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Day 68: 19 February: Mascot to Richmond

The Mascot / Richmond stage is omitted from the summary of the flight listed in 14.000 Miles. This is probably a simple error caused in the haste of getting the book printed and on sale. Exact time details are not available. Distance is 32 miles, 50 km.

They flew to Richmond after an early morning meeting with the Mayor of Mascot. The Ham Common (Richmond) airfield was the home of the NSW Flying School. This was a special project of the Premier, William Holman, and the aircraft was to have maintenance and repairs there. They were then guests for lunch with the Premier and then at a garden party at Belhaven at Bellevue Hill, given by the President of the British Empire League. Here, among a gathering of dignitaries and war heroes, Wally Shiers married his long-term sweetheart Helena Alford. They had intended delaying the wedding, but the onset of Lent meant that it would have to be delayed until Easter, so a quick ceremony was organised! In the evening the airmen were star guests at the Tivoli theatre. The arrival of the Vimy in Sydney, and related events (including the wedding) were featured in newsreel movies shown at the Haymarket Theatre.

This frenetic social activity continued throughout the week. The airmen were generous with their time. There were many articles hailing the flight as a precursor to wonderful developments in civil and military aviation.

On Saturday 22 February many people went to Richmond, hoping to see the Vimy fly, but there was some form of engine problem and the aircraft did not fly.

The NSW State Aviation School, July 21, 1916 on what is now the RAAF Base.  Timber for the western annexe of the hangar still lies stacked on the ground, as the first Curtis 'Jenny' trainer aircraft is checked out by Chief Instructor Billy Stutt (nearest camera) and the workers who had assembled and rigged the airframe.  Hurried patches in the aerodrome surface indicate the pace of preparations towards the official opening of the School on August 28, 1916. Picture: www.3squadron.org.au.  Charter Family Collection

The NSW State Aviation School, July 21, 1916 on what is now the RAAF Base. Timber for the western annexe of the hangar still lies stacked on the ground, as the first Curtis 'Jenny' trainer aircraft is checked out by Chief Instructor Billy Stutt (nearest camera) and the workers who had assembled and rigged the airframe. Hurried patches in the aerodrome surface indicate the pace of preparations towards the official opening of the School on August 28, 1916. Picture: www.3squadron.org.au. Charter Family Collection. From  https://www.hawkesburygazette.com.au/story/4107788/north-richmond-flyboy-remembered/

Andrew and Jessie Smith farewelling the Vickers Vimy from Richmond aerodrome, Sydney, as it leaves for Adelaide, 22 February 1920.State Library of South Australia. SLSA referencePRG 18/7/70