Bob Hope's Unexpected Landing

The 14th August 1944 is a memorable day in Laurieton’s history for it was on this day that a Catalina Flying Boat with a group of American entertainers on board encountered mechanical problems and landed unexpectedly on the Camden Haven River opposite the Dunbogan Boatshed.


Bob Hope’s plane forced to crash-land in Australia: New York Times 15 August 1944.

The PBY Catalina ‘Spare Gear’ aground on the eastern end of the sand-spit opposite the Dunbogan Boat Shed. Note the missing propeller.

Bob Hope’s Troupe went to Sydney by road the next day and the Catalina remained for several days until parts could be flown in to make repairs.

Bob Hope loves the Hokey Pokey

The townspeople of Laurieton were that same day the audience for Bob Hope’s premiere Australian performance, in this School of Arts Hall.

“It was a fabulous night, we laughed till tears rolled down our faces. Afterwards we taught Bob and his troupe how to do the Hokey Pokey. Well they all loved it. Jerry Colona and Bob Hope did their best to bring new meaning to the Hokey Pokey.” [Nada J. Molloy [nee Twomey] 2009]

Bob Hope making a phone call from the old Laurieton Post Office to his agent in America about the Hokey Pokey dance he had been taught by the teenage girls of Laurieton the night before.

“He was giving a rendition of this great new dance he had learnt, while swinging on the earpiece of the old style telephone and calling the steps into the mouth piece three feet away while he danced on the verandah floor.” [Nada J. Molloy, 2009]

When Bob Hope got back to America he couldn’t remember the dance’s name, instead calling it the “Hokey Cokey”.

The Hokey Pokey Entertainers

The Bob Hope Troupe. L to R. Bob Hope, Frances, Jerry Colonna, Tony Ramona, Patty Thomas and Barney Dean.


Autographs of the entertainers, Bob Hope, Jerry Colonna, Tony Romano, Barney Dean and Patty Thomas were obtained by Beryl Bonser on the night of the Troupes performance at the School of Arts Hall. 

The Australian £1 and the New Zealand 10/- showing signatures and the places visited during Bob Hope’s tour of the South Pacific.

The notes belonged to Robert (Bob) D. Sheppard, Co-Pilot of the PBY Catalina, and were donated in 2011 by his son Scott Sheppard.


Camden Haven Historical Museum
58 Bold St, Laurieton, NSW 2443
Tel: (61) 0408 113 313
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