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27 April 1958 Memorial to Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith

 27 April 1958   Memorial to Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith

On 27 April 1958 Air Marshal Sir Richard Williams opened the memorial to Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith at West Beach Airport. The building houses their famous Vickers Vimy plane. The sculpture of the Smith brothers and their crew, Bennett and Shiers, was designed by John Dowie.

In March 1919 the Commonwealth Government offered a prize of £10, 000 for the first flight from England to Australia. The conditions stated that the journey had to be completed in 30 days, the machines and engines had to be British and the crew Australian.

Captain Ross Smith and Lieutenant Keith Smith took up the challenge and chose the Vickers Vimy bomber for the venture. They left Hounslow Airport, London, on 12 November 1919 and after an adventurous flight, plagued with bad weather and primitive airfields, landed at Darwin on 10 December, 28 days later. They arrived in Adelaide, after a non-stop flight of 6 hours and 40 minutes from Melbourne, on 23 March 1920 to a tumultuous reception from their home state people.

The brothers were born on Mutooroo Station in the north east of the state. Sir Ross and Bennett were killed in a plane crash in 1922 and Sir Keith died in 1955.

The Advertiser, 24 March 1920.
D. Weaver, 'Great Flights by Pioneer Airmen',  Australian Junior Encyclopedia, Volume II, Georgian House, Melbourne, 1951, pp. 579-580.

Tags: Smith Sir Keith, Smith Sir Ross