It would be easy to believe that this cemetery is the resting place of pilots and passengers involved in fatal accidents flying in or out of Archerfield. The dates however tell a different story. The cemetery was consecrated in 1859 with the burial of Volney Grenier who fell from a horse at the age of 16 while fox hunting on a nearby farm. Archerfield Airport opened 70 years later in 1929.
According to the ATSB report, the accident happened while performing a wing-walking stunt at the Luskintyre airfield in the Hunter Valley in NSW.
Because of the extra drag caused by the wing-walking frame bolted onto the wings, the pilot had developed a take-off technique that would give him a decent climb rate despite the added drag. Unfortunately, this involved climbing at a speed very close to the stalling speed of the aircraft.
According to the investigation report, the engine failed soon after take-off because of a problem with the carburetor needle. The problem had already been identified on similar airplanes in other countries, but had not resulted in an Airworthiness Directive in Australia. The pilot tried to perform a flat turn to get back to the runway by kicking the rudder. This resulted in a stall and spin which killed both occupants.
I wonder how many of the local pilots take the time to visit this place. It really is less than a couple hundred meters from many of the local flying training organisations. I'm glad I did.