Many institutions and individuals hold items and photographs relating to the 1919 Air Race and the Vickers Vimy flight. We are sincerely grateful to those who have shared their treasures with us.
The Great Air Race of 1919 gripped Australia and the world – indeed, experts say that in its day the Vimy landing in Darwin was as awe-inspiring as man landing on the moon 50 years later. Many commemorative pieces have since been created to celebrate the epic achievement of Sir Ross Smith and his crew.
Many treasures are held by individuals who have generously shared them with us for the Epic Flight centenary.
Arthur Robertson was born in 1919 and became fascinated by Australia’s aviation pioneers after seeing the first commercial flight from Adelaide to Perth pass just 20 metres overhead on 2 June 1929. In later life, he used skills developed at Adelaide’s School of Fine Arts to create an incredible array of historical records on the epic flight for use by schools, museums and community groups. His artworks, scrap books and talks were all aimed at rekindling interest in South Australia’s aviation heritage. And by coincidence, Arthur’s wife Eileen was a second cousin to Wally Shiers. Arthur, we salute you!
This collections relates to the lives of Ross and Keith Smith. After spending part of their childhood on Mutooroo Station, near Broken Hill, the boys were educated at Queen’s School in North Adelaide. In 1910, Ross joined the Australian Mounted Cadets and was selected to represent South Australia in an international tour. He enlisted in August 1914, joining the 3rd Light Horse Brigade, and fought in the Dardanelles and at Romani before transferring to the Australian Flying Corps. Keith joined the Royal Flying Corps in Britain in 1917.