RAAF B.20 - A84-201
GAF A84-201 - Gate Guard, RAAF Amberly (Photo : Richard Hitchins)

Australia's first home-built Canberra. Built by the Government Aircraft Factory (GAF) at Avalon, the Mk20 first flew on 29 May 1953 and was delivered to the RAAF in the August of that year.

Australian built Canberras were initially fiited with Avon Mk1 engines (as the RAF's B.2s). These Avons were fitted to A84-201 to A84-227. The subsequent Mk20s. A84-228 to A84-248, were fitted with the more powerful Avon Mk109 engines - the same Avons used in the RAF's B.6 and B(I)8 Canberras.

A84-201 was converted to a Mk21 trainer, dual-control, and first flew in this configuration on 17 July 1958. Because of its early conversion to a Mk21, this Canberra was not retrofitted with the integral wing tanks that were a feature of the GAF Canberras from A84-224 onwards. It did however, in common with all GAF built Canberras have the pitot tube relocated from the centre of the nose glazing to a point below the nose. [ This feature is not readily apparent in Richard's photo, and there is a suspicious bulge on the starboard side of the nose glazing - so maybe someone can confirm this.]

As Richard's photo shows, this historic Australian Canberra has been well preserved and is elegantly presented as the Gate Guard at RAAF Amberly, Queensland.

Richard Hitchins is the Founder of the Queensland Air Museum, Coloundar Aerodrome, Brisbane.