Sunday, February 19, 2012

Catalinas at Rathmines

My brother, Barry, has just become a resident of an aged-care facility at Rathmines, so I shall be visiting the area on a regular basis throughout this year. It has a fascinating history, so I shall try to relate some of it to you.

These photographs were taken on my very first visit to the facility when I tried to assess what I liked and what I did not like. Afterwards, I walked around, and all these shots were taken within 250m of the aged-care home. For example, the two images above show remaining RAAF 'huts' from the period. They are sort-of used by the Christadelphian Church, but enthusiasts are trying to raise money to reestablish a semblance of a Catalina base. The other shot shows the concrete apron up which the Catalinas were 'dragged' when they required an overhaul.

The area is dotted with information boards that explain what used to be there, or why the landscape is what it is. I shall get to these in time. To get to the Rathmines shop from the home, I have to walk through the sporting fields originally established by the RAAF. They had lots, but the base could house thousands of young men and women at any given time.

The aged-care facility started life as the hospital and dental care wing of the base. It was a simple one wing building. You see the quaint art-deco design of the era in the shot above. After the base was decommissioned, this became a private hosptial, and then the nursing home. The nursing home is high-care and dementia-secure only. The other shot above is a view of the nursing home from the concrete apron.

There is one building, down on the waterfront, which is madly being renovated to remove asbestos. A sign of those times, I guess.