Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith, pioneer aviators
On 19 March 1919 Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes announced a competition for the first Australian aviators to fly from England to Australia within 30 days with a prize of £10 000. South Australian brothers Ross Smith (pilot) and Keith Smith (navigator) with engineers Walter Shiers (SA) and James Bennett (Vic) were the first successful crew.
In 2019, the centenary year of the prize-winning flight, we celebrate them and their significant achievement which paved the way for postal and commercial flights to Australia. For more information about the commemoration of this event in South Australia see the Epic Flight Centenary website.
The personal papers of Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith held by the State Library of South Australia have been digitised and are now available through this website.
Visit the exhibition at the State Library
To commemorate the centenary of the epic 1919 England to Australia air race the State Library is mounting a major exhibition, Heroes of the Skies: the Smith Brothers and the Great Air Race of 1919 in the Treasures Wall from 1 November 2019 to 5 April 2020.