The feats of the daredevil early aviators pushed the boundaries of flight and brought Australia closer to the world.

Aviation was seen as a novelty before the First World War opened the world's eyes to its potential. The success of Keith and Ross Smith's world-first flight from England to Australia in 1919 encouraged aviators to fly further and faster than previously, and helped prove that flight was a viable method of transportation.

The general public eagerly followed the perilous adventures of the pioneer aviators who were feted in a similar fashion to movie stars upon arrival in Australia, with wild scenes at the aerodrome when they landed.

The films in this collection, ranging from 1919 to 1936, include footage taken by federal government cinematographer Bert Ive and Frank Hurley. Hurley was a renowned filmmaker and adventurer who became famous for his work with Sir Douglas Mawson and as an official photographer during the First World War.

Digital preservation of this collection was made possible by a generous donation from Dick and Pip Smith.

aviation
1910s
1920s
1930s
Amy Johnson
Charles Kingsford Smith