NFSA title: 1535
After the end of the First World War the Australian Government, under Prime Minister ‘Billy’ Hughes, announced a 10,000 pound prize for the first all Australian crew to fly from England to Australia within 30 days before 31 December 1919. While six crews attempted the long flight only two completed the journey. Two crews fatally crashed and another two were forced to withdraw after damage sustained to their aircraft.
The winning crew consisted of South Australian brothers Ross (Pilot) and Keith (Navigator and co-pilot) Smith as well as two mechanics James Bennett and Wally Shiers. Their 2 engine Vickers Vimy, a former bomber, departed Hounslow (near London) at 9.10am on 12 November 1919. Taking off in wintry conditions Ross Smith quipped that the Vimy’s registration number ‘G-EAOU’ could be interpreted as ‘God Elp All of Us'. Along the way they battled bad weather, had a number of close shaves with mountain tops and take offs from muddy landing fields. It took 27 days and 20 hours to fly the 18,250km to Darwin and claim the prize. The Smith brothers were knighted while the mechanics were commissioned and awarded bars to their Air Force Medals.
The clip shows Ross and Keith Smith taking off from England as well as some in flight images of the open cockpit and crew on their record setting flight.