12 February, 1920
After a 52-day delay caused by major engine woes, the Vimy crew finally took off for Bourke on 12 February 1920. Ross and Keith took off initially at 8am for a 30-minute “thank you” flight with Harry Coyne MLC, the Queensland Minister for Lands, and two of the Point Cook mechanics sent up from Victoria to assist with engine repairs.
By 11am they were back in the air and bound for Bourke with mechanics Wally Shiers and Jim Bennett, plus war photographer Frank Hurley in the nose-gunner’s cockpit.
The four-hour flight to Bourke was routine and they did a “general overhaul” before departing again the next morning at 9am for another routine three-hour flight to Narromine.
The photo top left shows cameraman Frank Hurley with his camera gear. Hurley and Ross Smith had become friends in Palestine during WWI. [SLSA PRG 18/9/1/36A].
Thanks to Mike Milln from the SA Aviation Museum for his assistance with this post.