Streets Steeped in History

Korean War Verteran, Mr Ronald Guthrie watches an original Wirraway plane flyover.

Have you ever wondered where the inspiration behind your street name or suburb came from? Well, at Wirraway, there are special stories down every street and around each corner.

Wirraway at Thornton was inspired by aviation and its significance to the lower Hunter region. The streets are steeped in history, named after fighter pilots of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Next time your walking through Wirraway Park, take a moment to find the plaque inscribed with the names of the 19 brave men who inspired each of the streets in Wirraway.

One of the men on the plaque, Ronald Guthrie, still lives in the area and helped officially open Wirraway Park. Mr Guthrie was a tail-end Charlie (rear gunner in a bomber) during the Korean War. He flew 14 combat sorties prior to his last on 29 August 1951. On that day, Mr Guthrie was shot down over North Korea and forced to eject from his plane at 38,000 feet—the fastest and highest bailout successfully attempted at the time.

The decent took 28 minutes, however he was captured when he landed. He spent the next two years as a Prisoner of War, before being released in 1953.

The wider community, Wirraway, was named in honour of the CAC Wirraway aircraft, Wirraway represents independence and freedom. It also honours the contribution of aviation throughout history.

The Wirraway plane saw active service during the Second World War, with the No. 4 Operational Training Unit formed with Wirraways at the nearby RAAF Base Williamtown in 1942.

The name remembers a time when aviation was exciting and adventurous—the same sentiments and emotions will be shared by inspired families, embarking on their own adventures as they move to Wirraway.

To find out more about your street download our Streets Steeped in History booklet today.


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