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History and the 2020 reenactment flight

The flight of the Vickers Vimy from Britain to Australia is one of the great aeronautical achievements of all time. Australians Ross and Keith Smith, Jim Bennett and Wally Shiers took off from Hounslow airfield on 12 November 1919 and 28½ days later landed in Darwin, after an amazing flight. They won the air race sponsored by the Australian government for this flight.

The fliers were keen to complete the journey, and though the aircraft needed attention, set off three days later to fly to Adelaide, the Smith’s home town. This is over 20% of the total journey. It was an epic flight in itself. It was at least as dangerous as the rest of the flight, and the airmen were faced with challenges of many kinds. It was also a event that had huge social effects, with positive consequences that remain with us today. But this part of the journey is comparatively neglected in the public record.

It is hoped that the coming centennial commemorations will awaken interest in the whole expedition and especially the even more neglected Australian section of the journey,

Places visited by the 1919-20 flight Darwin to Adelaide

Darwin     Warlock Ponds    Cobbs Creek     Anthony Lagoon     Brumette Downs     Avon Downs     Cloncurry     Longreach     Charleville    (repairs: Ipswich; visits to Toowoomba and Brisbane)  Bourke     Narromine     Sydney     Richmond     Cootamundra     Henty     Melbourne and Point Cook     Northfield (Adelaide)

Other options for the reenactment

Though the places visited will have preferential treatment in terms of being visited during a commemorative flight, there are other places that could be considered. These are principally centres of aviation history and also places that take the flight through areas of large population such as the Brisbane area. Places under consideration at the moment include, in more or less geographical order:

Katherine (Tindal RAAF) x      Mt Isa     Camooweal        Caboolture (and Brisbane)       Luskintyre           Albion Park HARS         Temora Aviation Museum     

Places between Melbourne and Adelaide:     Hamilton         Echuca           Nhill          Adelaide airfields


The 1969 air race

a pile of source material may be found here, but it is interesting that for such a major event, there was not a lot of publicity. Trove  lists mainly reports from the Canberra Times.