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Early Australian Flyers

Captain Penfold

Lawrence Hargrave

George Augustine Taylor
& Wife Florence


The Smith Brothers

Sir Charles Kingford Smith

Charles Ulm

Millicent Bryant

Nancy Bird Walton

Bert Hinkler



Harry Hawker



Following the popularity of Balloon Ascents in England after the 1851 Crystal Palace Exhibition, a Melbourne man George Coppin engaged two English Balloonists to attempt a flight at Richmond in Victoria in 1858. A series of flights followed from Cremorne with landings in Brunswick, Emerald Hill and Springvale.

In Sydney in 1856 a Frenchman made a much publicised unsuccessful flight at the Domain in 1856. Sydney’s First successful flight was in 1858

Captain Penfold.” Vincent Patrick Taylor

Younger Brother of George Augustine Taylor, specialised in Balloon Flights.


By 1905 he was offering a” Balloon Drop” for Advertising purposes.


Lawrence Hargrave. Box Kites etc. b1850---d1915

His inventions included a Box Kite that was successful and a Rotary engine to be used in Aero Planes, that was not successful.

In 1894 he raised himself 4 metres of the Ground. Thus leading the way for the Wright Brothers and others.

The picture is taken at Stanwell Tops, near Wollongong NSW.



ACTUALLY  FLEW a Glider designed by himself, on 5th December 1909 at Narrabeen just North of Sydney. Even though Gliding had been performed in America and Europe some years before, Taylor’s Glider anticipated many of the forthcoming Glider developments. George had several  goes, then his wife flew her self. Later in that day the winds got up and on his last flight George had to ditch the glider in the ocean, and swim to the shore.

George belonged to a Private Club, and knew Henry Lawson, he also had dialogues with Lawrence Hargrave.


He was always interested in “new” ideas. He enlisted the aid of 3 civilians to Build a rudimentary Wireless, which he demonstrated at Heathcote NSW, this was the START of Radio in Australia. One of the men became the Radio  Operator for Mawson on his ant arctic expeditions.


The SMITH Brothers  Aviation Pioneer’s  Born in Adelaide

Keith  Macpherson  1890—1955

Ross Macpherson   18921922

They made the first flight from England to Australia, in 1919, with two other crew members, in a Vickers Vimy Bomber.

The flight was completed in 28 days, and made Postal History carrying the First England to Australia airmail

At the outbreak of WW1, Keith joined the Royal Flying Corps. And later served on the board of QUANTAS.


Ross fought at Gallipoli and won Military Crosses, and then joined the Australian Flying Corps. He became a favourite flyer of D H Lawrence of Arabia He died in a Test Flight crash in 1922.


A little confusion exists about WHO  WAS the FIRST to FLY in AUSTRALIA

Was it HARRY HOUDINI American Escape Artist. Illusionist—Escape Artist, Who visited Australia, in  1910


He had purchased a Voisin Bi Plane in Hamburg, Germany in 1909, with the intention of giving flying demonstrations in Australia, where he was to give performances as an Illusionist.

At Diggers Rest, Victoria he flew, then on to Rosehill a Sydney racecourse. He made the First ? CONTROLLED Flight in Australia at Diggers Rest.



Prior to Houdini, English man Colin Defries flew 400 metres in a straight line in 1909 in Australia.

OR Fred Custance demonstrated a Bleriot monoplane in 1910. Emulating Colin Defries ‘just in a straight line.”

Sir CHARLES KINGSFORD SMITH b1897—d1935 (lost in the Sea off Burma)

His list of achievements is quite daunting.

In 1928 he earned global fame by flying from the United States to Australia.

He also flew non stop across Australia. The first flight between Australia and New Zealand, and also non stop from Eastern Australia to the United States, and from Australia to the United Kingdom setting a record of 10.5 Days.


Like his Flying friend Charles Ulm he fought in the Gallipoli campaign and the Western Front.

CHARLES ULM born in Melbourne in 1898—d 1934

He accompanied Charles Kingsford Smith on some of his famous flights.

He lied about his age, joined the AIF and was wounded at Gallipoli in 1915, and the Western Front in 1918


In 1934 he carried the First Official Airmail from New Zealand to Australia. He disappeared whilst flying from California to Hawaii in December 1934.

BERT HINKLER. B1892 in Bundaberg—d 1933 Crashed in the Italian Alps

In 1913 he went to England where he worked for the Sopwith Aviation Company, as did Harry Hawker.

He was an exceptional mathematician and Inventor. He invented and modified quite a few Aircraft instruments. During World War 1 he served as gunner/observer.

After the War he worked as a Test Pilot for aircraft manufacturer A.V.Roe at Southhampton U.K.

He entered the First Flight to Australia competition, but his aeroplane crashed in Europe during a storm. He also flew the first solo flight between England and Australia arriving in Darwin on 22/2/1928

In 1921 Hinkler shipped an Avro Baby to Sydney and he flew it non stop to Bundaberg.


In an attempt to break the flying record from England to Australia he crashed and died in the Italian Alps. Mussolini the Italian Dictator ordered him to be buried with FULL MILITARY HONORS at Florence , Italy.


She became the FIRST Australian Woman to earn a Pilot License, on the 23 March 1927. She was then aged 49, and it was 9 months after the death of her husband. She gained her License flying a De Havilland DH60 Z Moth.

Unfortunately seven months later she drowned in an infamous Ferry accident on Sydney Harbour.

NANCY BIRD WALTON b 1915—d 2009

She was the youngest Australian woman to gain a Pilot’s License. She took her flying lessons from Charles Kingsford Smith. Over the years she joined and helped many Charities. She also used her flying to visit areas then not covered by the Flying Doctor Service.


HARRY HAWKER b 1889 Moorabin—d in aircrash 1921 UK

In 1910 he travelled to Diggers Rest Victoria, to see Harry Houdini fly.

He obtained a job as a mechanic with the Sopwith Aviation Company, and became Chief Test Pilot. He died in a Plane crash at Hendon Airfield, where he was practicing for the National Aerial Derby in England. He was a co founder of the Hawker Aircraft Company.



QANTAS—Queensland and Northern Territory Air services

This Company was formed by 3 men, Two of them Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness already knew each other from WW!, and Fergus McMaster who met with Paul McGinness when McMasters vehicle he was driving got stuck in an outback creek..Hudson and Paul also knew W Arthur Baird who had served during the war  in the Engineering side of things that flew

ANA—Australian National Airservices


This Airline began life as Flinders Island Airways, which had started life in March 1932.The Holyman brothers amalgamated with Flinders Island Airways to form Tasmanian Aerial Services. Many crashes occurred in Bass Strait. The Airlines record contrasted with then Ansett Airlines formed by Reginald Ansett.


TAA—Trans Australian Airservices

This Airline was formed by entrepreneur Reginald Ansett, who started operations in Hamilton Victoria.

Reginald Ansett as an entrprenaur, also created Ansett Pioneer Coachline, Ansett Freight Express, Ansair Coachbuilders, Gateway Hotels, Diners Club Aust. Biro Bic and owned a TV station in its early days in Australia.


Sir Reginald Ansett bought out Australian National Airways for 3.3 million pounds in

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