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Later still, the experiments of Lawrence Hargrave into lifting properties of box-kites and wing surfaces in the late 1880’s and published in Scientific Journals were to inspire and influence the work of many others in Europe and the USA, including the Wright brothers and man’s first flight in December 1903.
This event ignited interest in aviation around the world, with the Australian Government offering a prize for 5000 pounds for a flying machine for military purposes, stimulating local activity, including the first glider flight by George Taylor in 1909, a flurry of attempts and mixed results at powered flight around the beggining of 1910 was followed by the first successful, sustained and controlled powered flight in Australia, by Harry Houdini at Diggers Rest, Victoria, in March 1910. The first Australian design was by John Duigan who flew it at Mia Mia, Victoria, on 10 October 1910.
20 February 1911 J J Hammond flew the first cross country flight
between towns in Australia from Altona Bay to Geelong in
Victoria , and on 23
February, also at Altona Bay in Victoria, he
undertook the first powered passenger flight in Australia.
It is not widely known that while the ANZAC legend was being forged at Gallipoli, that the Australian Half Flight was in combat service in Mesopotamia, and suffering its first losses in the air, and the AFC flew with distinction in France and Egypt.
the end of the First World War, Australians began the pioneering of
long distance flying with the brothers Ross
and Keith Smith being the
first to fly from England to Australia in their twin engined Vickers
Vimy in 1919, followed by Parer
and McIntosh in 1920 in a single engined DH9. Bert
Hinkler became the first to fly solo from England to Australia, in
his Avro Avian in February 1928.
In 1934, the Centenary Air Race from London to Melbourne proved once and for all the viability and safety of long distance air travel. Many other aviation ventures developed, including Ansett with services from Hamilton to Melbourne and, of course, after WW II, TAA, with flights initially from Laverton in Victoria, both went on to become Australia's twin domestic airlines.
The importance of aviation in the development, and to the continued maintenance of communication, support, and service to rural communities cannot be understated; indeed the remoteness of the Australian outback led to the development of the unique and successful "Flying Doctor Service” by Dr John Flynn in 1928.
also played a significant role in aircraft development, in addition to
Hargrave and Duigan's early work, Australians such as Harry Hawker from Moorabbin, Victoria and Edgar Percival from Albury/Wodonga travelled to England to work in
aircraft design and manufacturing during the First World War. The
Percival Aircraft Company built touring and trainer aircraft for the
RAF, while the Hawker Company built a range of aircraft from 1930
biplanes to jet fighters, both becoming famous British manufacturers.
Australia has a proud heritage in aviation and it should be recognised, and preserved.
last 40 years, the AARG has saved a number of significant examples of
Australia’s aviation heritage, and with nearly 50 aircraft on display,
in storage or under restoration, the Museum is one of the largest
in Australia, contains the finest collection of Australian
made and designed aircraft, as well as the broadest collection with representative types covering the
development of air travel and
military aviation. Further Information:
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