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Photographer's Note

In early 2000, as part of an initiative to celebrate the new Millennium, the Irish Aviation Authority sponsored the building of a sculpture on Portmarnock beach to commemorate the historic flight of the Southern Cross. The sculpture was formally unveiled on 4 June 2001, by Mr Robert Halverson, Australian Ambassador to Ireland.

The Southern Cross, an aircraft that was built from the wreckage of two damaged Fokkers, is a very famous aircraft in the history of aviation. It was captained by Australian, Charles Kingsford Smith (commonly known as 'Smithy') and completed a circumnavigation of the globe in July 1930, a journey of 50,000 kilometres and more than 25 months.

The expedition began in May 1928 when Kingsford Smith and his crew took off from Oakland, California and flew to Honolulu. The journey took 27 hours. From there, they continued as far as Fiji. This time the journey time was a massive 34 hours. They reached Australia after another 21 hours where they arrived on 4 June 1928. In June-July of 1929 a second attempt at the Australia to London flight was successful, taking 16 days.

On 4 June 1930, Kingsford Smith and his new four man crew departed Portmarnock Beach, Co. Dublin. The navigator was Dubliner, Captain J.P. Saul, the second pilot was Evert van Dyck, from Dutch Airlines while the wireless operator was South African, John Stannage. Originally Smithy intended to depart from the Curragh Camp, an army base in Co. Kildare. However, he changed his mind and instead chose Portmarnock beach as his point of departure.

The flight departed on 24 June 1930. After thirty one hours flying they landed at Harbour Cross, Newfoundland. After some rest they continued their journey as far as New York where they received a rapturous welcome at City Hall. From New York, flying in stages across the continent they finally reached California, from where Kingsford Smith had started out two years previously.

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Additional Photos by Paul Kelly (pk4dk) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 37 W: 5 N: 52] (368)
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