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Image Building the Boomerang interceptor fighter using lend-lease components, c1943

TLF ID M008810

This is a black-and-white photograph showing five men building two Boomerang fighters at the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation's factory at Fishermans Bend in Melbourne. The photograph is in the collection of the US Library of Congress and its caption reads in part: 'High production rate of Australian interceptor aircraft is maintained by the steady inflow of lend-lease Whitney twin row engines. This fast climbing, hard hitting addition to the Allied air strength [...] includes in its structure Australian steel, Canadian aluminum and American engines'.




Educational details

Educational value
  • This photograph is a useful primary source for studies of modern history in years 11-12 and for the World War II depth study in year 10 history that calls for an examination of significant events in the course of the war. The introduction of the lend-lease aid program in March 1941 at a time when the USA had not yet entered the war was one such event. Lend-lease made the USA's huge industrial and agricultural capacity available to the allied cause.
  • Under the terms of lend-lease, the USA provided equipment, armaments and services to nations allied in the war against Germany, Italy and Japan. Lend-lease did not involve money payments to the USA, then or later. Lend-lease aid was to be used in support of the war effort, and afterwards either it was to be returned or a similar amount of aid was to be made available to the USA. Aid to Australia began in October 1941 and at the end of 1945 was valued at more than $1.4 billion.
  • The single-seat Boomerang is the only fully Australian designed and built fighter aircraft ever produced. Its performance as an interceptor fighter in combat was barely satisfactory but it came into its own in two important operational areas: when it led other aircraft into attack, identifying and marking the targets; and when it provided low-level close support to the infantry, bombing and strafing the enemy and spotting artillery.
  • The Boomerang was powered by a US Pratt and Whitney Twin Wasp engine, but it is unlikely that the engines were lend-lease imports as the caption says. Engine components such as superchargers had probably been supplied through lend-lease but the engines themselves were manufactured under licence in Sydney. Nonetheless the 248 Boomerangs built were impressive examples of allied cooperation.
Learning area
  • History

Other details

Contributors
  • Contributor
  • Name: The Library of Congress
  • Organization: The Library of Congress
  • Description: content provider
  • Address: UNITED STATES
  • URL: http://www.loc.gov/
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL: www.esa.edu.au
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
Rights
  • © Commonwealth of Australia, 2011, except where indicated otherwise. You may copy, communicate and modify this material for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.