The Chillagoe Spitfires, Australia

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The Chillagoe Spitfires, Australia

Since adding the story about the rumoured existence of Spitfire fighter aircraft hidden somewhere in a mine shaft in Australia to the Aviation Archaeology Folklore and Urban Legends page, I have had a few emails from people saying that they had heard the legend or asking if I had any further information about the story.

No-one ever contacted us giving a possible location for the aircraft until now (I have withheld this correspondents' full name, phone number, the name of the mining company he works for etc. to protect his privacy):


I was just cruising your website and came across the story of Spitfire planes reportedly buried in a mine in Australia. I worked in the mining game in Australia for many years before moving here to Indonesia and the only other time I ever heard a similar story was when I was working in a mine called Red Dome near Chillagoe which is west of Cairns in North Queensland.

This area has been mined for precious metals and minerals for many, many years as far back as the 19th century and is littered with old shafts and workings. It is also famous for large cave formations, some yet to be fully explored. Like most outback towns it was full of 'old time' characters and one of them told me (admittedly in the pub) a story about Spitfires stored in a cave.

He said that they were crated up and that he had actually seen them in the 50's. He said that the cave where he thought they were had suffered major cave in damage and that it would need extensive and expensive investigation if only someone would come up with the money!!

He went on to say that they had been delivered to a cattle station called 'Darwin Waters' near Chillagoe by mistake as they should have actually been delivered to Darwin in the Northern Territory which was then still threatened by the Japanese.

How they were delivered I don't know (surely the RAAF back then didn't use the local mail service!). He went on to say that he would 'retire as a millionaire' if he could only get someone to put up the money . As I said, the area is littered with caves and old shafts and some of the systems are very big.

This took place back in the mid 1990's and at the time I treated it with a pinch of salt as old mining towns are full of bulls..t artists but after seeing your website, who knows.......?



The old timer could have been winding Keith up about the Spitfires, having heard the tale himself, but this is the first lead we have had about the Spitfires in a mine shaft story, so we will be trying to follow this up.

One interesting point to note is that Chillagoe does have an active caving club, wouldn't the members of the club have found the Spitfires already? I'm going to drop them an email to see if they have heard the story or if they have ever found anything that might support the old timers story.

Watch this space...

See also

Famous Treasures Lost & Found
Famous Treasure Finds in the United Kingdom
Famous Treasure Wrecks, Spanish Galleons
Pirate Treasure - Hidden Plunder
Treasure Maps, Codes & Ciphers
Lost Gold & Silver Mines, Caves & Tunnels
Nazi Gold - The Spoils of War
The Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau
Lost Biblical Treasures
The Treasure Hunters
Digging For Relics of War
Danger!!! - A Serious Warning!!!
Digging For Battlefield Relics
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My Military Metal Detecting Finds
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Fakes, Frauds and Forgeries - Dangers In Coin and Artefact Collecting