Intrepid adventurer's aviation museum an auction marvel

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 26th April, 2016

Intrepid adventurer John Fisher would have been right at home in earlier times when men and women took on almost insurmountable challenges and pushed the boundaries of human endeavour in a quest to explore unknown worlds.

Instead this entrepreneur, pilot, philanthropist and avid aviation collector undertook extreme exploits in a modern day environment to satisfy his desire for an adrenalin rush.

His aviation collection will be auctioned from noon Sunday April 30 at Maryborough Café Gallery, Maryborough Railway Station in Station Street, Maryborough Victoria.

A senior partner in Australia’s largest accounting firm Coopers Lybrand (later Pricewaterhouse Coopers), Fisher had only been flying for four years when in 1996 he took on his greatest achievement – an epic solo journey in a Tiger Moth from London to Sydney.

It was no mean feat to fly a 55-year-old wood and canvas structure more than 19,000 kilometres singlehandedly across three continents, particularly when he was such a comparative novice.

During his 42-day journey, Fisher rewrote the Book of Aviation Records and set 10 new records.

After he touched down in Australia, Fisher’s name was inscribed alongside those of Amy Johnson and Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith on Aviation’s Stone of Fame in Darwin.

The journey was undertaken to raise funds for Canteen (the Australian Teenage Cancer Society) and in memory of Bob “Woolly” Copas and Lisa “Lace” Maxwell – who were both tragically killed near Maitland New South Wales when their Tiger Moth nosedived to the ground shortly after take-off during a fund-raising demonstration for the charity.

Several years later, Fisher’s sense of adventure led to another daring exploit – competing in the London to Sydney Marathon Car Rally in his 911 Porsche.

Other challenges included seven Sydney-Hobart yacht races, climbing and trekking in New Zealand, Nepal, Pakistan and India – and rafting Tasmania’s Franklin River.

Fisher also was a passionate philanthropist and advocate for child welfare both in Australia and overseas.

He supported the Youth Council, UNICEF and similar foundations in Asia and was a founding member of the Hoc Mai Foundation, which delivers medical and education services in Vietnam.

In 2010, Fisher established the Old Aviators Flying Museum at Maryborough Aerodrome, focusing on the classic era of aviation from 1910 to 1950 with an emphasis on aircraft built by the British aviation icon Geoffrey de Havilland and encompassing a unique collection of aviation memorabilia.

Two years later, he and passenger David Oxley were tragically killed when the power in his Tiger Moth failed during take-off from Maryborough Aerodrome.

Highlights in this auction include a de Havilland Vampire DH 100 FB 9, a Chipmunk DHC-1, Tiger Moth and Jackaroo restoration Projects, an Auster J5G Autocar, Gipsy engines and parts, a miniature Victoria Cross, a Bofors 40mm Anti-Aircraft Gun, a Supermarine Spitfire MKV Instrument Panel, a Kamikaze knife and headband and a rare collection of flying helmets, uniforms, posters, print and wartime correspondence, and a significant aviation library.

Proceeds from the sale of a framed poster produced by John Fisher from a Bernie Walsh painting commemorating his 1996 record-breaking solo flight will go to Canteen.

Mossgreen chief executive officer Paul Sumner said the auction and viewing offered an amazing opportunity for enthusiasts and the general public to look inside the world of a very singular man who never stopped challenging himself throughout his life.

Viewing at Maryborough Airport Leviathan Road, Maryborough. 

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