Adastra Aerial Survey Collection
Adastra Airways began in 1930 as a flying school at Mascot Aerodrome, now the site of Sydney (Kingsford Smith) International Airport. During the thirties, the company operated a regular airline service between Sydney and Bega on the New South Wales South Coast. Also during the thirties, Adastra pioneered civilian aerial photographic survey and this became their principal activity with the discontinuation of the airline service in 1940.

Despite having survived the great depression of the thirties, it was financial difficulties which eventually claimed this great pioneering company and a much emaciated Adastra closed its doors in 1976.


About the Founder of Adastra Airways, Frank Follett

In 1930 Follett founded Adastra Airways Pty Ltd which specialized in aerial surveying. In 1939, aware of the enormous potential in Australia and the lag in Australia's aerial mapping programme, he studied the latest techniques in England, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany, arriving home just before the outbreak of World War II. After the war the firm expanded. By 1949 it had the most sophisticated stereo-plotting equipment in Australia and received large government contracts including an 8000-sq. mile (21,000 km²) survey of the entire Darling River.

Quiet, retiring and somewhat dour, Follett played a leading part in the development of aerial surveying and photogrammetry. His outside interests included tennis, boating, growing orchids and Legacy. He was a member of the Imperial Service Club of New South Wales and of the Royal Society of Arts, London. In 1935 he received the silver medal of the Royal Humane and Shipwreck Society.

Follett died of heart disease at the wheel of his car outside his Vaucluse home on 25 October 1950 and was cremated with Presbyterian forms. He was survived by his wife; a daughter had predeceased him.

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