It’s Yasawa-i-Rara For Andrew Drysdale

Andrew Drysdale now lives in Sydney, Australia but is no stranger to Fiji. Mr Drysdale grew up in Suva. He was firstly a pioneering local aircraft engineer and then eventually
27 May 2021 12:15
It’s Yasawa-i-Rara For Andrew Drysdale
Yasawa -i -Rara at the Northern tip of the Yasawa Group and Andrew Drysdale.

Andrew Drysdale now lives in Sydney, Australia but is no stranger to Fiji.

Mr Drysdale grew up in Suva.

He was firstly a pioneering local aircraft engineer and then eventually successful chief executive officer of the then Air Pacific (now Fiji Airways).

“During my childhood and early teenage years, I grew up in Suva and attended Saint Felix College in Toorak (it’s now called Marist Brothers Primary School) then Marist Brothers High School (MBHS),” he said.

“We lived at Namuka Street in Samabula North next to the Hindu temple. I spent many holidays with a good friend in his village of Ucanivanua in Verata.”

“I’m the eldest of three brothers, Peter (of Lautoka’s Koroi-I-Pita Trust housing project) and John.”

In 1967, Mr Drysdale married Elizabeth (nee Gillmore) from Lami; they have three sons and a daughter with four grandchildren of whom they are very proud.

In 2020, Mr Drysdale authored a book Sketches of Fiji.

The book talks about the transformation of the aviation industry as a business over five decades.

The book (published by Mentor Aviation Services) is a personal account of the role the author, played in rebuilding the national airline, in his capacity as chief executive officer.

“These days we live in a heritage listed home in the culturally diverse Sydney suburb of Chatswood in Australia.”

“My life has been full of travel and I continue to do that.”

“In recent years I have spent time in countries such as Iran, Uzbekistan, and the Caucasus.”

“They are all fascinating countries, and their people are warm and welcoming; very different to the way they are portrayed in the Western media.”

“I’ve been fortunate to have had several careers covering both the technical and business aspects of aviation, tourism in various forms, and more recently university lecturing.”

“And I have had the wonderful experience of working with some truly outstanding people – particularly those in Fiji.”


How Many Places Have You Visited Around Fiji?
I grew up in Suva, lived in Lautoka during the Blue Lagoon years, Nadi as we moved Air Pacific from Suva, and then built a home on the Saweni ridge above Vuda.

I know Coastal Viti Levu of course, but I’ve also walked across the island, and spent many a happy weekend and holidays bushwalking in the interior.

I know Ovalau from the Suva/Levuka Launch race times; Beqa, Kadavu, Gau Island and Bau waters very well from my spearfishing days.

Labasa, Savusavu and Matei from the Fiji Airways days.

And of course, I got to know the Mamanuca and Yawasa groups very well in the eight years I headed Blue Lagoon Cruises.


What Is The One Place In Fiji You Would Take Visitors To, And Why?
Yasawa -i -Rara at the Northern tip of the Yasawa group.

It has the most spectacular bay and when I last visited the village was still classic Bures.

The water is so clear that I have seen the anchor hit the bottom in 60 feet.

The sand on the beach is pristine white and so fine that it’s like talcum powder.

The villagers will tell you that if you get the sand in your hair it will take eight nights of washing to get it out.


What Is Your Favourite Place For Coffee/Pie, And Why?
My eldest son, David’s, boutique coffee shop and bakery at the little village of Huskisson in Jervis Bay on the South coast of New South Wales.

If you get there early in the morning you can take your coffee and walk along the beach to watch the pods of dolphins at play, and in the season the whales swim past.


What Is Your Favourite Backyard Spot, And Why?
My own backyard here in Chatswood in North Sydney.

We live in a wonderful heritage listed home and have a garden that was planted long before we got here.

There are two huge old oak trees to the South and to the East a protected remnant forest of very old Australian Blue and Ironbark gumtrees.

To the West we look to the Blue mountains.

It’s an oasis of quiet just 15 minutes’ walk from the bustling, high rise, cosmopolitan Chatwood shopping and business centre.


What Is One Place In Fiji That Remains On Your Bucket List, And Why?
The Lau Group.

I had the wonderful experience of getting to know the Yawasa Islands before they were developed for Tourism.

My mental picture of the Lau Group is that they are still as I remember the Yasawas.

I hope so.

Lau group of Islands. Source:

Lau group of Islands. Source: content/uploads/2019/01/TravelBoatingLifestyle_Fiji_Lau-422.jpg



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