professional historians australia (south australia)
Home > On this day > October > 11 October 1958 Harry Butler

11 October 1958 Harry Butler

 11 October 1958        Harry Butler

On 11 October 1958 a memorial building to Harry Butler, housing his Avro monoplane, was unveiled in Minlaton by C.B. Tilbrook. Harry Butler, born in Yorketown, had little schooling but was fascinated by flight. In his twenties he travelled from the family farm near Minlaton to Smithfield where C.W. Wittber was building a plane from components he made himself. In February 1916 Butler went to Point Cook to join the Air Force, but impatient with delays there paid his own way to England and enlisted with the Royal Air Force (RAF) as an air mechanic. After three weeks he was made a 2nd Lieutenant and by July 1916 he was flying in France. He became a flying instructor and was made Flight Commander.

On his return to Australia in 1919 he became involved with another aviation fanatic. and gave exhibitions and displays of stunt flying. He and his partner formed a company operating from a hangar at Northfield. In 1920 Butler bought an aerodrome at Albert Park from which he operated an air mail service until 1921 when the field was sold to the Commonwealth Government who used it as the Adelaide Aerodrome until Parafield was built. On 11 January 1922, on a flight from Minlaton, his Avro crashed on take-off and he suffered very serious head and facial injuries and in spite of his courageous efforts to resume his career he died as a result of his injuries in 1924.

Harry Butler Story, SLSA.

Tags: Avro monoplane, Butler Harry, stunt flying