Guide to the Papers of Frank Korbl [MSS 095]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Frank Korbl
Manuscript Number MSS 095
Last Updated August 2021
Extent 1.28 m (13 boxes + 1 artwork)
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract This collection comprises fifty scrapbooks covering the years of Korbl's service with the Royal Australian Air Force and Air Office, 1965 to 2001, five monographs and one artwork.

Collection Subject Type


Scope and Content

The collection comprises fifty scrapbooks compiled by Frank Korbl, MBE and his wife Stella, on various topics and includes newspaper cuttings, brochures, invitations, letters, maps, menus, newsletters, photographs, postcards, programs, receipts, souvenirs, together with an alphabetical index; five monographs; and one oil painting by Korbl entitled No 9 Squadron Helicopters over Vung Tau.

Date Range of Content


Biographical Note

Frank Korbl, MBE was born in Vienna, Austria on 25 November 1922, and emigrated to Australia in 1956. He completed accountancy studies and later received a BA from the University of Queensland in 1982, with majors in Modern History and Government. He was awarded an MBE in 1977 for outstanding dedication and loyalty.

During World War II Korbl served in the German Luftwaffe, KG 53 Legion Condor, as a signaller and rear gunner in Heinkel He 111 aircraft. He was a prisoner of war from May to November 1945. After discharge he worked for ten years with the Army, Navy and the NAAFI elements of the British Occupation Forces in Germany and Austria.

After arriving in Australia in 1956, Korbl was employed on the staff of the Bonegilla Migrant Centre in Victoria; then at the investment firm J.B. Were & Son in Melbourne. He graduated from Point Cook and served in the Equipment Branch of the Royal Australian Air Force in 1965, serving at Base Squadron East Sale, Base Squadron Townsville, No 9 (Helicopter) Squadron at Vung Tau, Vietnam, Headquarters Operational Command Unit, Glenbrook and Base Squadron, Richmond, NSW, before retiring in 1979 with the rank of Squadron Leader.

Moving to Canberra, he commenced work with the Australian Public Service in 1979 in the DGAW-AF Branch of Air Force Office, where he was initially employed in the Works Programming area. Later he transferred to other work in the Policy section, producing the 'RAAF facilities manual' and lecturing at Facilities Management Training Courses. At the time of his retirement in 1987 he was Acting Director Works Policy. Shortly afterwards he accepted an offer to work as consultant with the DGF-N Branch at Navy Office.

During his earlier days in Austria, Korbl studied drawing and watercolours with Professor Matejka-Felden at the Künstlerische Volkshochschule (People's Art School) in Vienna. He is self-taught in oils, concentrating on landscapes and flower studies. He has received two awards for his artwork including First Prize in Landscape, Wanniassa Primary School (1989) and First Prize in Oils, Mount Rogers Community School (1995). Examples of his art work have found purchases in countries all over the world.

His publications include:
Selected essays on spiritualism (2000)
Ex-Luftwaffe MBE (2002)
From Luftwaffe to RAAF : an extraordinary Australian migrant story (2006)
Born to travel : sixty years in thirty countries (2007).

Frank Korbl died in Toorak, Melbourne, Victoria on 12 April 2008.

Information from Frank Korbl
Obituary Canberra times 'Officer's distinguished service from Luftwaffe to the RAAF', Thursday 8 May 2008, p. 12


Administrative Information


Access and Copying Conditions

Access: Check with Curator

This collection contains a variety of copyright material. Copyright is held by the creator of each item. Specific conditions for this collection are listed below. If no conditions are stipulated then the standard terms of the Copyright Act apply for published and unpublished items. Digitised material from manuscript collections is provided to clients by UNSW Canberra in good faith for private study and research only, and may not be published or re-purposed without the express and written permission of the individual legal holder of that copyright. Refer also to the UNSW copyright, disclaimer and takedown policy. 

Copying: Check with Curator

Preferred Citation

Papers of Frank Korbl, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 095, Box [Number], Folder [Number].


The collection was acquired from Frank Korbl, MBE in one consignment in November 2002.

Separated Material

This collection originally included a number of publications, listed below. These works have been catalogued separately, and added to the Library's main collection.

Grenville, Kenneth. The saving of South Vietnam. Sydney: Alpha Books, 1972.

Davy, M. J. Bernard. Air power and civilization. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1941.

Craig, Gordon A. The battle of Königgrätz. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1965.

Manual of air force law. Melbourne: Government Printer, 1933.

Arrival of the first RAAF P3C Update II Orion at RAAF Base Edinburgh in the presence of The Honourable D. J. Killen, MP, Minister for Defence. Edinburgh: No. 92 Wing Royal Australian Air Force, 1978.

Natural Disasters Organisation Proceedings of the Civil Defence Symposium Canberra: Dept. of Defence, Natural Disasters Organisation, 1987.

Further papers of Frank Korbl are held by the Australian War Memorial, at PR00253 Frank Korbl Album, 1970-1971.


Subject Keywords



Air pilots, Vietnam War 1961-1975

Personal Names

Frank Korbl 1922-2008

Corporate Names

Royal Australian Air Force, Luftwaffe


Air Force officers, Air Force personnel


Container List


Box 1

Folder 1-4
Computer typescript alphabetical index and computer disc for the scrapbooks, 1965-2001; four scrapbooks, June 1965 - April 1970


Box 2

Folder 5-7
Three scrapbooks, including a photocopy of one scrapbook relating to service in Vietnam as Squadron Equipment Officer with 9 Squadron RAAF during 1970-1971, 1970 - December 1974


Box 3

Folder 8-13
Six scrapbooks, December 1974 - December 1977


Box 4

Folder 14-18
Five scrapbooks, January 1978 - November 1980


Box 5

Folder 19-23
Five scrapbooks, May 1980 - November 1982


Box 6

Folder 24-28
Five scrapbooks, October 1982 - December 1984


Box 7

Folder 29-33
Five scrapbooks, January 1985 - November 1987


Box 8

Folder 34-37
Four scrapbooks, November 1987 - July 1989


Box 9

Folder 38-39
Two scrapbooks, July 1989 - December 1991


Box 10

Folder 40-42
Three scrapbooks, December 1991 - December 1992, November 1993 - December 1993


Box 11

Folder 43-47
Five scrapbooks, January 1994 - February 1997


Box 12

Folder 48-49
Two scrapbooks, March 1997 - March 2001


Box 13

Folio 50-53
One scrapbook, January - October 1993; assorted newspapers and news clippings, copy of PACEX mail order catalog, 1969-1970 (1969); computer typescript entitled 'NAAFI, SSAFA, ASCO and PX', 1969-2002


Othertype 14

Othertype 54
Oil painting entitled No 9 Squadron Helicopters over Vung Tau, by Frank Korbl (December 2001)

The Squadron celebrating 4,000 flying hours in-country and farewelling the outgoing CO Wg Cdr. R.W. Hibben, with a formation flight over the Phuoc Tui Province on 9th May 1970, trailing smoke over the city of Vung Tau