New attraction touches down in Coila

TOUCH DOWN: Allan Newhouse (front) flies into Coila with fellow Tuross Head Men's Shed members John Harvey, Wayne Brockman and Coila Auto Centre's Pete Ward.
TOUCH DOWN: Allan Newhouse (front) flies into Coila with fellow Tuross Head Men's Shed members John Harvey, Wayne Brockman and Coila Auto Centre's Pete Ward.

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The stretch of highway between Moruya and Narooma has a new roadside attraction thanks the efforts of the Tuross Head Men’s Shed.

The Coila Auto Centre has long been known for its eye-catching landmarks, with a bright pink aircraft and bikini prawn girl mannequin putting the town on the map with locals and tourists alike.

A striking, red ultralight aircraft is the latest addition to owner Pete Ward’s ever-expanding highway playground.

Mr Ward said the model aircraft had caught the attention of passersby within minutes of it being positioned in its new home last Tuesday.

“I put it out on Tuesday morning and it was no longer than five minutes when I came out, there were kids all over it,” Mr Ward said.

The aircraft was given a new lease on life after it came into the hands of members of the Tuross Head Men’s Shed. John Harvey, of the men’s shed, said it took many days of hard work to transform the plane.

I put it out on Tuesday morning and it was no longer than five minutes when I came out, there were kids all over it.

Pete Ward

“We had to make it safe so kids could get in and out,” Mr Harvey said.

“The hardest part was working out how to use what Pete gave us and dress that up so it still looked like a plane but was solid and easy for him to move in and out.

“We truncated the frame and strengthen the body. We had a wing section, but it would’ve been way too big and too light, so we just did that with ply.

“We dizzied it up and it’s a nice, solid object that kids can get in and out of.”

A steering wheel, propeller and wheels were then added, with a coat of red paint and dragon stencilling bringing the plane to life.

Mr Harvey said the front and tail section were restored from the original plane.

He said the project was a collaborative effort, with close to all shed members playing a part in its construction.

“It was a nice little project and we had a lot of fun putting it together ... it makes the grey matter work,” he said.

Further attractions could soon be on their way, with Mr Ward sharing his plans to install more quirky landmarks.

“I’ve got some ideas for a Cadillac on the roof and a helicopter on the sign at the front – just little things that will give people a giggle and amuse my funny thought processes,” he said.

“I can’t believe the number of people that stop everyday and get a photo.

“I remember going to places as a kids and seeing things like this, so I gather I just haven’t grown up. I’m too old to grow up.”