The Great Air Race from London to Darwin

September 22, 2019 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Darwin Aviation Museum
557 Stuart Hwy
Winnellie NT 0820
Darwin Aviation Museum
(08) 8947 2145

Join us on Sunday Sunday, 22 September between 9am and 3pm at Darwin Aviation Museum as we celebrate the Race that Changed the World.

The day will begin with the reveal of a new façade honouring the winning plane and join in the fun as we share the incredible story of the Great Air Race with the wider Darwin community.

The façade reveal will be part of the museum’s ‘celebration of aviation’ and the public is encouraged to come along to this family event and access the museum for a ‘gold coin donation’.

The day will also include helicopter rides, vintage plane and vehicle displays, entertainment from the Darwin City Brass Band and Air Force Cadet drum marching displays.

Additional events to celebrate the Great Air Race are available here:

Darwin Aviation Museum Manager Angie Clucas:

“The Great Air Race represents a significant time in Darwin’s history and it is very important that we celebrate and commemorate this ground-breaking aviation milestone in its 100th year.

“The foresight and achievements of aviation pioneers not only opened Darwin to the rest of Australia and the world but also gave greater connection to remote outstations and communities of the Northern Territory, which really drove the Territory’s future development.

“Our façade launch event will be the perfect opportunity for all Territorians and visitors to join in the family fun and learn more about the incredible journey that was the Great Air Race.”

 Background Information:

  • On 19 March, 1919 the Commonwealth Government set aviators the challenge to fly an aeroplane from London to Australia, landing in Darwin, in under 30 days.
  • The winning crew would win £10,000, the equivalent of nearly $1 million today.
  • Six crews took part in the Great Air Race challenge, with only two teams completing the journey.
  • The winning aeroplane was a Vickers Vimy, crewed by pilot Captain Ross Smith, co-pilot Lieutenant Keith Smith and mechanics Sergeants Wally Shiers and James Bennett.
  • The Vickers Vimy and crew landed in Darwin on 10 December 1919 after a 28 day and 20-hour flight.
  • The successful flight changed the world, paving the way for faster transport of mail and passengers across the globe.
  • Darwin became an ideal stop-over point as aviation travel grew in the 1930s, allowing passengers to fly from Brisbane and Sydney to London.
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