This year marks the centenary of the first flight across the world from England to Australia, achieved by South Australian brothers Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith and their mechanics Wally Shiers (SA) and Jim Bennett (Victoria).

The Epic Flight Centenary 2019 Schools Competition, sponsored by Boeing, is open to South Australian school students in years R-10 from all sectors – providing an opportunity to participate in research, and develop an understanding of these incredible aviators and their world-beating achievement. 


The competition is open to South Australian students enrolled in government, Catholic and Independent schools, and those who are home schooled, in years R-10. It is also open to individual South Australian members of groups such as the Australian Air Force Cadets and the Australian Air League, who will be assessed in the appropriate year level.

Teachers can enter their class as a team, or their students individually. Students can also enter individually.

Teachers: to help with our planning, please let us know if you are intending to take part by sending a brief email with your name, school, year level and number of children to

Key dates

Monday 22 July: entries open. 
Friday 7 September: deadline for entries.
Tuesday 24 September: winners announced on the Epic Flight Centenary website (with individual winners notified via email in the same week).

Judging criteria

Entries will be judged on knowledge and understanding, structure and clarity, evidence of research and use of both primary and secondary sources. The decision of judges is final.

Recognition for winners

  • The top 10 individual entries (five from each of the two categories below) in all year levels will win an Epic Flight Centenary bronze medallion and certificate.
  • The winning class entry in each year level (and from each category) will win Epic Flight Centenary buttons and a certificate for each student.
  • The ten best entries from year 10 students in Category 1 (Connections with Science/Maths/STEM) will be invited to visit RAAF Base Edinburgh to tour a Boeing P-8 Poseidon aircraft, including rare access to the maintenance, life support and aircrew facilities. One lucky winner will also complete a 30-minute sortie (including “flying” the aircraft) in a maritime aircraft simulator.
  • The five best entries from year 10 students in Category 2 (Connections with English/HASS/Geography/Art) will be invited to a special function celebrating the Epic Flight Centenary year. 
  • Thanks to the Royal Australian Air Force, five individual entries (chosen across all year levels) will also win a family pass to the RAAF Base Edinburgh Air Show from 9-10 November.

Competition task

You can choose to enter one of two competition categories – the first with connections to Science/Maths/STEM and the second with connections to English/HASS/Geography/Art. You’ll find examples of how you might show us further below, as well as some exploration questions to encourage thinking, discussion and research around the topic.

Category 1. Connections with Science/Maths/STEM

In 1919, South Australian brothers Ross and Keith Smith – with their trusty mechanics Wally Shiers (SA) and Jim Bennett (Vic) – made the first flight across the world from England to Australia. Explore the advances in technology between the Vickers Vimy and the Royal Australian Air Force’s new P-8 Poseidon.

Things you might consider include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Building materials
  • Engines
  • Wing technology: describe and explain wing shape in a boomerang, a Vickers Vimy and a P-8 Poseidon
  • Navigation, instruments
  • Mapping
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Airfields

Category 2. Connections with English/HASS/Geography/Art

In 1919, South Australian brothers Ross and Keith Smith – with their trusty mechanics Wally Shiers (SA) and Jim Bennett (Vic) – achieved the first flight across the world from England to Australia. International experts say that pioneering flight was as awe-inspiring in its day as man landing on the moon. Tell us what you find so inspiring about the epic flight?

Examples of topics you might explore (or please choose your own):

  • What are the legacies of the flight?
  • Think about travelling in a plane today. What similarities and differences do you notice between the Smith crew in their Vickers Vimy and people who travel by plane in the present?
  • It’s 10 December 1919 in Darwin, and you’ve just spotted the Vickers Vimy on the horizon. Now imagine you’re either a Larrakia elder, fellow Australian aviator Hudson Fysh or a young schoolgirl, and describe how you feel.
  • How did the flight change the way Australians lived?
  • How has Australia commemorated the flight in the past 100 years?
  • Reflect on one of the men and tell the story of their life.
  • How did people across the world work together on this project to help the Smith crew?

Examples of how you might show us include, but aren’t limited to…
(For all subjects: Science/Maths/STEM/ English/HASS/Geography/Art)

  • Essay/story (maximum 700 words)
  • Claymation/stopmotion (maximum five minutes)
  • TV news story (maximum five minutes)
  • Video/film/podcast (maximum five minutes)
  • Slideshow (maximum 15 slides)
  • Drawing
  • Map
  • Poster/online poster (e.g. glogster)
  • Painting/artwork
  • Aircraft models 
  • Board game

Some exploration questions to consider when making your competition entry…

• What do you already know about the Epic Flight? • What questions do you have about this? • What else do you want to know? • What information and sources are available to find out about this?

• When the Vimy flew from Darwin to Adelaide via the eastern states, many Australians would have seen an aircraft for the first time. How do you think Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people would have reacted and why?

• Why might people want to know about the Epic Flight? • What might different types of people say about it? • How could you find out? • Who might be interested in this?

• What language do you need to use? • What vocabulary would you need to use to discuss this? • Are there any new terms or vocabulary you need to understand?

• What is the connection between the Epic Flight and how people use flight in the present?

• What if the Epic Flight never happened? What effects might this have had on South Australian History?

• What do you find interesting and/or unexpected about the Epic Flight? • What surprises you? • What confuses you?

How and when to submit entries

Each submission must be accompanied by the EFC Schools Competition Class-Student Entry and Declaration.

Entries may be posted (as a hard document or on a USB), emailed or hand-delivered, and received by no later than 5pm on Friday 7 September 2019. Late entries will not be accepted.

Email entries to: (with EFC Schools Competition in the subject field and declaration form attached).

Post entries to:
EFC Schools Competition
History Trust of South Australia
GPO Box 1836 
Adelaide  SA  5001

Hand deliver entries to:
History Trust of South Australia
Torrens Parade Ground
Victoria Drive
Adelaide SA 5000


For further information phone (08) 8203 9888 or email Epic Flight Centenary program coordinator Lainie Anderson at