On this day, 10 December 1919, Ross and Keith Smith, Australian aviators, completed the first ever flight from the UK to Australia, arriving in Darwin.
Along with Sergeant James Mallett (Jim) Bennett and Sergeant Wally Shiers, they flew from Hounslow Heath Aerodrome, England, on 12 November 1919 in a Vickers Vimy, eventually landing in Darwin Australia on 10 December, taking less than 28 days, with actual flying time of 135 hours. The four men shared the £10,000 prize money put forward by the Australian government. Australian Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Billy Hughes, impressed by the potential for aviation in Australia, had offered on behalf of the Commonwealth Government a prize of £10,000 for the first Australians to fly an aircraft from England to Australia. The race was to be conducted under the supervision of, and rules drawn up by, the Royal Aero Club. The rules stipulated, inter alia, that the flight had to be conducted within a period of 30 consecutive days and concluded before midnight on 31 December 1920.
Read more The First to Australia
These photographs are from the State Library of New South Wales
Please acknowledge: - Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales and Courtesy Mr Justice Ken Handley