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Sunday, May 26, 2024

The “Old Bus” in Nhill & Kaniva

Nhill Welcomes Aviation Legend Charles Kingsford Smith in 1933

This article tells the story of Charles Kingsford Smith’s visit to Nhill, Victoria, in 1933. Here’s a breakdown:

The Arrival of the “Old Bus”

  • Kingsford Smith, a famous aviator nicknamed “Smithy,” planned a barnstorming tour across rural Victoria.
  • Nhill was initially excluded from the itinerary, but a last-minute change brought Kingsford Smith to town.
  • He arrived on November 15th, 1933, piloting the Southern Cross, a Fokker F.VII trimotor aircraft nicknamed the “Old Bus.”
  • Two other planes accompanied him: the Percival Gull (Miss Southern Cross) and the DH 50 (Southern Cross Midget).

A Day with Smithy

  • A large crowd gathered at the Nhill aerodrome (located at Halpin Park) to witness the arrival.
  • Kingsford Smith offered joy flights to locals in all three aircraft for a fee.
  • He addressed local veterans at the Soldier’s Memorial Hall.
  • The Lowan Council hosted a dinner for the visiting aviators.

A Near Miss and Controversy

  • Kingsford Smith reportedly performed a risky manoeuvre called a “beat-up” while landing in Kaniva, another town on his tour.
  • There were concerns about a potential collision with the Percival Gull.

Legacy of the Visit

  • The article mentions the later fates of the aircraft involved:
    • The Southern Cross was eventually preserved in a museum.
    • Miss Southern Cross crashed a year later.
    • The Southern Cross Midget ended up with the Royal Australian Air Force.
    • Kingsford Smith tragically died in a plane crash in 1935.

Additional Information

  • The article references a replica of the Southern Cross being restored and flown again.
  • It includes the source of the information: John Williams’ Facebook page “Treasures of Nhill & District”.
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