10 December, 1927
A Shilling Fund was established in the wake of Sir Ross Smith’s tragic death in 1922 for the creation of a monument to commemorate South Australia’s “most famous son” and his pioneering flight from England to Australia.
British sculptor Frederick Brook Hitch won a competition to design the statue – which is bronze sculpted in the image of Sir Ross on a base of granite sourced from Murray Bridge.
Completed in August 1927, the monument was unveiled in Adelaide’s Creswell Gardens on 10 December 1927 by Lieutenant-Governor Sir George Murray, with three Royal Australian Air Force aircraft circling overheard and surviving Vickers Vimy crew members Sir Keith Smith and mechanic Wally Shiers in attendance.
Creswell Gardens was chosen as a fitting location for the memorial because Sir Ross had advocated the site for the construction of a monument in honour of those who’d served in the 3rd Light Horse Brigade. Standing in the shadow of Adelaide Oval, the statue looks across Adelaide to Mount Lofty, where the Vimy was first spotted when the victorious Smith crew flew into Adelaide on 23 March 1920.
The image top left shows the statue in 1927. [SLSA B-4974]