4th July 1924 – 6th June 1994
Bob Haseldine retired after 42 years in aviation. Bob devoted all his working life to the aviation industry, and was Adelaide Airport Duty Manager for 22 years.
One of Bob's main interests was his spectacular garden at his Adelaide home.
Bob and his wife Pat were keen members of the Begonia and Cacti
Societies and regularly made treks over the border for shows.
Bob was first introduced to aircraft and flying during the Second World War, where he trained and qualified as a pilot with the RAAF. On his discharge in 1945 he joined Guinea Airways and just seven months later transferred to ANA. He moved to Ansett after the ANA purchase in the 1950s.
Bob quipped that he was never one to see the grass grow under his feet.
He moved from the grass strip at Parafield Airport to the then 'new' Adelaide Airport in the mid 1950s and was made Duty Airport Manager, a position he held until his retirement.
It's a position that has seen him responsible for the well being of a seemingly never ending list of pop stars, politicians, Royalty, Governors and other VIPs throughout the years. "The Beatles, Nelson Eddy, Cilla Black, Gough Whitlam, Liberace, Governors-General…… you name them and I've probably had to look after them at some stage," he said.
But there'll be one person Bob remembered most – country singing star Dolly Parton, whom Bob met in his last few days before retirement. "She had to be the nicest of all VIPs that I've looked after in all those years," he said.
The most embarrassing time during Bob's period at Adelaide Airport was "losing" the luggage of Sir Paul Hasluck. "We rarely ever misplaced luggage but whenever it came for the changeover on the Sydney-Perth flights the gremlins took over and it always seemed to be Sir Paul's luggage that went missing," he said. "It was very embarrassing to say the least."
During his 42 years Bob has seen 30 different types of aircraft from Lockheed10s to Boeing 767s, waybill preparations change from pencil and carbon paper to computerised listings and direct ticketing to international airlines.
"Now it's time to put the feet up – more time for the grandchildren and more time to get under the wife's feet," he said just before he retired. Unable to stay away from the airport after his retirement, Bob became tour guide for Federal Airports Corporation, taking many school groups over the International and domestic terminals.
After all who better to explain the workings of the airport!
A poetry tribute from Nanushka
Down at Adelaide Airport
In the sun and wind and rain –
Who was it saw the aircraft out
Then saw them in again?
At Parafield and Gawler
With water to our knees
Whose smiling face was always there
To greet the DC3s?
And when we went to Woomera
Upon the DC4s
Who brought the papers to us –
Then threw them through the door?
And who was there for the DC6,
Smart cap and shiny booted,
Lined up with the hosties
As the skipper saluted?
Who will be remembered
As friend to Pete the cat
And who was master of them all
At waving ping pong bats?
From DC3s to Boeings
He became more mellow and wiser
Until the Ansett powers that be
Made him the Supervisor –
Well what a great career he's had
And what a ball it's been
We're very proud to be his mates
That Robert Haseldine
Reproduced by kind permission of Nan Witcomb