Dear Beagle Editor,
Your recent story on Rex Airlines brought to mind a conversation some years back, with John Preddey, (former CEO of Preddey's Australian Lock Company) - his brother, Brian, invented the internationally renowned Bi-Lock - used in such buildings as the Opera House & Bank of America.
John mentioned to me a couple of years back - his eldest grandson, Alex, had gained his pilot's licence and how excited the family were. Alex is now a Captain, and 'flies the very plane you have been showing on The Beagle'!
It apparently requires ten years to advance to a Captain's standard - "Alex has achieved this standard after only 5 years, and at just 25 years of age"!
If I've got the 'genesis' right - Alex is the great,great,great, grandson of convict,George Preddey - who escaped the hangman's noose for 'stealing a knife & fork' and arrived in the Colony in 1827 to serve out his five year sentence. Among George's contributions to Australia on acquiring his freedom, was to set up a wharf & timber mill supply yard at Darling Harbour and thru which much of our local hardwood was processed.
However, by far his greatest endowment, must surely to have been his twelve children, and the nine or so survivors of the that family - some of whom came our way to develop a variety of business interests;
George's son,William - Built Narooma's first steam driven sawmill and his son, Arthur Halley - built timber mills at Brice's Bay, Potato Point, South Head, Moruya - as well as a host of other 'concerns' such as Preddey's Amuzu Cinema - now Silly Willys. (his story has been told previously on The Beagle)
I believe Alex to be a great, great grandson to Arthur Halley Preddey - who, among his many 'aliases', ran a hire car business in the 1920's and 30's. Arthur was known to have collected Moruya quarry Master, John Gilmore, from his ship at the quarry wharf in 1924. Preddey's hire car was often seen on the then 'tracks' into Bergalia & Tuross.
I think it exciting - even 'sensational' - that we have now a member of this undoubted pioneering family, flying the most modern of aircraft in the skies above - where nearly a century ago- (probably what was considered the latest automobile of the time) rattled along corrigated 'roads' - 'with a grand parent of the Rex aircraft's pilot' - hanging onto the car's steering wheel!
With a critical shortage of aircraft pilots world wide - pilots with such calibre as Alex Preddey, are being 'snapped up by major airlines. Lets hope Rex aviation get their respective entitlements from the government and the future of Alex is secure here.
On the subject of the Royal Marriage and marriages in general - I believe Alex is marrying a Qantas hostess in October - I think the Preddey family deserve to be treated somewhat with a 'bit of royalty' - Best of luck for the future for you & your bride Alex.