The Great Air Race of 1919
Less than 16 years after man’s first powered flight, and barely 12 months following the end of the First World War, an epic race was commissioned. £10,000 was the prize money, and the target, to be the first to fly from England to Australia in under 30 days. Seven two-man crews committed to an attempt, and so began several months of drama, tragedy, and adventure...
The first to attempt the trip wasn’t even eligible for the £10,000 reward! Though the contest was aimed only at Australian pilots, Frenchman Etienne Poulet financed his own aircraft and journey, setting out on October 14th 1919. His efforts ended in failure 57 days later having reached no further than Thailand.
The next to depart was an Australian crew in a Sopwith Wallaby. Another failure, the crew was, at one point, imprisoned by Bolsheviks, before ultimately crash-landing in Bali some 6 months after departure!
Third to make the attempt, Captain Ross Smith and brother Lieutenant Keith Smith, departed Hounslow Heath on November 12th, 1919, and touched down in Darwin on December 10th, 1919 - thus completing the first successful sub-30 Day flight between England and Australia!
Four more attempts were made subsequent to the Smiths taking off but almost all ended in tragedy - or even death. Just one, the final entrants, Lieutenant Ray Parer and co-pilot Lieutenant John C. McIntosh, was able to complete the trip – in a massive 206 days!
100 years later, we look back in awe, that a mere 16 years after man’s first powered flight, a pair of Aussies could fly the huge distance between England and Australia in less than 30 days – a truly inspiring feat.
The features of this new Royal Australian Mint collection are...
- Seven Legal Tender $1 collector coins depicting each of the planes to race
- Bonus full colour $1 coin commemorating 100th anniversary
- Each coin housed on informative presentation card
- Limited mintage just 10,000!
- All coins delivered together inside collector tin, reminiscent of recent Ford and Holden sell out collections!