Photo of the week: Southern Cross aeroplane, Hawera

Today’s photograph shows the Southern Cross aeroplane at a Hawera landing strip piloted by Charles Kingford-Smith here in one of his two visits to New Zealand. This is either his famous 1928 Trans-Tasman flight, or secondly the 1933 flight from Seven Mile Beach in New South Wales, which was  his first commercial flight between Australia and New Zealand.

Sir Charles Edward Kingsford Smith MC, AFC (9 February 1897 – 8 November 1935) was an early Australian aviator. In 1928 he earned global fame when he made the first trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Australia. He also made the first non-stop crossing of the Australian mainland, the first flights between Australia and New Zealand, and the first eastward Pacific crossing from Australia to the United States. He made a flight from Australia to London, setting a new record of 10.5 days.

In 1928, Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm arrived in the United States and began to search for an aircraft. Famed Australian polar explorer Sir Hubert Wilkins sold them a Fokker F.VII/3m monoplane, which they named the Southern Cross. Kingsford Smith and co-pilot John Thompson “Tommy” Pethybridge were flying the Lady Southern Cross overnight from Allahabad, India, to Singapore when they disappeared over the Andaman Sea in the early hours of 8 November 1935. Despite a brave search for 74 hours over the Bay of Bengal, their bodies were never recovered.  For more information about this subject click here.

If you know have more information about this photo, or to order a copy, contact the museum on 0800 111 323 or, Aotea Utanganui Museum of South Taranaki Heritage Collection (00-682).

00-682 The Southern Cross, Hawera landing strip

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