back to places

Day 10: 22 December: Cloncurry to Longreach: (480 km)

From the Barcaldine Western Advocate: A large proportion of the population came to see the early takeoff (6 50 am). The 300 mile, 480 km flight to Longreach took 4 hours 40 minutes.

Flying low over the railway line, and over the heads of the crowd, which had been wisely kept back from the actual landing place by a rope barrier, the distinguished pilot made a perfect landing almost right on the calico T which had been previously laid down, under instructions received from the Defence Department.

There are photographs of the aircraft at ‘Portland Downs’ station, shown by Google Earth as being near Isisford, which is about 60 k south of Longreach. The exact location of the landing area is not readily available and might be clarified during the commemorations.

The airmen were warmly welcomed and congratulated by the Chairman of the Shire of Longreach, Mr R H Edkins, and the citizens admired the Vimy and its world-famous crew. They noted that the seals on parts of the aircraft were still unbroken: ‘with the exception of a bandaged propeller, the plane appears to be in perfect order’.

Business people, councilors and representatives of various public bodies held a welcoming dinner at the Imperial Hotel, and in the evening a big public meeting was held in the Shire Hall. Ross spoke about the journey, giving full credit to mechanics Bennett and Shiers. The audience demanded a speech from all the other airmen. They were presented with ‘handsome cigarette cases, suitably inscribed: as mementos of their call at Longreach, and in responding Ross said that from the time they had landed at Darwin they had been hearing of Longreach hospitality, and had been urged, by Captain Wrigley and others, to be sure and make a landing there. They were pleased to find that all the good things said had been more than realised and thanked the people heartily for their reception.

The local newspaper reported: ‘On Tuesday, 23rd at 7.30 am, before a great crowd, some of whom had come over 70 miles to see the plane, the aviators made a splendid start for Barcaldine, Blackall, and Charleville, and as the machine soared higher, and higher in the sky, the rays of the morning sun caught it and transfigured it into a silvery vision, so beautiful that it will remain as a lasting memory with those who were privileged to see it’.

Press report from Longreach