Club History

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The Belconnen Model Aero Club(BMAC), first took to the air in mid 1973, from a rough patch of ground in “Fassifern” on Charnwood Road. The first committee included Frank Burtt, Grant Manwaring, William Burgess, Neil Allayn, Alfred Bridle and David Boyle as Junior Representative. The club was formed to fill the need for a club on the north side of Canberra. Free flight and control line was a major component of the club in those early days but remote control gradually took over. The club was offered a patch of land by the Department of Capital Territories just west of what is now Lake Ginninderra.

In 1975 members having a relaxing fly were abruptly notified thatBMAC needed to find a new location. The notification came in the form of a bulldozer ploughing through the middle of  strip on a mission to build Coulter Drive. Department of Capital Territories, suitably embarrassed by the incident offered BMAC their third site. It was  a tad further west in the Florey/Page area. It was farmland back then and populated only by sheep.

Early in 1976 radio interference on 27mhz inspired some members to seek yet another location. A suitable site was found and BMAC’s forth location was occupied. It was about 6 Km west of Hall on “Lockleigh”. The clubs first open FAI pattern competition was held there on 5th September 1976 with 8 competitors including entries from Parkes and Sydney. The ACT Aeromodellers FAI Sailplane competition was also held there later in the month.

Due to farming activities BMAC had to move a fifth time back to the grounds in Florey and the control-liners to an area in Scullin. The change from 27mhz radios to 29MHz equipment apparently solved earlier interference problems.

In October 1978 application to the Department of Capital Territories was made for a flying field at Wells Station. By the end of 1978, BMAC had implemented its sixth move to the Wells Station field. After much effort during 1979 the Wells Station field was beaten into shape as it was merely a rough unlevelled paddock of large thistles. During this time our current club house was procured.

In 1980 vandals in cars undid much of the hard work to improve the runways despite them being fenced off. Eventually with the help of some stoic BMAC members camping on site and patrolling the field in the wee hours and the problems abated.

1981 saw the Wells Station field become even more civilized with the installation of toilets and water connected also the clubhouse fitted out.

1982 saw membership drop and funds hit near exhaustion but once again the hard work  of BMAC stalwarts saw the club thrive once again.

By 1983 the treasurer was able to report funds in excess of $1000 for the first time. Attendances at meetings regularly reached twenty active members. But once again BMAC was informed that they would have to move but as it turned out the Wells Station flying field enjoyed another 20 years of varying uncertainly before BMAC had to move once more.

Early in the new millennium it became apparent that BMAC would once again lose its field and a new site would need to be found. Various sites were offered and hopes and expectations were aroused and then dashed as sites were offered then deemed unsuitable. Eventually in 2005 the current site was found to be acceptable to all parties and BMAC made its move to the Crace Grassland site.

A major task for the club when arriving at the new site was re-establishing the club infrastructure, including clubroom and flight line. The northern end of the site, where the clubroom is now located, had previously been used as a dump site and members spent significant time in moving and removing refuse from the site. Thanks to generous grants from the ACT Government and donations of time and money from club members, BMAC had completed site restoration activities, re-seeded large areas with native grasses and installed a synthetic runway – ensuring the site preserves the value of the grassland and minimised water usage. Dedicated efforts, especially from a core group, has created the near perfect flying venue that now greets members and guests.

Read more about the Crace Grasslands Runway Project

Fostering aero-modelling in the Belconnen region, Canberra