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A life well lived

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Charles daniel pratt


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Charles Daniel Pratt - Quiet Achiever... 

Definitely a 'must-read'

for anyone interested this amazing photographer


Charles Daniel Pratt - A Quiet Achiever

by Kevin O’Reilly

In Aviation Historical Society of Australia newsletter

Volume 29 Number 1, March 2013

(Editor: Neil Follett)

Other Sources:

State Library of Victoria:

Airspy collection of Aerial photographs, Fyansford Series

Charles Daniel Pratt (1892-1968) photographer

National Library of Australia TROVE

Charles Daniel Pratt Geelong Cement Works

Online Cenotaph

Aukland War Memorial Museum

Warbirds Resource Group

WarBird Information Exchange Forum

WW1 Images Charles Daniel Pratt

Note: For all slideshows
          click image to improve detail
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The Pilot

The Photographer

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In the 1920s Charles Pratt combined his military piloting experience

with aerial photography.

The "Airspy" collection features Charles' truly amazing aerial photographs.

His 'Geelong Cement Works' series  is a wonderful record of Fyansford

during an historic period in its history.

For more Airspy photographs see National Library of Australia

Airspy Pilot & Photographer

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An Achiever...

CD Pratt's WW 1 Album.JPG

Charlie Pratt a New Zealander was the eldest of seven children. Prior to the Great War Charles proved to be adept with things mechanical and was the proud owner of a Bradbury motorcycle. A keen shooter and member of the Wellington Volunteers and Territorials Militia, Charles, at the outbreak of war, quickly volunteered for service and it was not long before he found himself in action at Gallipoli. On showing mechanical ability, Charles was classified as an “artificer” and promoted to the rank of corporal. This carried through on his return to Egypt and Palestine where he served in signals as a mounted motorcycle despatch rider. When the Royal Flying Corps were looking for potential flyers in 1917, Charles volunteered and quickly proved he was of above average ability, had a quiet yet determined manner and was a good communicator. He found himself an instructor in short time.

His log book tells us he flew such machines as the Maurice Farman Shorthorn, BE2c and BE2e, Sopwith Pup, B.O.M., Bristol Scout, Bristol Monoplane, Bristol Fighter, Nieuport, SE5a, DH9, Handley Page, AW RE8, DH6 and Avro 504K. He records his hours flown at this time as 1074hrs. 40min. with the only incidents being “Landed RE8 minus on wheel (Broke prop)” and “Landed Avro in low scrub (Broke prop and u/c).”  Source: Aviation Historical Society of Australia Inc. Volume 29 Number 1, March 2013

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To interested readers I commend historian, writer and fellow Charles Pratt enthusiast, Kevin O 'Reilly. In 2016 Kevin published a book, Charles Pratt of Belmont Common


Title Charles Pratt of Belmont Common (280 pages)

By Kevin O'ReillyCharles Daniel Pratt

Foreword Justin Giddings

Self-published Kevin O'Reilly, 2016

ISBN 0646962027, 9780646962023

"This publication is a biographical collection of material concerning the life of pioneer aviator, Charles Pratt, a New Zealander who by a series of chances together with his brothers, commenced a commercial life in Geelong, Victoria, between the two-great wars of the twentieth century. It contains many photographs, may of them taken by Pratt himself, aside from being a professional flying instructor, was also a professional aerial photographer. His legacy to the people of Geelong and Victoria is a large collection of these historical images held by the State Library of Victoria which are accessible to the public. Throughout his life he was known to keep a diary, some of which are reproduced in this book, giving us a glimpse of life in Geelong before World War 2".

From Google Books

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Flyers of Time.jpg

And, finally,

we're back from our holiday...

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And, there’s nothing like a good photo

to rekindle one's interest in blogging.


Obviously cows are slow learners or were they wearing camouflage so

pilots could’t see them.

Friday, 13 March, 1936, was definitely not a good day for this cow on the Belmont Common.










Once is an accident. Twice is a coincidence. Thrice is carelessness.


Peter Begg in his 2014 Geelong Advertiser article Belmont biplane cow crash witness unearthed refers to a second similar fateful event a decade later. In the article 76 year-old Jack Burns described the accident that occurred on Belmont Common; a location established and used by brothers Charles and Percy Pratt as an aerodrome from early 1920s to the 1960s.


I cannot believe Charles Pratt was involved in either of these incidents. This aerial photograph, c.1926, by Charles shows his aerodrome and strip (lower LHS)







Belmont Common, Victoria 13 March 1936 a
This aerial photograph, c.1926, taken by

The red arrows pinpoint sites of Belmont Hotel (1), ALDI supermarket (2) Belmont Library (3)

(State Library of Victoria)

Peter Begg in a 2013, article Flying high over history

introduces us to a classic Charles Pratt photo of the Geelong waterfront from the early 1920s provided by Aviation historian Kevin O'Reilly, who, describes how Charles Pratt  together with his brother Percy, established a hangar, workshop and airstrip on Belmont Common in the 1920s.





















Mr O'Reilly published Flyers of Time, which includes a lengthy section on Charles Pratt together with a number of aerial photos.

Lesser known is the fact that the Pratt brothers sold a popular low-cost  glider and that in 1937 Percy Pratt made history by completing the first aeroplane-towed glider flight in Australia and also the longest glider flight (from Belmont Common to Melbourne's Albert Park).


The City of Greater Geelong reminds us that “In 1928, 10,000 Geelong residents turned up at the aerodrome to welcome famous Australian aviator Bert Hinkler who had just completed a 16-day England-Australia flight.

At the outbreak of the Second

World War, the government took

over the aerodrome and Pratt's

aircraft, and Pratt, went on to

train Royal Australian Air Force

pilots. The common aerodrome

remained until the early 1950s

Peter Quick's Photos.jpg

Charles Pratt and company at Belmont Common Source: Geelong in Historical Pictures 

Kevin O'Reilly (2).jpg

Just gotta be rarer than hen's teeth... Publications

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Don't forget to enlarge when opened

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