When Ross Smith and his crew touched down in Darwin on 10 December 1919, they were carrying the first international airmail to reach Australia.
That included messages written by Ross Smith and his crew, but also hundreds of letters that had been handed over along the way.
At Sir Ross Smith’s insistence, Australia’s Prime Minister Billy Hughes commissioned a special stamp and date stamp for all of that inaugural airmail – a beautiful blue and white depiction of the Vimy skimming through what Sir Ross described as “unflown skies” from England to Australia.
In his book 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.
This little stamp, no more than a few centimetres square, today fetches upwards of $15,000.