gliding airfields of Germany, France and Italy and England. The Romanians were particularly friendly and generous with home made wines and grappa. more.......