Nowra’s iconic Iroquois 894 known as the ‘Chopper on a Stick’ was taken down by the Royal Australian Navy on September 8 during work on the Nowra bridge upgrade.
Today Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley indicated it could be grounded for good.
In August 2023 Defence said, “In order to return Iroquois 894 to an appropriate representational state and ensure its ongoing ability to be displayed in its current manner, it will be removed from its mount for inspection and renovation at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at HMAS Albatross.“
Defence said, “The timeline for re-installation will not be known until technicians have the opportunity to conduct the inspection.”
That timeline is now less clear and there is uncertainty whether the Nowra landmark will be returned and remounted.
Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley, when questioned said, “No-one today would say that the helicopter was a good looking piece of infrastructure that we could all be proud of, so the Navy has taken that piece of infrastructure away and they are doing their structural assessments.
“At this point it’s unknown whether the ‘Chopper on a Stick will return.”
Mayor Findley said, ” What we have absolutely had the discussion with Navy about is to get a suitable memorial which also reflects what’s been going on at HMAS Albatross and at HMAS Creswell.”
Members of the Royal Australian Navy flew several variants of this aircraft in both “gunship” and “utility” configurations as part of the RAN Helicopter Flight Vietnam and with 9 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force.