HUGO JUNKERS, EARLY GERMAN AERONAUTICAL ENGINEER [GERMANY]
This air mail registered long cover appeared on Ebay and was franked with 3 copies of the 3d green first Australian mail stamp, one 1d green KGV Head and 3 copies of the 2d red KGV Head, postmarked with seven impressions of G.P.O. MELBOURNE/ 3/ 16 JA 31. In addition to the Air Mail vignette, there was an R.6 G.P.O. Melbourne Victoria registration label, as well as interesting advertising matter which read: JUNKERS ALL-METAL AIRCRAFT/ No Wood No Fabric Hangars Not Required/ Australasian Factory Representative/ Major H.J. Berryman/ 26 Lumeah Rd., Caulfield, S.E. 7. It was addressed to Messrs Junkers - Flugzeugwerk A-G/ Dessau/ Germany (Figure 1).
The reverse had the same postmark as on the front, plus 2 copies of 3 REGISTERED 3/ 1-P 16 JA 31/ MELBOURNE, a transit mark of REGISTERED PERTH/ 19 JA 31/ WEST AUSTRALIA and a reception mark of DESSAU/ 16 2 31 6 7/ * 1 n, hardly airmail service, for it took 28 days from Perth to arrive at its destination (Figure 2).
Hugo Junkers was born on February 3,1859, at Rheydt near Monchengladbach on the left bank of the Lower Rhine. Prior to 1910, he made his living from the manufacture of heating appliances, then, at the age of 51, he revealed his secret hobby, aviation. Junkers added an aviation research centre to his bath water-heater factory at Dessau, Germany and published his “Nurflugel-Patent” of his first plane design in 1910 (Figure 3).
The year after World War I broke out, on December 12, 1915, the Junkers Ju-1, with its metal cantilever wings, made its maiden flight amid the general suspicion and alarm of the Allies. By 1918, Junkers, in collaboration with Fokker, had built nearly 400 military aircraft, but from then on he devoted himself solely to passenger aircraft.
From the Junkers F "Anneliese," designed in November, 1918, the F-13 was developed, the first Junkers all-metal low-wing monoplane. This passenger aircraft had four seats in an enclosed cabin. The "Junkers-Flugzeugwerke" was launched in June 1919, and the "Junkers Luftverkehrs A.G." in 1924. By 1925 some 178 Junkers machines had carried about 100,000 people over a total distance of 3,000,000 miles.
That year (1925), the German Government used devious financial means to deprive Junkers of the ownership of his plant, and in 1934 the Nazis took it over completely. A year later, on his 76th birthday (3 Feb 1935), the shy pioneer died at Bayrischzell. Nevertheless, his reputation continued to be linked with the output of the Junkers factory. Even before the advent of WW2 in 1939, the Junkers, Dessau postmarking included the swastika (Figure 4).
Junkers name was also associated with the sensational first east-west crossing of the Atlantic by Hermann Kohl, James Fitzmaurice, and Baron Gunther von Hunefeld, who flew in a Junkers W-33 from Ireland to Labrador on April 12 and 13, 1928.
The relationship of Junkers with Australia started with the discovery of gold in the Bulolo Valley of New Guinea, for planes started to replace native bearers for the movement of supplies. In 1926 C.J. Levien founded Guinea Airlines and Junkers transports were purchased for the flying to Australia of broken down dredge components (Figure 5).
The all metal Junkers with their corrugated fuselages were unlike anything previously seen in Australia, very powerful and with lower maintenance requirements. The only direct reference to Junkers parts being assembled in Australia was a photo showing a white Mayne Nickless truck carrying wings of Junkers aircraft for assembly at Point Cook, Victoria (Figure 6).
Caufield, the address for Major Berryman,a suburb of Melbourne, is east of Port Phillip Bay, whereas Point Cook is west of the Bay, some 25 km away, as the crow flies. To date, he has not been identified, and what the role of the Australasian Factory Representative for Junkers involved has not yet been determined.
What the relationship to the Republique Gabonase (doubtfully any) was, it did not warrant him being honoured on the green 200 Franc stamp and a picture of Hugo Junkers is shown in the photograph (Figures 7 & 8).