Bristol Boxkites at Point Cook – The Book

Project 2014: Commemorating the Centenary of Australian Military Aviation 1914–2014

This book is now available at $34.95 plus p&p. The Friends of the RAAF Museum are handling orders for publishers ‘Project 2014’. All proceeds from the book will go to RAAF Museum Inc, to supporting the operations of the RAAF Museum. To place an order, please click here:

On 1 March, 1914, Australia’s first ever military flight took place at Point Cook, Victoria, when Lieutenant Eric Harrison of the Central Flying School lifted off in a Bristol Boxkite, making Point Cook the premier place for Australian military aviation. Over ninety years later, two ex-Royal Australian Air Force officers, Group Captain Ron Gretton AM, and Wing Commander Geoff Matthews, devised a plan to build a replica of the Boxkite for the Royal Australian Air Force Museum to display for the Centenary in 2014. They called it ‘Project 2014’.

 This book recounts the firsthand story by the builders of how the replica Boxkite was conceived, designed, built and finally, after seven years, successfully flown. Also included is the first flight’s ‘view from the pilot’s seat’. The finished replica Boxkite was donated to the Royal Australian Air Force Museum at Point Cook, and in 2014 it will be the centrepiece of the Royal Australian Air Force Centenary of Military Aviation airshow (CMA14) being held on 1–2 March, celebrating Australia’s first military flight, right where it all began.

 New research sheds light on myths about the Boxkite, little-known news accounts and period advertising, rare historic photographs and plans. Modern material includes exclusive images gathered with privileged access and accounts from all the key project participants. 80 pages, extensively illustrated throughout with colour and period black and white images. It is a limited edition softback, gatefold card cover.

 The authors

Group Captain Ron Gretton AM RAAF (Retired) joined the RAAF in 1958 and served as an

Instrument Fitter and Aeronautical Engineering Officer, retiring in 1997. Since 1980, he has been involved in voluntary aircraft restoration work at the RAAF

Museum, Point Cook. As Project Manager for Project 2014, Group Captain Gretton was one of the two people who brought the replica Bristol Boxkite to completion. Here he recounts the history of the original Boxkite aircraft at Point Cook.

Wing Commander Geoff Matthews RAAF (Retired) graduated as a ground Radio Technician in 1952 and retired in 1986 after 37 years of RAAF service. He joined Group Captain Gretton on the Supermarine Walrus project at the RAAF Museum. Responsible for the design and construction of the Project 2014 Boxkite, Wing Commander Matthews recounts and extensively illustrates the story of the making of this unique, airworthy replica.

 James Kightly has over 30 years’ experience writing and reporting on vintage aviation worldwide. Published in Europe, the UK, USA, Canada as well as Australia, he is a volunteer at the RAAF Museum, and has worked with the Project 2014 principals on research and publications since Project 2014’s start.

 If you would like a copy, please email and we will shortly contact you with the book details. We will not pass on or use your e-mail after that.

 ISBN 978-0-646-91606-4

80 pages, 240mm x 340mm gatefold card cover.

Release date: 1 March 2014

Recommended retail price: Aus$ 34.95