The Chillagoe Spitfires, Australia
Since adding the story about the rumoured existence of Spitfire fighter
aircraft hidden somewhere in a mine shaft in Australia to the
Folklore and Urban Legends page, I have had a few emails from people saying
that they had heard the legend or asking if I had any further information about
No-one ever contacted us giving a possible location for the aircraft until
now (I have withheld this correspondents' full name, phone number, the name of
the mining company he works for etc. to protect his privacy):
I was just cruising your website and
came across the story of Spitfire planes reportedly buried
in a mine in Australia. I worked in the mining game in
Australia for many years before moving here to Indonesia and
the only other time I ever heard a similar story was when I
was working in a mine called Red Dome near Chillagoe which
is west of Cairns in North Queensland.
This area has been
mined for precious metals and minerals for many, many years
as far back as the 19th century and is littered with old
shafts and workings. It is also famous for large cave
formations, some yet to be fully explored. Like most outback
towns it was full of 'old time' characters and one of them told me (admittedly in the
pub) a story about Spitfires stored in a cave.
He said that
they were crated up and that he had actually seen them in
the 50's. He said that the cave where he thought they were
had suffered major cave in damage and that it would need
extensive and expensive investigation if only someone would
come up with the money!!
He went on to say that they had
been delivered to a cattle station called 'Darwin Waters'
near Chillagoe by mistake as they should have actually been
delivered to Darwin in the Northern Territory which was then
still threatened by the Japanese.
How they were delivered I
don't know (surely the RAAF back then didn't use the local
mail service!). He went on to say that he would 'retire as a
millionaire' if he could only get someone to put up the
money . As I said, the area is littered with caves and old
shafts and some of the systems are very big.
This took place back in the mid 1990's and at the time I
treated it with a pinch of salt as old mining towns are full
of bulls..t artists but after seeing your website, who
The old timer could have been winding Keith up about the
Spitfires, having heard the tale himself, but this is the
first lead we have had about the Spitfires in a mine shaft
story, so we will be trying to follow this up.
One interesting point to note is that
Chillagoe does have an active
caving club, wouldn't the members of the club have found the Spitfires
already? I'm going to drop them an email to see if they have heard the story or
if they have ever found anything that might support the old timers story.
Watch this space...