Lindsay Peet (1939-2012)

AMMPT member Lindsay Peet recently had the honour of being made a Fellow of The Library Board of Western Australia, one of only 18 persons to receive this award since it was instituted in 1984. At a gathering at the State Library of WA, which included our new Regional Branch President, Ross McDonald, the Library Board Chairman, Professor Matthew Allen, said that Lindsay was “a great friend, generous supporter and contributor to the State’s heritage collections, and a passionate advocate” for the conservation.

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Lindsay Peet

Lindsay’s advocacy and financial support played a part in persuading Lotterywest to provide a $3,000,000 grand in 2005 for the Historic Records Rescue Consortium (HRRC) to preserve newspapers, photographic negatives, and movie films held in the J.S. Battye Library of West Australians History and in the State Film Archives.

Although Lindsay preferred to be known as a professional historian specialising in the military and aviation history of WA, he had a long background in real estate and had already assisted AMMPT in its quest for new premises, suggesting several heritage listed sites. Cyril Peet, Lindsay’s father, was an avid movie photographer, starting with Standard 8 in 1936 then switching to 16mm in 1949 until 1981. Lindsay and his sisters did evaluate their father’s extensive film archive including material taken in WA overseas.

Lindsay was also the historian for a gripping 87 minutes documentary drama, Shady Lady, which tells the story of an American B-24 Liberator heavy bomber. Shady Lady, which set out from Darwin in August 1943 for what was the longest distance land-based bombing raid to that time in the War. The targets were the Japanese-held oil refineries and port of Balikpapan in Borneo. Although this night attack was a complete surprise to the Japanese, they quickly put up an intense anti-aircraft barrage, however Shady Lady was unscathed and successfully bombed one of the petroleum storage facilities. it then survived several extremely violent tropical storms, encountered more Japanese anti-aircraft fire over Timor, followed by a fierce aerial battle with two Zero fighters over the Timor Sea. After 16 and a half hours in the air, well off course and almost out of fuel, Shady Lady force landed next morning on a coastal salt pan on the remote Anjo Peninsula in the northern Kimberley region of WA.

Based on Lindsay’s research dissertation submitted at Curtin University in 1995, the documentary has been produced by Fact Not Fiction Films Ltd of West Sussex, UK. It was filmed in WA, Britain, and the USA, and for its aerial sequences, uses the only B-24 currently flying in the world. Shady Lady had a preliminary industry showed at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2012.

Lindsay is appreciated for his many contributions to WA’s history and cultural heritage.