November 9, 2017

Pre War Era


Jim Hayden poses in the first aircraft to be seen in the Narromine region, a Bleriot – type monoplane he built at his property ‘Acton’.  It was apparently nose-heave, and probably never flew, although it was displayed at the Narromine show.  Jim’s son Keith (an airframe fitter at Narromine during the war) still remembers the place, which unfortunately didn’t survive the years.



Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith and their two mechanics, winners of the first England – Australia air race, are greeted in their Vickers Vimy bomber at Narromine by some 4,000 people. The aircraft was painted with its registration G-EAOU, the phrase ‘God Elp All Of Us’ reflecting the dangers they faced during the epic flight, with few navigational aids or facilities en route

The Australian Government sponsored the race to encourage the development of an air route to Australia , and the winners received the unheard-of sum of 10,000 pounds. The Vimy was the third aircraft to visit Narromine, two Army aircraft having called in the previous year.


Captain (later Sir) Alan Cobham, in a single-engined de Havilland DH.50, makes the first England – Australia return flight. Here he poses at Narromine.


Australia ’s first regional aero club is founded at Narromine, with a membership of 12. Narromine Aero Club’s committee consisted of:

Back row: R.D. Barnett, G.H.R. Barlow (Vice-president), H. Thrall, G.B. Irvine (Vice-president), H. Bowden Fletcher (Hon Secretary), T.E. Perry (President), R.T. Perry, E.E. MacWilliam. Front row: F. Ballhausen, W. Downey , V.C.S. Hall, W.W. Stockham, H.W. Kierath (Vice-president).


Captain Les Holden, in de Havilland DH.61 Canberra(VH-AUHW), finds Kingsford Smith’s lost Southern Cross in northwest Western Australia , and accompanies it to Narromine. He also took a number of Narromine residents in it on their first passenger flight to Sydney . Here, at the 1931 Narromine air pageant, he poses with Aero Club secretary H. Howden Fletcher.



Captain Charles Kingsford Smith, Mr McWilliams and Lieutenant Charles Ulm land at Narromine in their Fokker, Southern Cross. ‘Smithy’ had first visited Narromine in 1920.


Twenty-one aircraft perform at Narromine’s first air pageant. One of Australia ’s first aero club pageants, it is declared to be the most successful. Here a de Havilland Moth is taking off for a joyflight, with the DH.61 Canberra in the background. Narromine Aero Club hosted another three successful pageants during the 1930s, with the RAAF’s Hawker Demons putting on a spectacular display in 1935.


Captain (Later Sir) Francis Chichester refuels his Gypsy Moth at Narromine en route to Sydney , during his record solo England – Australia flight.


Arthur Butler is greeted by a large crowd following his record nine-day solo England – Australia flight. He is shown here with Narromine Aero Club president T.E. Perry and secretary H. Bowden Fletcher. Three years later he began an airmail service from Cootamundra to Charleville via Narromine, and later an airline service which continued after the war.


Newspaper delivery, 1930s style. Milton Kent (left) arrives at Narromine on Easter Sunday for the 1931 air pageant, carrying Sunday Sun newspapers. His aircraft is Westland Widgeon VH-UHU.


Winners of the Silver Cup for model flight duration and mass flight, part of the Narromine Aero Club’s second air pageant in 1931, were V.C.S. Hall and B. Hawkins. Vic Hall’s entry was an unusual twin-propeller pusher design. The Narromine Model Aero Squadron, formed in the late 1920s, was among Australia’s first.


Air Commodore Charles Kingsford Smith and party arrive at Narromine in Southern Cross and Southern Cross Midget on a tour of country towns. Kingsford Smith had first visited Narromine in 1920. A few years after the 1932 visit, he disappeared without trace.


Imperial Airways’ four-engined airliner Astraea visits Narromine before returning to England . With a 27-metre wingspan and carrying nine passengers, it was a giant of its day.


Miss Jean Batten lands her Gipsy Moth at Narromine after a record breaking London – Darwin flight.


Competitors in the Centenary air race stop over at Narromine.


Western and Southern Provincial (WASP) Airlines begins a Narromine – Sydney passenger service.


A big event for the Aero Club: its first aircraft hangar, which stands to this day, is opened.