In 2019, Alliance Airlines unveiled a new F-70 aircraft with livery celebrating the Smith crew and the epic flight centenary. The aircraft was on show at the RAAF Base Ediburgh Airshow in November 2019.
South Australian Aviation Museum member Robert Zweck took this photo of the Britannia B767 Captain Sir Ross Smith in 1989, when the airline ran charters into Adelaide.
To commemorate the epic flight centenary on 12 November 2019, Adelaide Airport Post Office created a special postmark depicting the Vickers Vimy. SA philately specialist and Epic Flight Centenary 2019 Committee member Martin Walker had the postmark stamped onto postcards created exclusively for AEROPEX2019, the nation’s premier philately exhibition which featured airmail relating to the epic flight from around the world. Thanks to Martin for sharing this philately memorabilia, which forms a tiny fraction of his personal collection.
A series of three stamps was issued in Australia in 1969 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a massive year in the nation’s aviation history: Ross Smith’s pioneering flight from England to Australia; Henry Wrigley’s pioneering flight from Point Cook to Darwin; and Hudson Fysh’s survey of potential air fields across northern Australia, which led to the creation of Qantas the following year.
The designs were created by Eric Thake, an Australian official war artist who worked with the RAAF during WWII and made aircraft wreckage a major part of his focus.
A button advertising Sir Ross Smith’s lecture series across Australia. He spoke up to three times a day (for two hours), and his lectures were seen by more than 100,000 school children and adults in lecture halls and theatres.
Image donated by: Andrew Bennett
The Adelaide Mint, founded by Barrie Newman and Nelson Eustis (author of The Greatest Air Race), has struck a commemorative medallion in honour of the epic flight on all of the major anniversaries since 1969. The image left is taken from the 2019 medallion. Below are images of the 70th and 75th anniversary medallions.
Image donated by: Tiffany Young.
South Australia’s Telephone Directory in 1969 (back when phone books were a big thing!) celebrated the 50th anniversary of the epic flight.
Image donated by: Wendy Robertson
The Vickers Vimy arrived in Darwin in 1919 carrying Australia’s first international airmail.
The haul included messages written by the crew, but also hundreds of letters handed over along the way. In The Greatest Air Race, renowned philatelist Nelson Eustis notes 364 covers were received by the Australian Government in Melbourne, collected from along the route in places as varied as Cairo and Calcutta, Syria and Burma and Karachi.
At Ross Smith’s insistence, Australia’s Prime Minister Billy Hughes commissioned a special stamp and date stamp for all of the inaugural airmail carried aboard the Vickers Vimy.
This little blue ‘cinderella’ stamp is a beautiful blue and white depiction of the Vimy skimming through what Sir Ross described as “unflown skies” from England to Australia. No more than a few centimetres square, the rare stamp was fetching upwards of $15,000 by 2019.
Below are other stamps inspired by the epic flight, courtesy of North Road Cemetery historian Helen Stein.
Dozens of souvenir buttons were released to celebrate the epic flight, and also to advertise Sir Ross Smith’s lecture series in the year afterwards. These images were donated by Epic Flight Centenary 2019 Committee member Steve Harrison, who is an enthusiastic collector of Ross Smith memorabilia.
Images donated by Les Parsons, who came across many newspaper clippings and souvenirs relating to the epic flight while researching his book The Red Devil: The Story of South Australian Aviation Pioneer Captain Harry Butler. Harry Butler was a contemporary of the Smith crew and asked to be buried at North Rd Cemetery near Sir Ross Smith when he also died after an aircraft accident in the 1920s.