How a Spitfire plane revived one man’s interest in farming.

Story By Lucy Knight

A hangar at the end of a country airfield in southern Queensland is bustling as a final layer of camouflage paint is completed on a replica Spitfire plane. On the left-hand side of the plane, stencillers carefully emblazon the words ‘Bill’s dream’, summing up an epic three-year project for north-west New South Wales farmer Bill Buchanan. It has absorbed close to 3000 man-hours but Bill is smitten with the result. At 71 he is planning to fly his 90 percent replica Spitfire around Australia, but not before he lands it on the strip at his family property, Bungle Gully, near the famed racing village of Come By Chance on the plains between Coonamble and Walgett, NSW.
The enormous accomplishment of building a plane is understood by just a few in Australia. Like well-meaning New Year’s resolutions, most dreams to build planes never materialise. Bill was worried that if he built the plane at home he would get sick of it, so he chose a hangar at Boonah, south of Brisbane, more than seven hours’ drive to the north, to make sure he got the job finished.

This story excerpt is from Issue #100

Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2015