Super Spreaders

“I remember as a kid we used to sit and watch the guys unloading the trucks of Super (at Clandulla Railway Station) and then the excitement of going down Brogans Creek road to Blackmore’s and watching the plane spreading it” – Ray Parlett

Clandulla Railway Station with Post Office in background.

Ray’s father Arthur was a cousin of Albert Parlett who was born in Kandos in 1925 and like his father was a plant operator working for Lew Blackmore. He then worked in Queensland (Gregory Downs?) for three years, then on the RTA in 1955 working on roads including Cherry Tree Hill and roads to Mudgee. Albert passed away in 2017

Hazleton Air Services Cessna 180 being loaded with Superphosphate in Central NSW

The first aircraft that were used to spread Superphosphate on pastures at “Mt View” and “Chester” were the de Havilland Tiger Moth biplanes soon followed by Cessna 180’s. The operator was most likely Hazleton Air Services from Cudal, near Bathurst.

de Havilland Tiger Moths Super spreading in Western Australia

It was at Walcha NSW in 1950 that Tom Watson of Aerial Agriculture organised the first aerial spreading of superphosphate in Australia. It was carried out by a Tiger Moth registration VH-PCB. To this day Tiger Moth VH-PCB can be seen at the Walcha Historical Society Museum, a kind donation by Tom Watson and Aerial Agriculture Pty Ltd.

De Havilland Tiger Moth VH-PCB in the Walcha Museum

The DH.82 Tiger Moth was still the mainstay of the Australian aerial ag fleet at the beginning of the 1960’s. Although popular with operators because of their low cost and plentiful spare parts, The Department if Civil Aviation (DCA) was increasingly concerned by the high rate of severe pilot injuries in routine accidents. DCA mandated the overturn truss to protect the pilot’s head if the aircraft overturned, and from 1962 each agricultural company was required to reduce its DH.82 fleet by a third, until the type was grounded from ag. flying.

In May 1925, Jack Blackmore had participated in pasture improvement trials at “Landsdowne”, Wattamondara, near Cowra, planting Wimmera Rye grass, Tall Oats (Fescue), Hookers Fescue, Phalaris Bulbosa and Subterranean Clover into fallowed wheat ground, along with the ground application of 60 lb per acre of Superphosphate. After the grasses set new seed in November, it was then stocked with sheep from December to March. It was found that the pastures were be able to carry and fatten 6 sheep per acre. In April 1926 a further 60 ln per acre of Superphosphate was applied and the paddock re-stocked with fattening lambs in April.

Jack and Edith with son Lew moved to “Mt View” Clandulla, near Rylstone in 1929.


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