Australia Welcomes Amy Johnson, the Queen of the Air

Australia Welcomes Amy Johnson, the Queen of the Air
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British-born aviator Amy (Johnnie) Johnson was the first female pilot to fly solo from England to Australia. She landed at Darwin Airport on 24 May 1930 in Jason, her Gipsy Moth G-AAAH biplane, after 19 and a half days. She toured Australia and was greeted by huge crowds wherever she went. Her daring flight captured the imagination and admiration of the world and she was soon dubbed ‘The Queen of the Air’.

In this film, Amy lands with alarming speed at Brisbane’s Eagle Farm airport on 29 May - according to the intertitle, her plane Jason strikes a fence, bounces over and crashes into a cornfield. She soon emerges in fine shape however, smiling and waving to the crowd at her official welcome.

Amy broke flying records from London to Moscow, London to Tokyo and London to Cape Town and participated in the 1934 London-to-Melbourne air race with Scottish aviator husband Jim Mollison. Together they were known as ‘The Flying Sweethearts’; they led a glamorous life of celebrity though it was a troubled marriage that soon ended in divorce.

Amy’s life ended tragically and mysteriously at 37 years of age in January 1941 (during the Second World War) while flying near Oxford battling terrible weather conditions. Reportedly, Amy bailed out of her plane before it disappeared over the Thames though her body was never found. The circumstances of her death are still debated today.

Johnson's Jason Gipsy Moth G-AAAH is on display at the London Science Museum, South Kensington.