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History and the 2020 reenactment flight

The flight of the Vickers Vimy from Britain to Australia is one of the great aeronautical achievements of all time. Australians Ross and Keith Smith, Jim Bennett and Wally Shiers took off from Hounslow airfield on 12 November 1919 and 28½ days later landed in Darwin, after an amazing flight. They won the air race sponsored by the Australian government for this flight.

The fliers were keen to complete the journey, and though the aircraft needed attention, set off three days later to fly to Adelaide, the Smith’s home town. This is over 20% of the total journey. It was an epic flight in itself. It was at least as dangerous as the rest of the flight, and the airmen were faced with challenges of many kinds. It was also a event that had huge social effects, with positive consequences that remain with us today. But this part of the journey is comparatively neglected in the public record.

It is hoped that the coming centennial commemorations will awaken interest in the whole expedition and especially the even more neglected Australian section of the journey,

Places visited by the 1919-20 flight Darwin to Adelaide

Darwin     Warlock Ponds    Cobbs Creek     Anthony Lagoon     Brumette Downs     Avon Downs     Cloncurry     Longreach     Charleville    (repairs: Ipswich; visits to Toowoomba and Brisbane)  Bourke     Narromine     Sydney     Richmond     Cootamundra     Henty     Melbourne and Point Cook     Northfield (Adelaide)

The 1969 air race

a pile of source material may be found here, but it is interesting that for such a major event, there was not a lot of publicity. Trove  lists mainly reports from the Canberra Times

Wrigley and Murphy flight celebration

This was an incredible achievement. Lieutenant Henry Wrigley and Sergeant Arthur Murply flew a BE2e aircraft of pre-war design from Point Cook to Darwin, arriving two days after the Smiths, Their aim was to survey the route to be taken by the Smith flight. It was an amaaing adventure and for almost alll of the journey this was the first aircraft to be seen. Modern air adventurer Stefan Drury will fly over the route so as to arrive in Darwin on 10 December, See Stefan's YouTube videos on https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG1HLA8IEqZ09_C_7u5tUjQ . His itinerary is as follows:





Thursday December 5th, 2019


YMPC (Point Cook)

YCTM (Cootamundra)


YCTM (Cootamundra)


YNRM (Narromine)


YNRM (Narromine)


YBKE (Bourke)

Friday December 6th, 2019


YBKE (Bourke)

Belalie Pastoral Station


Belalie Pastoral Station


YBCV (Charleville)


YBCV (Charleville)


YLRE (Longreach)

Saturday December 7th, 2019


YLRE (Longreach)


YCCY (Cloncurry)


YCCY (Cloncurry)

YAVD (Avon Downs)


YAVD (Avon Downs)

YTNK (Tennant Creek)

Sunday December 8th, 2019


YTNK (Tennant Creek)

Newcastle Waters

YDLW (Daly Waters)


YDLW (Daly Waters)

YPTN (Tindal)

Monday December 9th

Rest day in Katherine

Tuesday December 10th , 2019


YPTN (Tindal)

YPDN (Darwin)