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Heroes of the skies: The Smith brothers and the Great Air Race of 1919

02 Nov 2019 - 05 Apr 2020
Next Occurrence : 31 Mar 2020
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM


Discover the amazing story of the England to Australia air race of 1919, won by two of South Australia’s favourite sons, Captain Ross and Lieutenant Keith Smith. Together with their mechanics, Sergeants Wally Shiers and Jim Bennett, they were the first Australian airmen to fly from England to Australia in 28 days in a modified Vickers Vimy bomber.

The exhibition follows the lives of the Smith family from their early days at Mutooroo Station in the far north of South Australia to service in World War One and the public response to the tragic death of Sir Ross in an air crash in 1922.

Highlights relating to the race on display include the log-book and intercom book of the Vickers Vimy, notebooks kept by Ross and Keith, a pocket compass, a magneto from the engine, a piece of Vimy aircraft fabric and a Sidcot flying suit of the day. Also on display are the rarely seen knighthood medals awarded to Keith and the ‘flying wings’ won by Ross and Keith, which were taken into space with astronaut Dr Andy Thomas in 1996.

This exhibition is drawn from the State Library collections, as well as loaned items.

Due to current advice on public gatherings, please contact the host of this event to confirm it is proceeding as planned.