1919
March 19, 1919
The Australian Government announces a £10,000 prize for the first Australians to fly from Britain to Australia. It̵
May 22, 1919
The Royal Aero Club of the United Kingdom announces the official rules for the Great Air Race from Britain to Australia.
June 7, 1919
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a group of young Australian aviators are set to leave England for a pioneering fl
August 14, 1919
Australia’s acting Prime Minister William Watt tells parliament it’s understood that eight entries have been
Four flight crew members standing in front of the large bi-plane
November 12, 1919
South Australian brothers Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith, with mechanics Wally Shiers (SA) and Jim Bennett (Vic), departed
November 12, 1919
After six hours and 20 minutes of flying in freezing temperatures, the Vimy finally touched down in Lyons (pictured circ
Image: The famous cylindrical tower, leaning to the right with puddles forming on the ground in front.
November 13, 1919
The day started with a frustrating few hours for the Vimy crew as they tried to source fuel and hot water for the radiat
Image:
November 15, 1919
At first light, Ross Smith arrived at the water-logged Pisa aerodrome to find the Vimy still hopelessly bogged. So he ca
November 16, 1919
Ross Smith and the Vickers Vimy crew left Rome in poor weather and set a course for Taranto, 260 miles away in southern
November 17, 1919
The Vimy crew almost crashed into cliffs off the coast of Greece as Ross Smith battled driving rain and dense mist on th
Image:
November 18, 1919
Ross Smith and his Vickers Vimy crew had a highly-eventful, 650-mile flight across the Mediterranean from Crete to Cairo
No image available
November 19, 1919
Ross Smith flew from Cairo to Damascus on the seventh, 450-mile leg of the epic flight. The Vimy crew was now a quarter
Image: Black and White photograph showing biplane with clouded sunset. Shadows of men gathered by the right wing
November 20, 1919
Grease was lathered over the Vimy’s wheels to enable Ross Smith to take off from the muddy aerodrome in Damascus d
Image: Biplane on flat desert landscape. Tent off in the distance with armed guards.
November 21, 1919
The Smith crew repaired the Vimy’s ailerons and wires after the night’s raging sandstorm before setting off
No image available
November 23, 1919
Ross Smith and the Vickers Vimy crew flew 630 miles from Basra to Bandar Abbas to complete the 10th leg of their epic jo
November 24, 1919
When Ross Smith left Bandar Abbas bound for Karachi 730 miles away, he carried a small hand-written note from the Britis
Image: men standing around the tail of a biplane.
November 25, 1919
Ross Smith made a 7.40am start from Karachi, circling above the desert aerodrome before turning the Vickers Vimy east to
November 27, 1919
Ross Smith departed Delhi at 10.20am, feeling “the keenness of the chase” to overtake French aviator and rog
November 28, 1919
Ross Smith landed in Calcutta at 1.30pm after a relatively easy five-hour flight from Allahabad, only to learn that R
November 29, 1919
The Vickers Vimy crew almost met with disaster on takeoff from Calcutta (modern-day Kolkata) on 29 November 1919, when t
Image: Biplane on open field surrounded by onlookers
November 30, 1919
On the afternoon of 30 November 1919, excited citizens in the Burmese city of Rangoon (modern day Yangon, Myanmar) were
December 1, 1919
The Vimy crew landed at Bangkok’s Don Muang airport at 12.55pm after a hair-raising, six-hour flight at 11,000ft o
December 2, 1919
The Vimy crew was escorted out of Bangkok by four Siamese aircraft, before encountering shocking monsoonal rains on the
Image: Close up of Biplane with rags covering wheels and the engines. One of the crew is looking into the cockpit from the wing.
December 4, 1919
With only 8 days left to reach Darwin, they decided to remain in Singapore longer than planned in order to repair the ai
No image available
December 7, 1919
Across the equator, they found the Southern Hemisphere much calmer, with barely a ripple on the sea. Unable to locate th
Image: Javan locals assisting with a bogged biplane
December 8, 1919
Unfortunately, the first aerodrome they experienced was muddy and caused the Vimy to become bogged. They removed the air
December 9, 1919
Their arrival in Bima provided much more pleasant conditions, with a large cross marking their landing. Due to undrinkab
No image available
December 10, 1919
On landing, they refuelled in Timor and prepared for their morning take off to Darwin. Again the take-off was dangerous
December 10, 1919
South Australian brothers Ross and Keith Smith, with their mechanics Wally Shiers and Jim Bennett, enter the history boo
No image available
December 13, 1919
They were forced to make a landing at Warlock Ponds in order to adjust the engine.
No image available
December 14, 1919
They were forced to land at Anthony’s Lagoon which was 450 miles from the nearest railway and 150 miles from a tel
Image: A new propeller for the biplane that is twice as tall a man.
December 23, 1919
Upon Landing in Charleville the Vimy was fitted with a new propeller and thoroughly overhauled.
1920
No image available
February 14, 1920
February 25, 1920
Upon arrival in Melbourne they were received by a tumultuous welcome and were presented with their prize cheque by Prime
Image: biplane landing with people watching
March 23, 1920
The Smith brothers finally returned home on 23 March, where they were met by enthusiastic crowds once again.
1922
April 13, 1922
Sir Ross Smith and his loyal mechanic Jim Bennett are killed while test flying a Vickers Viking amphibious aircraft at W
June 15, 1922
The funeral of Sir Ross Smith took place on the 15th June 1922 at Saint Peter’s Cathedral at the North Road Cemete
1924
June 3, 1924
Sir Keith Smith married Lady Anita on 3rd June, 1924 at the District of Kensington Register Office in London.
1927
December 10, 1927
The Sir Ross Smith memorial statue was unveiled on 10th December 1927 in Creswell Park in the Adelaide Parklands next to
1955
December 19, 1955
After a brief battle with cancer, Sir Keith Smith died at the St. Vincent Private Hospital in Sydney, on 19th December 1
1958
April 27, 1958
The Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith War Memorial at Adelaide Airport is officially unveiled by the father of the RAAF, Air
1968
June 2, 1968
Walter “Wally” Shiers was born 17th May, 1889 and died on 2nd June, 1968. He was one of the engineers who ac
2019
May 11, 2019
The Coalition Government and Opposition both confirm a $2m commitment to the relocation of the Vickers Vimy if they win